Leg, foot & ankle

A foot injury or ankle injury can drastically change your life. We want to help you feel strong and pain-free again. The orthopedic foot and ankle specialists at Edward-Elmhurst Health use minimally-invasive techniques, advanced pain relief and rapid recovery surgical practices that can help you heal faster and return to life as usual sooner.

Foot and ankle, repair and reconstruction

The highly skilled orthopedic surgeons at our Orthopedic Centers perform a variety of procedures to get you back on your feet again:

  • Foot reconstruction, foot fracture repair
  • Ankle replacement, ankle reconstruction, ankle fracture repair
  • Arthroscopy
  • Foot tendon repair, Achilles tendon repair
  • Foot fusion

Who are candidates for an ankle replacement?

Most people who have an ankle replacement are older than 55. They usually have debilitating pain that interferes with daily activities, and other, more conservative treatments, such as anti-inflammatories, haven’t helped. Many patients who are considered candidates may have rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, arthritis secondary to deformity of the foot, or some other condition or injury.

How has an ankle replacement advanced?

Ankle replacement surgery is constantly evolving. Today, improved surgical techniques help patients return to a more active lifestyle sooner. Our surgeons also use newer implant designs that are a vast improvement over the prior generation of implants, as they last longer and improve recovery. We also apply advanced pain relief options to get you up and walking as soon as possible.

What is involved in an ankle replacement procedure?

When you first meet, your orthopedic surgeon will spend a lot of time evaluating your situation and educating you about your non-surgical and surgical options. Together, you and your surgeon will discuss your personal goals and what type of treatment fits into these goals.

If surgery is the right option for you, you’ll meet with your orthopedic surgeon before the procedure so you know exactly what to expect.

During the procedure, your surgeon will remove the damaged ankle joint and replace it with a new joint of metal and plastic components. Your surgeon will resurface the joint, or remove just enough of the damaged bone and cartilage to put in the new joint. If the Achilles tendon or calf muscle is tight, your surgeon will perform a lengthening procedure aimed to improve range of motion of the ankle and take stress off the replacement after surgery.

What is the recovery like for an ankle replacement?

After an ankle replacement procedure, most patients stay in the hospital for 1-2 nights. Your orthopedic team—including an orthopedic surgeon, anesthesiologist, internal medicine physician and physical therapist — will collaborate to help you heal comfortably and quickly.

Once you return home, you will appreciate our comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation program.

You will likely need to elevate your ankle for many days to control swelling and improve healing. The first six weeks are non-weight bearing so you will need to stay off your feet. You will be in a cast and will likely use a knee scooter so you can be more mobile during this time.

After about 4-6 weeks, many patients begin wearing a walking boot. At that time, you’ll also begin to meet with a physical therapist twice a week for up to 12 weeks.

Learn more about orthopedic rehabilitation at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Why choose us for your ankle replacement procedure?

Edward-Elmhurst Health provides the latest advancements for diagnosing and treating the simplest to the most complex of foot and ankle issues. Our hospitals are ranked among the top 10 in Illinois for total joint replacement and revision. (IHA COMPdata, 2016)

Our Orthopedic Centers give you access to nearly 130 doctors who specialize in orthopedic surgery and spine surgery. Many of our physicians are fellowship trained with years of experience in performing specialized ankle replacement procedures.

Throughout your care, our orthopedic experts collaborate to relieve your pain and improve your mobility. The goal is to get you out of bed and back on your feet so you can get you back to the activities you enjoy sooner.