Total Ankle Replacement Surgery—How To Prepare For Recovery

Posted on: 20 July 2018

If you have rheumatoid arthritis and steroid injections, medication, and orthotics are no longer giving you relief from painful ankles, it may be time to schedule a total ankle replacement surgery. In this surgery, damaged bone and cartilage will be removed from your ankle joint. The surgeon will then use plastic and metal to replace the damaged areas that were removed. This is done either under general anesthesia or with a nerve block. The surgery usually takes 2.5 hours

After surgery, you will need to take it easy and follow the guidelines given to you by your surgeon as well as by your physical therapist. For the best outcome in a speedy recovery, it's a good idea to prepare yourself and your home before surgery. Here are a few ideas:

Order Medical Equipment & Supplies 

To help in your recovery, you will need to order some medical equipment and supplies. The items you will need can often be ordered directly through your surgeon's office so the necessary billing can be done properly. If not, your surgeon will give you a list of items to have, such as crutches or a walker, a seat for the bath or shower, a cold therapy unit, and wound dressing supplies. Be sure to have a prescription from your surgeon for these necessary pieces of equipment so the supplier can bill the insurance company. 

Schedule Appointments with a Physical Therapist 

Your surgeon will give you a timeline to follow, which could mean an initial appointment with a physical therapist within the first week after your surgery. However, in some locations an initial physical therapist appointment can be difficult to schedule to suit everyone involved, which means you could start your physical therapy later than your surgeon would like you to. Instead of being caught off guard and being unable to schedule this appointment during that week, schedule it as soon as possible. 

Prepare Your Home 

If your bedroom is on the second floor of your home, you may want to set up a temporary bed downstairs so you don't have to use the stairs often. Alternatively, ask your physical therapist or an occupational therapist to teach you how to safely walk up and down the stairs during your recovery. Another thing you can do now to make things easier on you and your family at home is to pre-cook meals and place them in the freezer with written instructions that every family member will be able to easily follow.