Is anyone playing soccer, or running sports after ankle replacement?

Posted by soccerpaolo @soccerpaolo, Dec 26, 2022

I am considering an ankle replacement, but I'm not ready to quit soccer yet. I know it's not advisable, but Is anyone playing soccer on an ankle replacement, and if so, how is it going?

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@soccerpaolo Hello, and Welcome to Mayo Connect – I usually answer new members more promptly, but I waited to see if anyone could answer you specifically.
I do not have an ankle replacement, just my hips, but my friend does – we are past retirement age, and our parts just wore out from age & use. She is back to hiking and traveling, but was cautioned by both the doc and her PT that the replacement ankle is meant to walk on, but not for running and stress.
I wore my hips out in my 50's after running for all of my adult life, plus a lot of jumping playing volleyball/wallyball. When I asked about returning to these my surgeon said "Sure, but the hips won't last – and revision will not be fun. So, sure you can run to catch a bus or play with your grandkids. But not 20 miles a week or training for a marathon. Sure, you can jump up to grab a frisbee. But volleyball – fast stops, starts, repeated jumping – not a good plan. Sure you can ski – but not like a kamikaze (was he watching me?) – cross country would be better.
So I walk, hike on rough terrain, play tag with my grands, swim, ride a bike, dance – all styles – and the hips are still in great shape after many years. My brother still golfs & water skis on his hips, but gave up slalom tricks with hos grandkids…

So what does your doctor have to say? What is your long-term goal – to stay active with little pain until 80 or later, or to play soccer a few more years? Can you postpone replacement until you are ready to retire from active play?


Thank you Sueimn! I too have a hip replacement from a ski injury that Ive played soccer on for 13 years so far without a problem. The ankle joint though is mysterious. There just aren't a lot of them out there. I appreciate your cautionary advice, but am still bewildered. My surgeon said he is not allowed to recommend cutting sports on an ankle replacement, but many of his patients do play cutting sports like basketball and soccer. And he said if you wear it out it's not a big deal to just slide in another plastic donut between the the capped tibial plateau and the long bones. I do think though the danger of cutting sports might be the loosening of the implanted caps and that could be serious.

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