Ankle fusion and driving...

Posted , 6 users are following.

...just wanted to say hello and ask a question please.

To those of you that have had an ankle fusion have you been able to drive a manual car afterwards?

I'm 4wks following a fusion to my left ankle and I'm sat at home off work pondering if I'll be able to drive my car again!

My consultant at Wrightington Hospital, UK said as soon as he saw my scans pre-op that I should be driving an automatic. So I was just wondering if anyone has been able to drive their manual car after an ankle fusion?

If not then I need to start the ball rolling with trading my car in for a new one!

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  • Posted

    Hi Morris,

    I had my left ankle fusion in January, I am lucky I already own an automatic car,  So I have been able to drive which is wonderful. I don't see why you won't be able to drive a manual car after your bones have fused. I was non weight bearing for 6 weeks, so didn't do any driving during that time. 

    Stay positive.

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  • Posted

    Hi.I had a right ankle fusion last August.I was in a cast and then a boot for sometime but I can say definitely that a fusion does not prevent you from driving a manual gearbox car.In fact I would say that driving is easier than walking.As long as you are happy to do an emergency stop you will be able to drive.Good luck with your healing and keep looking forward to the day when you feel ready to drive.Best wishes,Nonita
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    • Posted

      Hi Nonita, My RIGHT ankle was severely broken in a car crash 30 yrs ago. The last 5 years have been very painful.  But when I discussed my options with an ortho surgeon, he said I wouldn't be able to drive after fusion. I live alone and really need to be able to drive, so I put off the fusion and have been using cortisone injections (approx every 5 mos) and percocets to control the pain. Just recently, the pain became so horrible, I was reduced to tears and had to break out the ole rollator/walker rolleyes  I'm in California and surprised at the lack of surgeons for ankles; a complex little joint. Although ankle joint replacement has been used for several years now, most surgeons in my area still rely on the fusion technique due to the relative lack of long-term tracking of success rates for replacements. I'd love to hear about your driving tricks. I have an automatic. In preparation for fusion, I wrapped my ankle at a 90 deg angle and experimented with positions in the driveway. Are there any techniques or tips you can share?

      Thank you so much for your time. 

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    • Posted

      Hi JLo. I really can't understand why they have told you that you won't be able to drive.I haven't yet come across anyone who has been unable to drive following ankle fusion.I must admit that the whole healing process is quite lengthy and painful when you first start walking and putting weight through it.I started driving a manual car at 5 months and as I said in a previous post I found it easier than walking.It is important that you are able to carry out an emergency stop.I did practice driving movements whilst sitting in a chair and so felt ready to do the real thing.I am nearly 18 months post op now and find that the only thing I can't do is bend my foot to use the stairs and have to go one step at a time.Having the ankle fusion was the best thing I have done and if you need any further help get in touch.I wish you all the best and let us know what happens.Nonita

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    • Posted

      Hi Nonita. I appreciate your quick and thoughtful reply. Unfortunately, due to the limp from the ankle, the increased pressure took a toll on the hip, so I had right hip replacement 3 yrs ago and went through (what appears to be) a similar post-op scenario. 

      Even at my age (68) the hip recovery went well, so I am hopeful for a positive outcome with the ankle fusion. But I am fearful of hospitals. I am seeing the doctor in a couple of days and will be lining up appointments with two other surgeons for 2nd and 3rd opinions. I will surely keep y'all posted on my surgery journey in Northern California, US.

      JLo

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    • Posted

      Hi  I have had 7 surgeries now to fix my ankle. The last was 18 Jan 2017 I am walking fine however have had lots of trouble with my right hip. Too much time in a moon boot. I have been seeing a physio who was trying to get me to walk straight, he left so went to see the next phsyio he took photos of my knees it appears that my left knee is slightly lower than my right, he put an insert in my birkenstocks and I walked around for 5 days with that and it made such a big difference. I am also doing exercise to restore my glutes as they have withered after twelve months. I actually felt my bum yesterday and even I can notice the withering. It was my left ankle. Xrays were taken and nothing showed up, so happy about that. Not sure if when my glutes are back to normal, I will still need to wear an insert. Will have to wait and see. I live in the tropics so do not want to have to wear closed in shoes. I have a referral to see a podiatrist. Will let you know how I go.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Marian -

      Unfortunately, surgeries can remove a little bone each time so it is understandable that after several surgeries, the injured leg may become a bit shorter than the other. Even a tiny bit... over time... My glute also started to atrophy - a telltale sign that you are favoring the leg.

      I placed inserts in the heels of my right shoes/sandals. It does help by re-positioning your body weight toward the ball of the foot instead of the ankle/heel. California has pretty mild weather - so I'm still in sandals. smile That worked for several years.  Leg lift exercises using a mild 10-20 lb weight has also been beneficial by stimulating blood flow to the ankle thus relieving a little of the arthritis pain. 

      Were your multiple surgeries due to fusion nonunion or some other malady?

      Yes - please keep up updated.

       

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    • Posted

      The original surgeries were arthroscopies to debrade the ankle, had 4 over a period of 3 years and the  last one became infected which went to the bone. Thus the fusion, then had the screws taken out.
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    • Posted

      Hi again, saw the doctor today regarding my xray for my right hip all good there. She is the first person to measure my legs and yes my left is 2cm shorter than my right. So you were right, I am seeing a new doctor gp and she seems to be a lot more thorough than my previous gp.
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    • Posted

      Hi Marian - I'm glad she measured your leg for you. I met with resistance from physicians here with that issue. That's why I just added the slight wedgy to my right shoe to make up the difference.  I think that's been one of the most frustrating part of any surgical procedure I've had; finding the right doctor - while at my most vulnerable, tired & scared.

      Regarding the atrophy issue. I noticed that because my left glute was slightly larger than the right, when I sit or lie in bed watching TV, I find myself 'listing' a bit. You wouldn't think that such a tiny amount of difference in grute size would do this. I mean, it's not like I'm at a 45 deg angle or anything LOL - such a tiny bit. The only reason I mention this is because it can lead to minor lower back pain

      Best of luck to you.

      jlo

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    • Posted

      I just had my 4th ankle surgery, how did you make it through 7? I was just wondering if you are walking pain free now? I'm still non weight bearing for another 3 weeks. I am going crazy sitting in this chair. With your last surgery when did you know it was a success? Were there any signs? Please let me know. Thank you kim

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    • Posted

      My surgeries were over a 5 year period, when did I know it was a success when I could walk properly.  I am walking pain free sometimes I get a pain in the side of my ankle but its not too bad and tends to go away without taking pain meds. I still don't have a lot of confidence in walking up rocky paths, and I try to avoid steps, as now I have less movement in my left ankle. It has now been 18 months and I can still see improvements. Took the dog for a walk yesterday, I am trying to walk longer distances as I have a trip booked to India in September, and I am sure there will be lots of walking involved. The most painful operation was when I had the screws removed.  Hope this information helps.

       

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much. I'm praying for the best and I did hear that if you can get the hardware out that it does feel better. Have a wonderful trip and I would crawl if I had to.

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    • Posted

      Thank Goodness! Kept reading only left fusion people could drive! I am still recuperating from my right ankle fusion...

      Warm regards

      Carla Kooij

      Framingham, MA

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  • Posted

    Thank you both so much for your replies, they have certainly made me smile a little today.

    Probably had a day were I've done too much, been a tad isolated and thought about things too much!

    I'm heartened though to hear that it may be possible to drive a manual car, in due a new one in January so was debating want to do.

    Thanks for your advice and hope that you both healing well!

    Regards. Claire.

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