How Do I Know If I Need Foot Or Ankle Surgery?

There’s no one factor that ensures joint replacement surgery is necessary. For some people, the pain is completely debilitating. For others, pain manifests itself as an achy joint when it’s raining. Whether you’ve suffered from joint pain for years or just days, here are a few signs that it may be time to start a conversation with your doctor:

  • Your pain persists, gets worse, or recurs over time
  • Your joint aches during and after exercise
  • You’re no longer as mobile as you’d like to be
  • Medication and walking aids (like a cane) aren’t delivering enough relief
  • Your joint stiffens after sitting too long
  • You feel pain in rainy weather
  • The pain prevents you from sleeping
  • You feel a decrease in your ability to move and flex your foot or ankle
  • Your joint is stiff or swollen
  • You have difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • You have difficulty getting in and out of chairs and bathtubs
  • You’ve had a previous injury to the joint

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, talk to your doctor today and see if joint replacement is right for you. Your primary care doctor may refer you to a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon who will help you determine if you’re a candidate for surgery. They may suggest alternative, less invasive treatments first depending on the condition of your joint. Surgery may not be appropriate if you have an infection, do not have enough bone, or the bone is not strong enough to support an artificial joint. 

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Talk to your surgeon about whether joint replacement or another treatment is right for you and the risks of the procedure, including the risk of implant wear, loosening or failure, and pain, swelling and infection. Zimmer Biomet does not practice medicine; only a surgeon can answer your questions regarding your individual symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.