Ankle fusion? facts and alternatives

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Hi. Im 27 years old and suffer from severe haemophilia A. The bleeding in to my joints over the years has subsequently lead to severe arthritis in my joints, with my right ankle being the worse. I have had 2 micro-fracture surgeries over the past few years but to no avail. I have no cartilage in my ankle and thus its bone on bone contact-which has been the case for the last 3 years. Im supposed to be having a fusion in july 2016 however i am apprehensive to say the least. I was wondering what activities will i not be able to do if i have it fused i.e. will i be able to drive etc. my surgeon refused to consider a TAR as he said I will only get 3-5 years out of it and will not be able to get it fused once it fails.

Due to the haemophila I am accustomed to pain and thus I am considering not getting anything done, however i will admit that when the bits of bone chip off the pain is quite extreme. Even though I am prescribed Tramadols for pain management, I refuse to take them as im doing a phd in economics.

I was wondering if there is any one out there that may be able to offer some advice as all I get from my surgeon is that a fusion is the only option. 

Many thanks

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  • Posted

    Hi Liam Thomas

    I have had my let ankle fused twelve years ago . And have been able to do most sports ie ..running I used to do 3 to 4 miles twice a week cycle for four hours at a time ..after the ankle loses out you can swim in fact this gives you back your life ...I was 44 when I got this op still pain free I do swimming now and cycling most these days.. I have now just had my right foot fused plaster of yesterday after three months now in boot for up to six weeks ..ankle feels very week can't walk on it without boot leg is very thin is great that I know that it has fused and am now building the strength . I know form previous occasion it's takes time (seem like for ever )to retrain the foot and build up strength but you get there're ...I consider this op a miricle ..were else do you go from a very painfull ankle to know pain ...the downside is the time it takes in recovery"....I am planning to walk the hyndland way here in scotland next summer with my son .I know by then I should be fully fit and ready for the hundred mile trek see you can do most sports you could do before...for the next two weeks I will do walking with boot on and crutches putting more weight daily it will allow me to put on it then off to the gym for couple of weeks bike and rowing and strengthening exercises then if all going well in the swimming pool and on my own bike and it strenth back in foot by then try driving the car . If you can break because it's my right foot then I am ready to drive from then on gets easier ankle will get looser but remember it will take a full year to fully benifit...again slow process but really worth it ..before this op I can only walk about a mile with brace on ..I suffer from psoriatic athritis and can't believe the diferance you get with this op ...You get control of your life back ..I think this says it all ...I wish you well I know to what it feels to have constant pain good luck Liam 

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    • Posted

      Hi pauli,

      Thanks ever so much for your reply. I have been debating this surgery for a long time (actually cancelled twice before) and it is so good to hear from someone who has 1st hand expeience of what an ankle fusion entitles. To hear that you can still be so active after a fusion is brilliant. Even though my recovery time will be greater due to the haemophila (I have been told can take up to 4- 6 months in plaster) from what you say, i now believe it will be worth it in the end!

      Again thank you for your reply and i wish you all the best with your recovery.

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    • Posted

      Your very welcome Liam Thomas 

      You won't regret it just remember after op rest and raise your leg to keep swelling down ..before op and during fusion don't take naproxen and watch anti inflation meds as they can stop or slow down fusion process of ankle ..ask doc 

      good luck 

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    • Posted

      Hi Paul

      I am fascinated by your story, your recovery from previous ankle fusion op and your determination to quickly recovery from the more recent op along with your ambition to walk the hylandway with your son next summer.

      This is so encouraging to hear, I had a ankle fusion op just 9 days ago and already struggling with the thoughts of having to sit around for the next 2 to 3 months. Your story has brightened my day especially as there are so many negative stories about ankle fusion on the net.

      I would love to hear how your recovery has progressed and if are you still on schedule for your big walk in the summer, even though I do think this sounds a bit over optimistic.

      Best wishes and a Happy new Year



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  • Posted

    Hi Liam I had my left ankle fused in June of last year , before that I had my tendons changed over  because my ankle was turning right over , and for reasons I don't know my ankles tarted to turn in and was very painful after my consultant tried different things etc. painkiller injections finally he surgest end having my ankle fused meant 6weeks in plaster cas NWB then 6weeks in an air boot , I am now pain free the only difference I have found is when I bend down my ankle tells me that it can't flex quite like it used to I'm completely free of pain I drive. because I drive an automatic  up to now I haven't found much difference in the things I used to do before 


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