Signs It’s Time to Consider an Ankle Replacement

Signs It’s Time to Consider an Ankle Replacement

Persistent ankle pain affects how you walk and inhibits your ability to do the activities you love. If you've tried conservative measures without significant symptom relief, you may need to consider surgery.

An ankle replacement is a way for Dr. Jeffrey E. McAlister to stabilize your ankle joint and provide you with long-term pain relief. Dr. McAlister and the Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute team offer advanced treatments for ankle arthritis and other conditions that severely affect your ankle joint. Please check out our new website

Signs of ankle trouble

Your ankles are important joints, allowing you to walk, run, and climb stairs. However, because they bear much of your weight, they’re at risk for chronic disease and extreme wear-and-tear.

Injuries to your ankle may only cause temporary pain, but the effects may last much longer. Several signs and conditions may point you in the direction of an ankle replacement, including:


Several forms of arthritis affect your ankle joints, sometimes so severely that you need an ankle replacement. Osteoarthritis leads to erosion of the cartilage due to chronic wear-and-tear.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune form of the disease that causes damage to your bone and chronic inflammation.

Both types of arthritis lead to chronic pain, instability, and potential deformity of your ankle joint, all of which require an ankle replacement to restore functionality.


If you suffer from severe weakness in your ankle, it could be a sign of bone deterioration within the joint. This can be due to previous injuries or chronic conditions like arthritis.

Persistent pain

Severe pain in your ankle may be due to a previous traumatic injury, wear-and-tear, or repetitive stress on the joint. It's often a sign that something is going on in your joint, and when it's not relieved by other treatments, an ankle replacement can help.


Severe ankle pain, instability, and weakness make it hard for you to walk or do anything that requires the use of your ankles. When other treatments have failed to work, Dr. McAlister recommends an ankle replacement to restore your mobility and decrease your pain.

Is an ankle replacement necessary?

When you have chronic ankle pain that affects your day-to-day living, you need advanced treatment, especially if you suffer from arthritis symptoms.

Severe arthritis is the main reason Dr. McAlister recommends ankle replacement surgery. Arthritis often leads to chronic inflammation, persistent stiffness, and pain that makes it hard for you to walk or move your ankles. When this happens, an ankle replacement may be the only option that restores your joint function and resolves your symptoms.

Dr. McAlister thoroughly evaluates your symptoms and takes cutting-edge imaging of your ankle joint to determine if you're a good candidate for ankle replacement surgery. Often an X-ray and CT scan are helpful in determining whether or not you are a candidate based on complexity and severity of the arthritis and deformity.

What's involved in an ankle replacement?

An ankle replacement is a complex procedure, and Dr. McAlister offers several options depending on your specific symptoms.

However, the steps in any ankle replacement are similar and include the following:

After Dr. McAlister precisely places the prosthetic devices in your ankle joint and is happy with your ankle alignment and range of motion, he closes the incision. You must be in a splint or post-op boot for several weeks following the procedure, then typically start walking at 2 weeks. 

You start physical therapy soon after the ankle replacement to ensure you regain functionality in your joint after the procedure.

If you're suffering from extreme ankle pain, don't hesitate to call our team at 602-761-7819 to schedule a consultation with Dr. McAlister, or book an appointment on the website.

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