If you've been dealing with severe ankle arthritis for a while, your doctor may have recommended getting an ankle replacement at some point. If you shrugged off this suggestion, you're not alone. Many patients initially avoid getting an ankle replacement or tell themselves that it's just not worth the hassle.
Now, it's important to be honest. An ankle replacement is not an instant miracle. It is a surgical procedure, and as such, it does come with some risks and recovery time. But neither the risk nor the recovery tend to be as bad as people imagine. And an ankle replacement has more rewards than you might think. You really do deserve a brand new ankle; here's how it can help you.
You won't have ankle pain anymore
Yes, there are ways to keep your arthritis pain from getting too terrible, but none of those methods do away with the pain completely. Also, constantly having to take pain relievers can cause side effects, and constantly having to ice and wrap your ankle is time-consuming and not much fun. Once you recover from your ankle replacement, you shouldn't have any pain at all. The new joint will bend without anything rubbing together and causing inflammation. You'll be able to push the pain pills to the back of your cupboard and pare down your collection of ice packs.
Your mobility will be restored
Often, patients do not realize how much their arthritic ankle impeded their mobility until they get an ankle replacement. Think back on all of the activities you used to enjoy 20 years ago. How many do you now avoid because your ankle hurts? Replacing your ankle won't make you feel 16 again, but it will make it possible for you to hike, jog, swim, ride bikes, and do a lot of other things you can't do right now. You deserve to enjoy these things; you only live once!
Your other joints will be protected
When your ankle is sore and stiff, you compensate for it by altering your gait, which puts a strain on other joints. A few years from now, you could need a knee replacement or a hip replacement. The ankle is the easiest joint to replace, and if you replace it now, you might be able to avoid other joint replacements later on. One surgery is better than three, for sure.
Hopefully, you are now convinced to pursue ankle replacement surgery, or at least to talk to your doctor about it a little more. It's a good choice for most patients. The rewards are worth the risks.