Ankle Replacement - Before & After
Patient experience before and after Ankle Replacement surgery performed by Mr Adam Budgen
At 64, after many years of running and walking long distances on hills and fells, I became increasingly aware of pain and stiffness in my left ankle; this was particularly noticeable when ascending steep inclines. The pain eventually worsened to such an extent that I could no longer walk comfortably on any surface or gradient and developed a limp. After making some investigations I decided that my best course of action was to seek advice from a consultant who specialises in ankle disorders.
Examination and X-rays revealed that the cartilage was completely worn away, allowing bone to rub against bone – hence the cause of my pain. My consultant explained the two options – fusion or replacement. As my priority was to return to the hills I chose to have replacement surgery, which was performed in early December 2012.
After wearing an air boot and using elbow crutches for several weeks, I was able to weight bear and begin physiotherapy to recover ankle mobility. Three months after surgery I started to walk off-road on local fields and paths, beginning with about six miles and gradually building up until I could walk 12 miles. I was pleased that the activity caused only mild discomfort and any stiffness around the joint could be alleviated by doing the prescribed stretching exercises regularly. I returned to my normal twice-weekly walks, each of approximately 20 miles, by the end of May 2013 and I completed the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path (180 miles/288km) over 13 days in July of the same year.
It is now two years since my ankle was replaced, and I continue to walk twice a week with no difficulty as well as regularly exercising at a gym. My only concession has been to use two poles when walking on the fells as I find these a great assistance especially when descending on rough ground.
I would have no hesitation in recommending anyone with the same condition, who is eligible, to consider this particular procedure. It has restored my quality of life!