Total ankle replacement surgery is a surgery designed to reduce pain and get you back mobility that you have lost in your ankle joint. Your doctor may recommend such a surgery if you have been injured in an accident and haven't had a successful recovery or if you have arthritis that hasn't responded to other treatments. The surgery involves removing damaged cartilage and bone from your ankle and replacing them with synthetic ones. When pain, stiffness and poor range of motion continue despite physical therapy, medication and supportive devices, it can benefit you and your mobility to consider a total ankle replacement surgery. In order to prepare for your surgery and the recovery, take the time to learn more about the process.
Getting Ready for the First Stage of Recovery
The first few weeks after a total ankle replacement surgery are when you are going to be the least mobile. In order to prepare ahead of time, get your living space ready for you to rest in an area where you have easy access to food and a bathroom. If your bedroom is on a second floor and accessible by stairs, make yourself a temporary arrangement on the first floor. Ask for help from family and friends if you have to walk pets, or you need help with basic household chores. Understand that driving will be impossible, and you will need help with driving to appointments.
Incision Healing and Limited Movement
During the early stages of your recovery, you will need to limit the movement of your ankle for about two weeks. Your doctor will have you in a splint or boot that prevents movement so that your incision can heal. Once the first two weeks are over, you will be taught how to take off your splint so that you can begin an easy exercise routine for your ankle to get it moving.
Listen to Your Treatment Provider
You can't rush your healing after a total ankle replacement surgery, and you can end up doing yourself damage if you try to walk too soon on your new ankle. Use the tools you are given, such as crutches and your splint to limit movement. Give your ankle time to heal from the surgery to have the best chance at long term success.
As you prepare for your total ankle replacement surgery, get your home ready. Give yourself a clear path to the bathroom and kitchen. Find help if you live alone, and understand that you will probably need rides for a few weeks.