ankle fusion

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I had ankle fusion done 7mths ago and I still have alot of pain shooting up my leg because my heal comes down and the ball of my foot isn't touching the ground. All my weight is going to my heal and the rod that's In the bottom of my foot is causing pressure in my leg. I can't walk good at all like this and all the surgeon says is it will take time. Any suggestions or input?

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  • Posted

    Hi James,

                     for starters, if you have a rod inserted, it sounds like a multiple arthrodesis ie tib-talus-subtalus (and possibly calcaneus?). Anyway, mine was a tib-talus, i.e just the ankle joint. However, I m very much the same as you. I had the op on 23/6, 12 weeks NWB in plaster, and I am now +8 weeks since plaster cast removal. I'm 66, by the way.

      At this time, I can only but my heel down and when the ful weight goes on, the pain is unbearable. I cannot roll onto the ball of the affected foot because that too is painful, and anyhow I have to relieve the weight on the heel with my crutch. The pain does not sem to come from the fused area, but either side of it, from about 5 inces above my heel and right down to it. I have been to see the consultant and have had a CT scan to check the fusion, I'll get the results on 2/12.

      Like you, I am worried about this. I really thought that the op would instantly cure the pain and I would be walking as near to norally as I could by now.However, I have spoken to several folks on the 'net who say that I should not expect any significant progress for at least 6 months. My ankle is still really swollen, by the way, and this is 20 weeks after the op. My surgeon also says it will "take time", but fails to say how much time. I think it is a grey area , but fore sure I will keep going back if it does not settle down.

      So, the only advice i can give is stay optimistic, exercise through the pain, and badger your consultant

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    • Posted

      It sounds like you have the same thing I do, have you seen the xrays? They drill a hole through the bottom of tour foot into the tibia, there's 2 pins in the rod about 6" or so above your ankle, one of them is on a coupling he took that one out 4 mths after surgery. And there's one screw going through the back of my foot and one on the right side and two on the left.i am walking with a cane now but not very far and my leg and foot are still swelling bad,I'm 57 by the way.i was expecting to be riding my motorcycle after a few months WRONG!.im having a shoe made now and there going to build up the front of it so the ball of my foot comes down with my heel.

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    • Posted

      Hi this dosent sound good .im 7 weeks post op having had a ttc open ankle fusion and a bone graft I'm 51 years old I've not bin in that much pain to be fair and am back at the hospital today for a X-ray and I was hoping to have my cast of and be fitted with a air walker boot . However reading these post I don't think there will be any chance of that . I'm so sorry to hear ur both in pain and are not getting about to good .i was back at work 4 weeks after my op and was back driving a automatic car after 3 weeks hope u both get well soon .

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    • Posted

      Hi James,

                     I didn't have the same as you, yours sounds horrendous. I had open (i.e non-arthroscopic, so 2 massive cuts either side of the ankle) fusion of the Tibia to the Talus, ending up with 2 screws, one through the tib into the talus and one through the fib into the talus. At this point in time - 8 weeks after cast was taken off- I'm still in pain and cannot walk without crutches, so I wouldn't expect that you are much better off. Why can't you ride your m/c? Is it gear change or brakes, or just too painful to rest on the pegs?

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    • Posted

      Hi I found out the procedure I had is called(arthrodesis pantalar) it involves 4 joints in which I don't understand so I'll be talking to my surgeon.reading online about it says that it's done alot of times as a salvage operation prior to amputation so I don't know if maybe it was billed wrong or what's going on because he definitely didn't do 4 joints, I have alot of questions to ask for sure.

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  • Posted

    Hi James

    My ankle was surgically fused...awful process but fabulous outcome.

    I spent three months non weight bearing and several months learning how to walk without a limp.

    Elevation above your heart and good icing will help with the pain. Your heel has been traumatized.

    When an ankle is fused, you lose motion. You must adjust to a new normal and that takes time.

    Yes eventually I learned to stand on the balls of my feet. I had to adjust how I depressed the gas pedal. Some shoes I never wore again. Slow, small steps are easier than a full stride. To this day I take small steps because a fusion is limiting.

    You must learn to lead with the fused ankle going down stairs and lead with the other ankle when going up the stairs.

    Our bodies are remarkable...we can endure great trauma today and continue to heal for another five years. Initially, healing is rapid, then things slow down but they keep on going.

    kind regards

    judith

    It is very true....it takes time.

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    • Posted

      Hi Judith,

                     glad to hear you had no problems, but I think secifically, the questions the OP (and I) wants answering are : 1 - is heel pain normal following the op? and 2- how long should the pain and the swelling last?.

         You also don't say what fusion you had, as I understand it, some are worse than others.

      All the best

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    • Posted

      Hi Dobbo

      It was my right sub talus

      Yes I had heel pain and heel sensitivity. Once I had redeveloped my muscles and was able to place my foot on the floor the heel pain subsided.

      I wish I could give you more precise answers

      May your healing process come along quckly

      kind regards

      judith

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