After a total ankle replacement, you can rest assured that the physical therapists at Specialized Physical Therapy are confident in their ability to restore you to your prior function.
Common symptoms leading to a total ankle replacement include ankle pain, stiffness, or grinding within the ankle joint typically due to arthritis. After a total ankle replacement, it is typical to have some pain, stiffness, and swelling. However, be mindful of pain in the calf, severe swelling, redness, and/or warmth. If you notice these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Total ankle replacements are usually due to severe arthritis within the joint, but often times traumatic injuries can lead to severe arthritis as well. During an ankle replacement surgery, the damaged cartilage surfaces at end of the tibia (shin bone) and the top of the tibia (bone that sits under the shin bone to create one of the main ankle joints) are shaved down and replaced with metal implants. A spacer is then placed between the two metal implants to allow easy movement at the joint.
Your physical therapist will first take a history of your symptoms, including questions to understand your pain pattern, history of symptoms, how your symptoms affect your function throughout the day, and your goals. Next, your therapist will perform a thorough examination of your ankle mobility, strength, muscle flexibility, scar healing and skin integrity. Performing a comprehensive evaluation following a total ankle replacement will help the therapist to understand the cause of the symptoms and how to treat it.
Treatment and Exercises
After careful examination, your physical therapist will create a personalized program to create a program aimed to reach your goals after your ankle replacement surgery. The program will involve manual therapy and exercises to safely improve the flexibility and mobility of your shoulder, improve strength of the surrounding muscles, reduce pain, and teach you ways to manage the symptoms so you can get back to doing what you love.
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