Ankle fusion - do I or dont I ?

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Hi - I am a 45 mother or two small boys. When I was 18 I slipped when dancing and 'sprained' my right ankle. Now some 25 years later I have had numerous problems with said ankle - so much so I have had 4 debris removing ops and a couple of deep aneathetics injections into the joint to relieve the pain.  I have also been through 3 surgeons. Now I have been told by the latest one that there is nothing more they can do with the ankle apart from fusing it.  My consultant refuses to carry out total ankle replacements altogether (one factor being by age - he said I would wear it out !)  I have approx 60% movement but cannot solely weight bear on it.  My Achilles tendon has also atrophied. As I am female of course I still like to wear my nice shoes (and I dont wear silly high heels at all).  I have been told that I need a double fusion as the bottom part of the joint is now crumbling.  I am scared of making the wrong choice as its non reversable.  Anyone have any advice.  I currently take Tramodol, Naproxen, stomach acid medication, paraceteamol and gaviscon.  

Many thanks

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Claire you poor thing. I think you need to weigh up wether you want to live on pain killers and be in pain for many years or to have the surgery this must be a hard discision for you i cant offer any other advice other than that some times the more ops you have on your ankle the worse it can get wish i had a magic wand to wave and tell you everything will be ok but as you no there are risks with every op good luck with what ever you decide i no its not the same but when i decided to have compete ligament reconstruction was the best desicion i ever made my ankle is back to normal after 6 months with no pain or problems
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    • Posted

      Hi Allison

      thank you for the support.  The trouble is I have no idea what mobility (if any) I will have after the op if I go for it. I know it's such an individual thing, some people are very happy with he results after and some people wish they had never had the op. I know that I will be very limited as to the kind of footwear I will have to wear sad  I wish it was reversible !

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  • Posted

    Hi Clare,

    we we are both in the same position and I am finding it very difficult to make a decision on which way to go.  I have a lot of other problems with my ankle but the cartlidge in the joint is very badly damaged and a fusion is what is being suggested.  I have also been told that a TAR I NOT AN OPTION FOR ME AS IT WONT LAST WITH MY LIFE STYLE I am a far,er   My next appointment is end of April for a scan and maybe an op end of May. I can't handle pain killers but I am very concerned about the lack of movement with the fusion but the wY I am at present I lack a lot of movement and I can't sleep. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Jim

      Yes i can sympathise with you totally. It is indeed a life changing decision. In my case even driving might have to be adapated as being sods law its my right foot that is affected sad  I have my appt with my consultant on 9th Feb after having my anaethetic injection in december.  But even that hasnt helped - just given me more pain in another place to cope with. And made it less stable.  I am in a mind to wait and wait and wait to see if TAR's get better with durability/longliveity etc

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  • Posted

    Hi Claire,

    thank you for your reply.  I had a look at the operation on YouTube and it's horrendous I am going to try and wait as long as I can before doing fusion.  It's my right ankle also  so driving is difficult at present , getting in and out of the tractor is almost impossible at present so waiting might not be anoption.  The last OPi had has left me withe numbness in my foot.  Reading the reports on fusion it sounds like people have lots of problems and the recovery is a long timeJim 

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    • Posted

      Yes I have heard that its a long time 'with your feet up' so to speak !  I have been warned that its a least 8 weeks non weight bearing, then another 8 weeks gradually building up to full weight bearing. 

      when I rotate my foot - you can hear and see the bones crunching and moving sad  Hope you manage to make the right choice.  I have heard of younger people than myself being given TAR's (through major trauma) so wondered why this isnt an option for me ?

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  • Posted

    I'm 31, an active person and have horses. I'm 7 weeks post fusion. I was non weight bearing for 4 weeks and am virtually full weight bearing now but using crutches until I see my consultant next week to see if I get the go ahead to lose them. I'm back at work part time and although there are still things I can't do right now like drive and ride I know it's just round the corner. I had reached a point where weight bearing made me cry despite being on so many painkillers. Fusion is making life so much more bearable
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  • Posted

    I'm new to the blog, so if my reply is under the wrong person, I apologize. I see that these comments are from 3 yrs ago and was wondering if there have been any changes in the circumstances and/or decisions that have transpired. After years of Meloxicam, Percocet and steroid injections, I'm exhausted. There are days that I use a rollator/walker because the pain is too awful. My life revolves around my ankle. My activity level is at an all time low. I am an otherwise healthy 70-yr-old thinking about replacement, but would hate another surgery at 80 because of the life-span of the device. I'm also concerned that as I age, (because women are at great risk of osteoporosis) my bones may weaken and thus lead to possible problems with the fixtures of a replacement.

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