Ankle replacement is a surgical option for patients with arthritis of the ankle. This operation can relieve pain and maintain motion in the arthritic ankle joint and is an alternative to an ankle fusion, which can relieve pain but eliminates motion in the joint.
Ankle replacement surgery is often appropriate for patients who avoid high-impact activities, such as skiing, basketball and football. Ankle replacement may be better suited for people with near-normal alignment of the ankle and no history of infection in the ankle joint. Most patients who have ankle replacement surgery have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or arthritis caused by a prior trauma, such as a broken ankle.