While ankle injuries are common in PA workers’ comp cases, we do not hear about total ankle replacements as much as we hear of total knee replacements or total hip replacements. Unfortunately, sometimes a work injury causes such damage to the ankle, or triggers the development of arthritis in the ankle, such that a total ankle replacement is necessary.
A recent article on the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ website talked of improvements in total ankle replacements. At this point, in the United States, only four types of implants are available for total ankle replacements. Each of these devices consists of only two components. This means there will not be much mobility in the ankle. Of course, the alternative, of fusing the ankle in one position, offers no movement at all.
Outside the United States, total ankle replacements are being done with a device containing three components, allowing greater mobility. FDA approval is being recommended for such devices to be approved for use in the U.S. The article suggests approval for these devices could come as soon as later this year.