Ankle Joint Replacement

Matthew J. Harrison, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon & Foot and Ankle Specialist located in Santa Barbara, CA & Solvang, CA

Conservative care is sometimes inadequate for treating end-stage ankle arthritis, and surgery may be needed. Matthew J. Harrison, MD, is an expert in ankle joint replacement and can help you get long-term relief from your ankle pain. Call the office in Santa Barbara, California, today, or book an appointment using the online scheduling tool.

Ankle Joint Replacement Q & A

What is ankle joint replacement?

An ankle joint replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces your damaged ankle with a prosthetic joint. For this procedure, Dr. Harrison uses the STAR™ ankle. It is the only FDA-approved mobile bearing implant for ankle joint replacement in the United States. The device has outstanding long-term results for relieving pain and restoring mobility.

Who needs ankle joint replacement?

During your consultation, Dr. Harrison will conduct a thorough evaluation of your ankle. You may benefit from ankle joint replacement if you have severe ankle arthritis that makes it hard for you to walk or engage in your usual activities.

Before recommending an ankle joint replacement, Dr. Harrison takes a non-operative approach to treat the pain, inflammation, and stiffness associated with your ankle arthritis. Treatment may include: 

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Change in footwear
  • Ice and elevation
  • Orthotics or braces
  • Physical therapy
  • Joint injections


When non-operative treatments no longer provide adequate relief from your ankle arthritis, you may be a candidate for an ankle joint replacement. 

What happens during an ankle joint replacement?

Dr. Harrison creates individual surgical plans for an ankle joint replacement and reviews the details of the procedure with you at your consultation. Ankle joint replacement surgery takes a few hours and is done with general anesthesia. Additionally, a nerve block is used to provide up to 24 hours of complete pain relief. Most patients spend 1-3 days in the hospital.

What happens after an ankle joint replacement?

Patients will need to keep their weight off the ankle until the first postoperative visit two weeks after surgery. The splint is then removed, and Dr. Harrison provides a removable boot. Patients are allowed 50% weight bearing at this time, followed by full weight-bearing one month after surgery. Dr. Harrison also provides crutches and refers you to physical therapy to accelerate your return to function and mobility. 

With advances in surgical tools and techniques, an ankle joint replacement may help you get back to your active lifestyle. For an expert evaluation of your ankle, call Matthew J. Harrison, MD, today or book an appointment online.