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Walking With A Brand New Ankle

PT helping man with injured ankleWhile knee and hip replacements have become more common, orthopedists are now performing an increasing number of ankle replacements as well. Total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) treats ankle arthritis that may result from the normal wear and tear of aging, or from an injury such as a dislocation or a broken ankle—arthritis that can eventually lead to loss of cartilage, pain and deformity.
If you have ankle pain that limits function and does not improve with conservative management—including anti-inflammatory medication, bracing, activity modification and physical therapy—you may be a candidate for TAA. Because it protects the surrounding joints from increased wear and thus preserves them from arthritic changes, TAA may be preferable to arthrodesis, a fusion procedure that eliminates some range of motion in the ankle and may result in progressive arthritis in the surrounding joints.
TAA is an inpatient procedure that usually requires at least one night in the hospital. Under general anesthesia or a nerve block, your ankle joint is replaced with components made of metal and high-density plastic. After the incision is closed with stitches or staples, a splint is applied, and you will wear a cast or boot to keep the implants in place while your ankle heals.
Following surgery, you will need to keep your foot elevated in order to speed healing and minimize swelling. You may be allowed to perform some gentle range-of-motion exercises; after a few weeks, you may gradually bear some weight on your ankle. But most of your walking during recovery will be done with the aid of crutches.
The total recovery period for TAA is at least six weeks postsurgery. During that time, we will work with you and your surgeon on a customized exercise regimen that will decrease pain and inflammation, increase your range of motion, improve your balance and help you move around independently.
The good news: If your physician determines you are a candidate for TAA, we can work with you throughout the entire process to ensure that you resume your usual routine with minimal pain and optimal range of motion. We can develop a rehabilitation program that provides complete recovery after your surgery.
 Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Wyckoff, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Wyckoff, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative program.

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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