Orthopedic Minute - What is a Total Ankle Replacement?


If you're considering a total ankle joint replacement, I think it's helpful to really understand what a total ankle replacement really is. This is a model of the foot and ankle. This is the shin bone or tibia bone and the ankle joint is made up of the joint surface at the bottom of the shin bone or tibia in the top of the ankle bone or talus bone. When these two bones work together, this is how the ankle joint moves. So the total ankle joint replacement only resurfaces these joints.

This is the actual implant, or one of the type of implants that can be placed in a total ankle. This metal cap is placed over the talus and this metal tray is placed at the bottom of the shin bone or tibia and then there is a plastic bearing surface that is made of a plastic polyethylene and this creates a gliding surface for the ankle joint to work.

This is a model that actually has the total ankle joint implanted and you can see how the ankle moves when the foot goes up and down. Notice that the total ankle joint replacement only replaces the surfaces of the ankle joint and does not correct deformity or address any other areas of arthritis around the foot and ankle.

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