Medical City Dallas

Baylor, Scott & White Plano


Ankle Surgery- Repairing the Complex

The lower extremity really is an incredible design in motion. So many parts and pieces work together to make even the smallest movement possible. Unfortunately, our bodies aren’t invincible. When a traumatic injury occurs or conservative efforts have failed to help, surgery is sometimes needed to put the parts and pieces back together.

A Complex Mechanism

The ankle in particular is a very complex mechanism. The tibia, fibula, and talus are the three bones that make up the main ankle joint and allow the up and down motion of the foot. There is actually a second joint underneath this one called the subtalar joint, which is made of the talus and the calcaneus (the bone that forms the heel) and allows the foot to move side-to-side. Woodworkers actually use a similar design to the ankle when joining materials together to create sturdy structures and items.

When you walk, run, and jump, it is these two joints in conjunction with the tendons and muscles in your leg that make it all possible. The ankle is made to be a very stable joint as it absorbs up to 1.5 times your body weight while walking and up to eight times during a run. While playing such a crucial role, the ankle is also vulnerable to injury. In fact, there are several injuries and conditions that often require surgical intervention for complete healing.

Reasons for Ankle Surgery

There are several reasons why surgery may be required to resolve symptoms and/or get your ankle back to health and in good working order.

Ankle Fractures

This is when one or more bones is broken, which affects the stability of the ankle. It can happen with a twist or roll of the ankle or during impact in an accident. Surgery is often needed when the broken bones have shifted and are out of place. We would have to reposition the bones back into place and hold them there with screws and/or metal plates.

You will start out in a cast or removable brace and then move to an ankle brace for extra protection when you are back on your foot. It often takes at least six weeks for complete healing to take place and possibly more if there are torn tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint as well. Proper rehabilitation is extremely important and it’s crucial to stay off your ankle. The fractured bones could move again, which would take you back to the start. Rushing through the process could leave you with lingering pain and chronic ankle instability. Patience and time go hand in hand after ankle surgery.

Ankle Arthritis

When the cartilage that covers the end of your bones starts to thin and wear down, great discomfort can result. This can happen within the ankle joint and it usually stems from osteoarthritis. If the pain and swelling become severe or deformity begins, surgery can be done to try and help resolve your symptoms. This may involve removing the ankle joint and fusing the talus to the tibia. The two bones are held together with screws and over time, new bone actually grows across making the two bones into one. You would be in a cast for 6-12 weeks and it could take over three months for the fusion to be complete. This would leave you with a stiffened but, in most cases, pain-free ankle.

Full ankle replacements have not been around or used as long as hips and knees but they are done in more severe cases. While they only last for 10 to 15 years, they can provide pain-free mobility to those who have lost use of their ankle or are in severe pain.

If you would like to discuss ankle surgery or have an injury that has you concerned, contact Dallas Podiatry Works. Dr. Joel W. Brook, Dr. David R. Northcutt, Dr. Irene Arroyo and Dr. John Baca are top experts in the field of foot care and have the treatment options to get you back on your feet. Call our office in Dallas, TX, at (972) 566-7474 or Plano, TX, at (972) 943-3323.

"I did 3 EPAT treatments and it gave me tremendous relief from my plantar fasciitis. I highly recommend this for anyone who is dealing with PF. Also, the physical therapist Dr. Brook sent me too is fantastic. I am definitely on the mend and so glad I did EPAT."- All H. 5 star
"Dr Northcutt is a fantastic physician. My first surgery with him (although painful), went very well. A couple of issues (with his staff) needed to be corrected, I appreciated his calm and professional demeanor and he corrected those issues promptly. He sets the bar high (the mark of a great physician), and that is the key reason why I'm coming back to him to correct my other foot. I would highly recommend him."- She B. 5 star
"The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of care."- Joseph B. 5 star
"My experience was a good one from pre-op to post -op. I saw the doctor right before my surgery.He explained the process to me and my husband. The recovery nurse was great. It was neither crowded or chaotic as some day surgery centers. My foot is doing well as I follow instructions. I look forward to my one week progress visit!"- Patricia T.5 star
"I had dealt with a painful foot problem for five months and had seen three different Doctors before seeing an article in D Magazine about Dr. Joel Brook. Dr. Brook took one look at my foot, explained the causes for my pain and set me up on a successful treatment plan. He is very knowledgeable, thorough and exhibits a caring attitude. I highly recommend him."- Ginger W. 5 star
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Join the 50,000 happy feet that have found relief at Dallas Podiatry Works! Our Dallas podiatrist and Plano podiatrist provides 5-star-rated foot care and ankle care. Our advanced foot care includes children's foot care, sports-related foot injuries, bunion treatment, bunion removal surgery, toenail fungus treatment, ingrown toenail treatment, hammertoe treatment, claw toe treatment, neuroma treatment, heel pain relief, limb salvage, wound care, arthritis treatment, safe pedicure, medicures, corn removals, callus removals, wart removals and more.
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