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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2007

    Default Ankle replacement & riding

    I have end-stage ankle arthritis from a broken ankle 20 years ago. Although the surgeon and I discussed joint fusion, we decided to perform replacement surgery, and it's scheduled for the end of August.
    I have looked on the Internet, but there is a lot of conflicting information on riding after surgery. The surgeon says techniques have improved a lot for ankle replacements in the last few years so most Internet info is out of date. And now replacement is preferred for a 55yo active person. He says- if I can ride now, I'll be able to ride again.
    I was wondering if anyone here continues to ride after an ankle replacement.
    Any information would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Patty

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 13, 2006

    Default If you would like papers........

    I recently completed a literature review on ankle replacements through the medical library I have access to. They are technical articles so if you don't mind dry reading, PM with regular email and I'll send them.

    Medical Mike
    equestrian medical researcher

    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2002

    Default ankle

    I would question that surgeon more throughly , as of today ankle replacement is a risky and rarely successful option for damaged ankles. I have been following this issue since the early 1990 . I am in touch with the best ankle surgeons in the country and they still advise me not to have a fusion or a replacement unless the ankle has collapsed. I'll be glad to give you some names if you are interested. However i can tell you that although some new devices are on the market the success rate isn't much better than the older replacements. . You should remember than the only research done on medical implants, devices and joint replacements are done by the manufacturers of the device. The FDA does not get involved like they do for medications.
    The ankle is the most complicated joint in our body. There are no replacements that will function as a real ankle and may increase pain and dysfunction.
    Some people consider amputation as there are very good prothesis that work wonderfully. I've thought about it but could not do that to my body.
    Good Luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 13, 2000


    go to
    do a search for author
    he touched on this topic a few days ago and he said not to have the ankle replacement done. he said ankle replacements are for skinny people who are not active. even with all the rosy accolades for having one done, he said they do not hold up.
    he is an OS that has major experience with really bad injuries. he works in a level one trauma center in orlando florida.
    he also has a website
    he said with an ankle fusion you still have movement in your foot and he said it will provide you with a better result.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2007

    Default Any successful stories?

    If I was apprehensive about riding after surgery before- now I'm really nervous.

    I will just have to believe that my Doctor is giving the right advice for my particular case. I've also had a second opinion which resulted in the same advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by TSWJB View Post
    go to
    Just a reminder- be cautious when following a BB suggestion. The above recommendation took me to a fairly "interesting" website, but not related to our subject.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 13, 2000


    oh sorry. i gave the wrong site. its and its a legitamate website about broken legs. sorry! i just rattled it off quickly. its been in my favorites since beginning of march.
    i would research many opinions about your issue and then make a decision based on your comfort level.
    boneguru was pretty against ankle replacements.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2014

    Cool Regarding ankle replacement vs fusion for senior riders

    Greetings! as a veteran i am entitled to free health care so i had appointment regarding my arthritic left ankle and foot. I ride English Hunt and trail. i am over 70 but in excellent health.

    The doctor suggested ankle replacement over fusion since I'm not diabetic, a non smoker, in excellent health etc based on the fact i want to continue to ride and compete.

    The STAR replacement is recommended by several forum members and it just so happens my dr is an authorize STAR surgeon at the San Francisco VA Med Center.

    I hope this helps those who have the same issues.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2014


    Greetings from a noob! I'm an MD trained in Family Medicine, Psychiatry, and Medical Acupuncture as well as a horseman, so I have quite an interest in this sort of thing. Unfortunately, I don't have the latest information about physical activity after ankle replacement surgery, but I know the state of the art is advancing very rapidly and what was true two or even one year ago may not be correct today. If you still have some concerns, you might consult an orthopedic surgeon with extensive experience in sports medicine if yours doesn't have it. There is also a small but growing movement of equestrian (not equine) medicine and perhaps an internet search for "equestrian medicine" could turn up someone who could answer your question.

    Following a bad knee injury and surgery in 1979, I found that a western saddle stirrup put too much torque on my knee and I had to switch to an Australian saddle with English leathers. I don't know what you're riding at present, but you'll want to keep in mind that when a joint replacement fails, it usually doesn't break down mechanically but begins to separate from the bone. Rotational forces are more likely than linear forces to cause that problem, so you'll want to minimize torque on the joint.

    I have had a fair amount of experience using acupuncture on post-op patients and I'm convinced it results in reduced pain, reduced swelling, faster healing, and less scarring. Insurance probably won't cover it, but if you can afford it, I strongly recommend you have it done once-twice a week for about six weeks post-op. It's never really too early to start, but you may be too tender to tolerate the needles for the first few days after surgery.

    I hope this helps. I look forward to hearing how you do after the surgery.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2010
    Tampa, FL


    I rode with someone who'd had a replacement. For dressage she ended up having her stirrups modified with a bit of tough (girth like) elastic up by the buckle. You can't see it at all but it allows her leg to absorb motion the way your ankle is supposed to. For boots she wears zip ups and can barely walk in them, always switches immediately on the ground to athletic shoes but is then fine for lunging, ground driving, whatever.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2003
    Arizona....the desert part.


    Ankle fusion veteran here...just posted a long reply on my personal experience on the ankle fusion/replacement thread going on over on the eventing forum right now, if anyone wants to read. :-) I am also ok if anyone wants to PM me...the gist is that I had a very positive outcome...details on other thread....
    Last edited by azeventer; Nov. 5, 2014 at 01:39 AM. Reason: clarification
    I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert!
    If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning!

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