An ankle joint replacement is performed to relieve pain and disability due to ankle joint damage, probably following age-related changes known as osteoarthritis. Some individuals undergo an ankle replacement due to ankle fractures or rheumatological diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis which may have deteriorated their joint over time.
Phase one -The first phase of your recovery will be focused on managing your pain and early, gentle range of motion exercises to prevent excessive ankle stiffness developing and reduce any chances of DVT or infection. Our expert physiotherapists will help you safely transfer out of bed on the day of your surgery or the morning after surgery. You will be provided with a walking frame or elbow crutches and be instructed to take no weight through your operated leg for two weeks after your surgery. With help from your physiotherapist, you will be taught how to safely ascend and descend stairs prior to being discharged from hospital, and supervised as you practice.
Phase two - The second phase of your recovery will focus on enabling you to walk with a normal gait pattern, increase your ankle range of motion as quickly as possible and strengthen your ankle and foot muscles. Your physiotherapist will advise you how to safely increase the amount of weight you are taking on your operated leg and how best to wean off the walking frame or elbow crutches to using sticks. Our physiotherapists will design a specific rehabilitation regime to help you regain strength and balance in your operated leg. At this stage, many of the exercises will be non-weight bearing and exercises will be prescribed to target each of the ankle muscles: ankle plantarflexion muscles (which help to propel you forwards and upwards when walking), ankle dorsiflexor muscles (which pull your feet and toes up) and ankle invertor and evertor muscles (which stabilize your ankle from side to side).
Phase three - The third phase of your recovery will begin when you have recovered enough strength and balance in your operated leg to commence more vigorous, weight-bearing exercises. The exercises our physiotherapists prescribe during this phase will typically take into consideration your normal activity levels, sports and hobbies and will aim to increase functional strength. Examples of exercises that might be prescribed are heel raises to increase your strength and balance when climbing stairs.
Circle’s Game Ready Ice Machine, electric muscle stimulator, AlterG anti-gravity treadmill and Hydro Physio aqua-jogger may help rehabilitation following an ankle replacement