Total ankle arthroplasty: Strength, pain, and motion

Frank E. DiLiberto*, Steven L. Haddad, Walter C. Wilson, Carol A. Courtney, Lauren K. Sara, Anand M. Vora

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: While outcomes such as pain and ankle motion are well researched, information regarding the effect of total ankle arthroplasty on ankle plantarflexion strength is extraordinarily limited. The purpose of this study was to evaluate ankle plantarflexion strength before and after total ankle arthroplasty, and examine the interplay of pain, motion, and strength. Methods: This prospective case-control study included 19 patients with end-stage ankle arthritis who received a total ankle arthroplasty and 19 healthy control participants matched for age, sex, and body mass index. Pain was measured with a numeric pain rating scale. Passive sagittal plane ankle range of motion (°) and isokinetic ankle plantarflexion torque (Nm/kg) at 60 and 120°/s were measured with an instrumented dynamometer. t-tests or non-parametric tests were used to evaluate outcomes across time and between groups. Bivariate correlations were performed to evaluate the interplay of postoperative pain, motion, and torque. Findings: Patient pain and motion improved between the preoperative and six-month postoperative time points (d ≥ 0.7). Ankle plantarflexion torque was not different across time (d ≤ 0.5), but was lower than control group values postoperatively (d ≥ 1.4). Significant correlations between pain and motion (r = −0.48), but not torque (−0.11 ≤ r ≤ 0.13), were observed. Interpretation: Unchanged following surgery, impairments in muscle performance following total ankle arthroplasty do not appear to be changed by improved pain or motion. These findings provide impetus for postoperative strengthening interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105342
JournalClinical Biomechanics
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Ankle arthritis
  • Isokinetic strength
  • Total ankle arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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