Ankle surgery, before ankle surgery and what to expect after ankle surgery
Ankle surgery, before ankle surgery and what to expect after ankle surgery, The ankle area includes the joints and tendons that connect the lower leg to the foot. The ankle allows side to side movements and up-down movements of the foot.
Injuries, sprain, strain and medical conditions can lead to ankle disorders and pain. Ankle sprain is one of the most common causes of ankle disorders and pain. Medical conditions such as arthritis, gout, sciatica, blocked blood vessels, and infection in the joint can lead to ankle disorders and pain.
Ankle disorders and pain can be treated with home remedies, conservative treatments, and surgery. Severe cases that aren’t responding to home remedies or other conservative and medical treatments will require surgery.
When other treatment options do not relieve ankle pain, you may need to undergo surgery for long-lasting improvements. There are different types of surgical procedures for ankle pain or disorders. The type of surgery you will undergo depends on your age, severity of the ankle damage, and your level of activity. .
Ankle surgeries include:
Ankle fusion surgery
Ankle fusion surgery is required for severely damaged ankle joints where the bones need to be fused together.
During this surgical procedure, you will be administered a general anesthetic to put your unconscious all throughout the surgery. Your surgeon will then make an incision in your ankle to be able to work on the bones. Your surgeon will then roughen the ends of the damaged bones and fasten them together with metal plates and screws. After the bones have been successfully fused together, your surgeon will then use stitches or staples to close up the layers of skin and muscles around your ankle and foot.
Before ankle fusion surgery, how to prepare
Before undergoing ankle surgery, talk to your healthcare provider about what you need to do and what you shouldn’t do, the medications you should take and the ones you shouldn’t take. If you have any health conditions or allergies, inform your doctor.
Typically, before undergoing ankle surgery, you may need to stop taking some form of medications such as blood thinners.
You will need to stop smoking if you do smoke.
You may need to undergo imaging tests such as X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
Ensure to plan your home for after the recovery process as you won’t be able to walk normally on your foot for a while. You will need to arrange for someone that will drive you home after the procedure.
After the surgery and recovery process
After the surgery, you may still be asleep from the general anesthetic given to you. You will likely meet your leg elevated and in a brace to keep it from moving when you wake up.
You may feel a lot of pain after the effect of the anesthetic has worn off. You may be given pain medications to relieve pain. You may need to remain at the hospital for a few more days.
Resting and elevating your legs as often as possible is recommended to relieve pain. However, pain will gradually subside after some days.
You may need to wear a splint for a few weeks. You may also need to use crutches to aid walking for several weeks. You will be given instructions by your doctor on how to manage and move your foot during the recovery period. For a few months, you won’t be able to put the full weight of your body on your foot.
You will likely need to follow up and go on medical checkups so that your doctor can help fasten your recovery process. If you feel any pains, fevers, or complications, do inform your doctor as soon as possible.
Ankle replacement surgery
Another ankle surgery is known as ankle replacement surgery. Ankle replacement surgery is recommended for healthy older adults who are 60 years and above with less-active lifestyles.
Ankle replacement surgery involves the total removal of damaged bones and joints. During the procedure, your surgeon will remove the ends of the damaged bones and then fits an artificial plastic and metal replacement joint onto them. The artificial joint helps the ankle to move more naturally. There is also less risk of developing arthritis in the nearby joints.
Ankle replacement surgery is not recommended for people with active lifestyles and people involved in high-impact activities such as jumping or running. This is because the replaced artificial ankle joint can get damaged.
Ankle replacement surgery is not recommended for people that are younger than 50 years. It is not recommended for people with weakened ankle ligaments, misaligned ankle bones, nerve damage, heavy smoker, and people that are overweight.