How To Get Around After Ankle Replacement

Whether you just had ankle replacement or are contemplating it.  One of the questions at the top of your mind is – how will I get around?  With good reason.  Ankle surgery is not something to be taken lightly and as any orthopedist will tell you, you need to keep your weight off your injured leg.

In fact, you have probably become familiar with the terms weight-bearing and non-weight bearing.  Weight-bearing is your good leg.  This is the one that you can still walk on, hence you can put your weight on it.  Non-weight bearing is your bad leg.  The one you don’t want to put on weight on at all.

So how can you get around after ankle replacement?  Well, there are several options.  You could crawl, but this is not really effective.  Plus, your hands will get dirty, and your pant legs will get worn out.  You could try a wheelchair, but they cumbersome and your injured foot is not really it the right position to promote your recovery.  This leaves you with two other options – crutches and a knee walker.

Now crutches have been around for millennia.  The concept is rather simple.  Use a stick to help balance your weight.  Whilst the concept is simple, the practice is something completely different.  In fact, crutches can be extremely unstable and difficult to maneuver.

So we have knee walkers, these are four-wheel scooters with a knee pad and a steering column.  They let you rest your injured leg which walking with your good leg.  Using them is rather simple and the better ones even have parking brakes so you can stand in one place.

Another advantage of a knee walker is that it keeps your leg elevated.  This helps to promote your recovery by ensuring you are not putting any weight on your surgically-repaired ankle.  In addition, it ensures you don’t bang into anything.  Not only would that hurt, but it would also re-injury, or even worse, damaging your replacement ankle.

In the end, the option you chose depends on the recovery plan that you and your surgeon come up with.  In the immediate aftermath of your surgery, it might be bed rest with your leg in an elevated position. While this can quickly become uncomfortable, it is literally just what the doctor ordered.

When it is time to get moving again, you will need to look at the variables in your situation.  Are you looking for a mobility solution to help you get out of bed and get to the bathroom, or is it one to help you go to the office every day?  As such, the solution will depend on its intended purpose.

Remember this.  Listen to your surgeon and follow their orders.  An experienced surgeon will have performed hundreds of ankle surgeries and their advice is based on the observations of all of the prior patients.  If you don’t listen you will risk extending you recovery period.  This could even see you back on the operating table, and nobody wants that.

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