Ankle arthroplasties using metal and polyethylene prostheses were done on 28 patients (30 ankles) with painful osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis between 1975 and 1980. Significant loosening and subsidence of the metal prostheses occurred in most patients, and ceramic prostheses were introduced in 1980. Ceramic prostheses with or without cement were used to replace 60 ankles in 56 patients with painful arthritis between 1980 and 1991. Revision surgery was required for five patients (five ankles) during the followup period (mean, 12 years 6 months). Loosening and subsidence of the prostheses were seen in 50% of patients within 5 years after the index procedure. As a result, a new design of bead-formed alumina coated with hydroxyapatite was used. A tibial prosthesis fixed to the posterior cortex of the tibia with a screw was used from 1991. These new ceramic prostheses were used to replace 70 ankles in 62 patients between 1991 and 2000. Thirty-six patients (36 ankles) with a mean age of 71 years (range, 50–87 years) had osteoarthritis, and 26 patients (31 ankles) with a mean age of 60 years (range, 41–76 years) had rheumatoid arthritis. During followup, with an average of 5 years 2 months, three patients (three ankles) required revision surgery (one for infection, two for talar necrosis). Overall results for patients with osteoarthritis were excellent in 21 ankles, good in 10 ankles, fair in two, ankles and poor in zero ankles. Results in patients with rheumatoid arthritis were excellent in five ankles, good in 16 ankles, fair in three ankles, and poor in two. In the intermediate study, 29 patients (31 ankles; 91.2%) with osteoarthritis and 19 patients (21 ankles; 76.9%) with rheumatoid arthritis were satisfied with the short-time results of arthroplasty.