The procedure is a great leap forward since treatment had been to fuse the joint, severely limiting mobility.
If severe ankle pain affects your quality of life, then ankle replacement surgery may be an effective pain relief option.
The ankle is a weight-bearing joint that absorbs the body's full impact, pain from an injured or diseased ankle can be especially severe and debilitating.
Dr. Martin O'Malley at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery is performing ankle replacements.
For decades, doctors wanted to develop a replacement joint - like the ones in hips and knees, but early attempts failed because the ankle is more complex and supports more weight
O'Malley says the keys to success are new, longer lasting material and surgical percision.
He says, "We're able to put the implant right where we want to - which is a huge breakthrough."
X-rays are used to perfectly align the new ankle with the leg.
Once the ankle is aligned Doctor O'Malley screws a series of disks into the leg for support. The stem is attached to the titanium replacement ankle which glides easily. Doctor O'Malley says patients should avoid heavy running, but can do just about anything else.