Total Ankle Replacement

Total ankle joint replacement presents itself as a viable recourse for select patients, promising restoration of function and relief from debilitating pain
Elderly man holding his ankle, ankle pain. Sprained and swollen ankle

Total Ankle Replacement

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Total Ankle Replacement

Total ankle joint replacement presents itself as a viable recourse for select patients, promising restoration of function and relief from debilitating pain
Elderly man holding his ankle, ankle pain. Sprained and swollen ankle

Table of Contents

Total Ankle Replacement - Introduction

The ankle joint is critical for normal walking, and fortunately for most healthy people, the ankle has a natural resilience to forming arthritis. However, when injuries to the ankle occur, arthritis often follows.

For anyone dealing with end-stage ankle arthritis (marked by motion limitations or worn joint surfaces) treatment options are few. In this context, ankle joint replacement surgery presents itself as a viable option, promising restoration of function and relief from debilitating pain.

The History of Total Ankle Replacement

Ankle replacement surgery dates back to the 1970s, when a pioneering physician attempted to replace the ankle with an inverted total hip replacement. In the years that followed, efforts often failed due to a lack of a dependable surgical solution. Poor implant attachment methods, imprecise placement, and misalignment with natural joint mechanics made early attempts unsuccessful.

The surgical landscape evolved with the advent of second-generation implants in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Over the last few decades, refinements in instrumentation, materials, and engineering have propelled ankle replacement into the realm of a viable alternative to joint fusion for a subset of patients.

Successful Outcomes of Ankle Replacement Surgery

Today, successful surgical outcomes are very good and offer a level of predictability and functionality surpassing that of ankle fusion. Unlike fusion, which curtails the ankle’s up-and-down motion, total ankle replacement preserves joint mobility, thereby enhancing overall function.

The motion of the ankle implant also serves a protective role for neighboring foot joints, mitigating the risk of arthritis development due to the amplified stress accompanying ankle fusion. Patients with ankle fusion are almost always confronted with arthritis in adjacent foot joints within a decade post-surgery.

Advancements since 2005

Since 2005, several revolutionary implant designs have successfully navigated the FDA approval process. These designs boast significant advantages over their predecessors, including streamlined placement procedures and enhanced instrumentation accuracy. Noteworthy examples we have used in our clinic include APEX 3DTM, InboneTM, InfinityTM, InvisionTM, CadenceTM, Salto TalarisTM, STARTM, VantageTM, and Zimmer Trabecular MetalTM implants.

Ankle Replacement in the San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond

Dr. Jack Schuberth stands as a luminary in the realm of ankle replacement, leveraging over two decades of experience in the field, completing more that 1600 ankle replacements (with more than 400 being revisions). Renowned for his expertise, Dr. Schuberth boasts one of the most prolific ankle replacement practices on the West Coast. Complementing his clinical endeavors, Dr. Schuberth actively participates in surgical education and research endeavors, shaping the future landscape of ankle replacement surgery through his intimate involvement in implant design with several commercial vendors.

Advantages of Total Ankle Replacement

Preservation of ankle joint motion, a pivotal facet for everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and engaging in recreational activities. Ideal candidates for ankle replacement are individuals over 50 years old who maintain a healthy weight and are not engaged in rigorous physical activities.

Post-surgery, patients can resume many activities like walking and hiking to swimming and biking. Conversely, activities such as running, basketball, tennis, and heavy lifting should be avoided.

Also, individuals with advanced diabetes, compromised bone quality, or circulatory issues may not be suitable candidates for ankle replacement.

Bay Area Foot Care - Ankle Replacement Specialists

Jack Schuberth, DPM
  • Dr. Schuberth’s work has drawn world-renown and patients seek out his expertise as an absolute authority in Total Ankle Replacement and other advanced Foot and Ankle Treatments.
  • His talent as a clinician and surgeon is legendary and his meticulous attention to detail sets an example for all who have had the privilege to work with him.
Glenn Weinraub
  • Dr. Weinraub is a renowned reconstructive Foot and Ankle Surgeon, specializing in Ankle Joint Replacement, Trauma, Arthroscopy and Adult ankle & foot deformities.
  • Past President American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons.
  • CEO of Bones Pro Bono, Vietnam Project.


According to Dr. Jack Schuberth of Bay Area Foot Care, “these procedures are performed in the hospital on an outpatient basis. I allow full weight bearing in most cases within 2 weeks after surgery.”

If you are dealing with ankle discomfort or pain, you should seek the guidance of a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Reach out to us today at Bay Area Foot Care to restore mobility to your ankle and enhance your quality of life.

Learn More about Total Ankle Replacement
at Bay Area Foot Care