Ankle surgery may be an option when more-conservative treatments don't relieve ankle pain caused by severe arthritis. Severely damaged ankle joints may need to have the bones fused together or even replaced with an artificial joint.

  • Experience and expertise. Mayo Clinic's orthopedic surgeons have expertise in all types of ankle surgery — including a wide range of foot and ankle reconstruction surgeries. More than 1,000 ankle surgeries are performed at Mayo Clinic each year.
  • Diagnostic and surgical innovation. Mayo Clinic surgeons team with experts from other specialties to determine the best treatment for your particular situation. State-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines guide treatment decisions. And surgeons use fiber-optic scopes and specialized tools to operate through small incisions when possible.
  • Research advances. Mayo Clinic's laboratories for Biomechanics and Motion Analysis study how different types of ankle problems — as well as different types of ankle surgeries — affect a person's gait. Because of the work done in these labs, you have access to the latest ankle surgery advances at Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for orthopedics.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

The type of surgery that is right for you will depend on your age, your level of activity, and the severity of your joint damage or deformity. Mayo Clinic offers many types of ankle surgery, including ankle fusion and ankle replacement.

Ankle fusion

In this procedure, surgeons roughen the ends of the damaged bones and then fasten them together with metal plates and screws. During the healing process, the damaged bones fuse together into one combined bone.

Ankle fusion is usually very successful in relieving arthritis pain, but it also reduces the ankle's motion. To make up for this, nearby joints may move more — which increases their risk of developing arthritis in these joints.

Ankle fusion is more common than is ankle replacement, partly because it holds up better and doesn't require you to restrict your activity as much after recovery. Fusion is generally recommended for younger people with more active lifestyles.

Ankle replacement

Artificial ankle joints have improved tremendously over the past 20 years, but they can still be damaged by high-impact activities such as running and jumping. That's why they're better suited for healthy people over the age of 60 who have less active lifestyles.

During ankle replacement surgery, the ends of the damaged bones are removed and a replacement joint made of plastic and metal is fitted onto the bones. The artificial joint helps the ankle retain more-natural movement, so there is less risk of arthritis developing in nearby joints.

You may not be a good candidate for ankle replacement if you:

  • Are younger than 50
  • Have weakened ankle ligaments
  • Participate in high-impact sports or work
  • Have misaligned ankle bones
  • Are significantly overweight
  • Have nerve damage from diabetes

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Specialists in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic perform ankle surgery. Depending on the cause of your ankle problem, specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, rheumatology, and radiology also may be involved in your care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic perform ankle surgery. Depending on the cause of your ankle problem, specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, rheumatology, and radiology also may be involved in your care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic perform ankle surgery. Depending on the cause of your ankle problem, specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, rheumatology, and radiology also may be involved in your care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Mayo Clinic has long been involved in research advances in orthopedic surgery, including how to alleviate symptoms from various ankle and foot conditions. Mayo Clinic's laboratories for Biomechanics and Motion Analysis can analyze alterations in a person's gait, measure deficiencies in muscle strength and evaluate the effectiveness of different types of treatments.

See a list of publications on ankle surgery by Mayo Clinic doctors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Jun. 25, 2014