In the past decade, there has been a revolution of Total Ankle Replacement designs transforming the procedure into a more acceptable, more effective, more reliable and safer option. In the next 10 years, Total Ankle Replacement will become as popular as hip and knee replacement surgery. The most reliable, both in operative installation and patient function, are the Wright Medical Total Ankle.
The recovery for this procedure is fairly dynamic with partial (crutch assisted) weight bearing beginning immediately. Most patients stay overnight after surgery to assure pain management is satisfactory. Full weightbearing without crutches, in regular shoegear can begin as early as 4 weeks. Physical therapy will be necessary to assist with swelling, strength and balance training. Most patients take 6-12 months to return to full activity.
Life after TAR will be without racquet or high impact sport/activities. Running short distances, low impact, forefoot-style running is recommended and possible in some cases. Ideally low impact activities are best to preserve the implant as long as possible. As with most implants there is a 10 year timeline in which upgrades or changes may need to occur.
The greatest challenges with TAR, in comparison to hip and knee replacements, is the strict criteria in regards to body weight (250), overall health, age, and foot structure. TAR can only be placed above a stable foot. Often times there are structural foot procedures that need to be done before TAR install. (See flatfoot reconstruction).