For lots of people with joint issues, surgery is often a last resort. In many cases, you'll have frequent visits to a local specialist in an attempt to deal with the discomfort and prevent or delay surgery. While many people think of hips and knees when they think about total joint replacements, the reality is that some patients require replacements of their ankles, too. If you're dealing with ankle problems and have repeatedly seen a podiatrist for help, there may be a point at which the podiatrist suggests that surgery is the best course of action. Here are some reasons that you may need a total ankle replacement.
Drastic Mobility Challenges
Serious ankle pain can hinder your ability to get around. While you can walk with a cane and use self-care techniques such as icing the ankle after outings, you may be in considerable pain after standing or walking for just a short period of time. If you can no longer run errands, or you simply feel uneasy when you're moving around your house to the point that you're afraid of falling, a total ankle replacement may be the appropriate course of action. Following the rehabilitation from this surgery, you'll experience a significant boost in your mobility levels.
Concerns Over Usage of Pain Medication
Pain medication can be an ally in your quest to deal with ankle discomfort, but it's always important to remember that medication doesn't treat the underlying issue. While the medication can certainly reduce your pain, your structural problem isn't getting any better. Additionally, if you need to occasionally increase your dosage of pain medication, you may be concerned about potential side effects. Despite their obvious benefits, many pain medications can lead to other health issues. If you're starting to see signs of these side effects or you simply want to avoid facing them, having ankle replacement surgery could be your best course of action.
Diminished Quality of Life
Long-term joint pain can have an impact on a patient's overall quality of life. In addition to your physical pain, you might find that you're facing unwanted mental health issues. Dealing with pain on a daily basis, especially when it's limiting your ability to enjoy certain activities, could have you feeling anxious or depressed. You may also find that you're grumpy more than you'd like, which can be upsetting to you and your loved ones. If you're aware that your ankle issue has diminished your quality of life, it may be time to move forward with replacement surgery.