Welcome to Johns Hopkins Health Alerts!

"Johns Hopkins Health Alerts is an excellent site and I have recommended it to several of my friends. Thanks again, and keep up the good work!"
  • - D. Ambrosio


This free public service from Johns Hopkins Medicine helps keep you up to date on the latest breakthroughs for the most common medical conditions which prevent healthy aging.

Get the latest news sent straight to your inbox for FREE. Check all the boxes below for the topics that interest you.
We value your privacy and will never rent your email address

Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Which Should You Choose: Ankle Fusion or Ankle Replacement?

Comments (1)

Joint replacements have become commonplace for people with severe arthritis of the hip, knee or shoulder. What you many not know, though, is that joint replacement is also an option when arthritis affects the ankle. Recent research suggests that ankle replacement is at least as effective as ankle fusion -- the traditional surgical treatment for ankle arthritis -- but both procedures have advantages and disadvantages that must be considered when making a decision.

  • Ankle Fusion. People with severe ankle arthritis have traditionally opted for joint fusion surgery (arthrodesis). During this procedure, surgeons completely remove the ankle. The fibula (calf bone), tibia (shin bone) and talus (foot bone) are then fused together with metal screws.

Ankle fusion is very effective at stopping the pain of arthritis and stabilizing the bones so that they do not rub against one another. However, the ankle remains permanently stiff, restricting range of motion. Over time, arthritis may also develop in areas of the foot as other joints compensate for the ankle's loss of motion. And because the ankle joint has been completely removed, it may be difficult to bend down, climb stairs or walk on uneven surfaces.

Ankle fusion has the advantage of durability: It is permanent and will withstand the rigors of strenuous physical activity. As such, the procedure may be a good choice for people engaged in activities or occupations that are very physical.

  • Ankle Arthroplasty. Total ankle replacement or ankle arthroplasty was developed in the 1970s as an alternative to joint fusion. Ankle arthroplasty, which entails removing the arthritic joint and replacing it with an artificial one, fell out of favor because the artificial joints then in use malfunctioned frequently and wore out quickly. Often, they also failed to alleviate pain and restore ankle function.

Today, artificial ankle joints are more sophisticated and effective than past devices. The newest joints make use of a special porous coating that allows bone to grow into it to secure the joint. Current ankle devices also have more maneuverable components for better joint function, and the materials are much more durable than before.

In the past few years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three new ankle replacement devices, and research on these new artificial joints suggests that the outcomes of ankle replacement and joint fusion are similar. Both alternatives provide satisfactory outcomes for about 70 percent of those who undergo the procedures. The most appropriate procedure for each person is likely to vary based on individual patient factors and expectations.

Posted in Arthritis on February 6, 2012


Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Disclaimer


Notify Me

Would you like us to inform you when we post new Arthritis Health Alerts?

Post a Comment

Comments

Health Alerts registered users may post comments and share experiences here at their own discretion. We regret that questions on individual health concerns to the Johns Hopkins editors cannot be answered in this space.

The views expressed here do not constitute medical advice, and do not represent the position of Johns Hopkins Medicine or Remedy Health Media, LLC, which has no responsibility for any comments posted on this site.


In the aspect of ankle replacement, the replacement materials have advanced drastically in the recent years. Most of the replacement materials used is now bio-compatible, the rejection rate have lowered tremendously in the recent decade. These artificial joints are also able to mimic the movement of the real joints making the patient feel comfortable as with a real joint. Ankle fusion, on the other hand, is the less preferred method in recent years as the patient tends to lose function on the ankle joint after the surgery.

Best Regards Sofia http://www.uncomfortablefoot.com

Posted by: Sanita | December 8, 2012 1:11 AM

Post a Comment


Already a subscriber?

Login

Forgot your password?

New to Johns Hopkins Health Alerts?

Register to submit your comments.

(example: yourname@domain.com)

Customer Service

Registered Users Log-in:

Forgot Password?

Become a Registered User!
It's fast and FREE!
The Benefits of Being a Registered User

Health Topic Pages

  • Health Alert
  • Special Report

What is this?

XML