I'm surprised after getting an ankle replacement for my arthritis that I still have pain. It's better than before surgery so I'm not complaining. I'm just wondering if this is normal or if maybe something isn't quite right with my implant. What can you tell me?
Residual pain after a total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) has been reported in up to 60 per cent of all patients receiving an ankle joint replacement. That's a pretty high percentage. Despite efforts to improve implant design and surgical technique, the rate or persistent pain and stiffness has not gone down.
So although you are "normal" in this regard, it's not the intended or expected outcome. Sometimes there is a simple explanation for this problem. There could be an issue with alignment or impingement. Your activity level may be too strenuous or high-impact. In some cases, the size of implant may not be the best choice for you.
Each patient must be evaluated separately in order to look for cause and effect. Only then will your surgeon be able to identify the best way to treat the problem. If you haven't been rechecked since this symptom developed after surgery, now would be a good time to get an appointment for a reevaluation.
It could be something simple with an easy solution. Or you may need to review some of the rehab exercises or modify some of your activities. There's an outside chance that a follow-up second surgery may be needed.
Mark E. Easley, MD, et al. Results of Total Ankle Arthroplasty. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. August 2011. Vol. 93-A. No. 15. Pp. 1455-1468.
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