Published: Sept. 28, 2009
Updated: Nov. 11, 2010
Get the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding total ankle replacement.
How many days will I be in the hospital after total ankle replacement surgery?
Most people will be in the hospital for one day.
Can I walk on my splint or cast?
Not for the first six weeks following surgery. After six weeks, ease into putting weight on the leg. During this time, you can use toe-touch weight bearing for support and balance.
When can I drive?
Eight weeks after the date of your surgery.
Will I need formal physical therapy?
Most people will not need physical therapy, but we will give you instructions for certain exercises that you should perform.
Will I have much pain after surgery?
There certainly will be postoperative pain; however, the pain will be well-controlled by narcotic pain medications. You may have a block catheter, which will go home with you after surgery. Please discuss this option with your doctor.
It is also critical that you keep your foot and ankle elevated above your heart or your toes above your nose, as this will decrease the amount of swelling and pain you experience.
When can I take a shower after surgery?
Four to five days after surgery, making sure you do not get the cast wet. This is best accomplished by covering the cast with cast bags or trash bags and taping the bag to the top of the leg.
How long will I be in a cast?
You will be in a cast when you are discharged from the hospital. When you return for your first postoperative visit at three weeks, the cast will be removed and a short-leg cast or removable boot will be applied for an additional three weeks.
How long will my recovery take?
The acute recovery period is during the first six weeks, when you will be in a cast or removable boot and unable to bear weight. We will then increase your weight bearing and work on range of motion. Total recovery time for complete healing is one year.
What type of activities can I participate in after ankle replacement?
You can be very active after your ankle replacement. However, there are a few activities you cannot do, including running-type sports and tennis. You will be able to golf, walk, hike, swim, and bike.