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Learn About Total Ankle Replacement

August 9, 2018
Ankle injuries are the reason for more than 1 million doctor visits in the U.S. each year. From sprains and fractures to joint damage caused by arthritis, ankle problems can make it difficult to walk, exercise, and do the things you enjoy. Dr. Steven Kulik, Jr., an orthopaedic surgeon at GBMC Health Partners Orthopaedics, talked about how to lower your risk of ankle injuries, whether that popping sound you hear when you walk sometimes is cause for concern, and ankle treatments that can help get you back on your feet.

“Anyone can injure an ankle. The most frequent cause of these injuries is uneven ground, whether you’re a runner or a soccer mom walking across the field. Fortunately, 97% of ankle injuries can be treated without surgery,” said Dr. Kulik. His recommendation to prevent ankle injuries? “If you run, look for a route where the ground is even,” he said. “Running on a track can be easier on your ankle and other joints than running on the road or sidewalk.”

Dr. Kulik shared the signs that could mean your injury is more serious than a sprain, why it takes so long for a sprain to heal, and his take on the barefoot running trend. He also discussed total ankle replacement surgery, a procedure he has been performing for nearly 20 years at GBMC. “The success rate for this surgery is very high, while the risks are fairly low,” he explained. “But the recovery is a bit longer than for other types of joint replacement because the ankle is unique in the amount of weight it bears.”

If you’re experiencing ongoing ankle pain after an injury or have chronic pain in your ankle, he recommends making an appointment with an orthopaedist. “At our practice, it’s easy to be seen,” he added. “We’ve added extended evening hours and walk-in appointments to make getting an appointment more convenient for our patients.”
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