Ankle fusion looking for info from patients

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Hi there. I'm currently preop for an ankle fusion. Anyone who's had the surgery please give me info. Don't like the few things I hear post op. Please help

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  • Posted

    I hope people write in about ankle fusion, I’m getting ready with PT so I will know how to use the knee  scooter. My dr wants to fuse my left ankle so I will be out of pain. I will be following. My surgery is about 6 weeks away.
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  • Posted

    I broke my tibia and fibia in 1976 and am now in severe arthritic pain. I can walk but the doctors say my ankle has fused itself in the wrong position but it's causing pain. For a while I was getting sharp stabbing pain but saw an osteopathic doctor who manipulated my legs and the stabbing pain disappeared. Now I have 2 orthopedic surgeons who say I need an ankle fusion. I can walk with pain now.

    Also I'm in Mexico and have no idea about the rehab process. Opinions please

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  • Posted

    Hi William. I sure the reasons for you to have an ankle fusion are sound and that after 12 months you'll be glad you had it done, however...

    Those 12 months will be some of the most consistently difficult and painful physically but no less importantly mentally. Prepare yourself mentally to feel useless and possibly enter into a depressive mode. Isolation is also a problem. Remember that changing your gait will affect other parts of your body, potentially causing degradation and pain. Your lower back is especially vulnerable as are your tendons, muscles and ligaments. Do ensure you have PT prepped to help you. I didn't, and I wish I had.

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  • Posted

    Just want to wish you good luck on your surgery....Myself recovering from multiple ankle fractures. ( Three months ago).

    It will be hard and painful. Make sure you have good pain meds.

    Once again, good luck, my heart goes to you...

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  • Posted

    Hi William,

    It is a long recovery process I had 6 months off work. The first 6 weeks are the worst as there is no weight bearing. I had a wheelchair to get around which was great, it meant that I was independent in my home and friends could take me out when they had time. I had a toilet chair, a shower chair and a grabber. All these things helped. I am an avid reader so I made sure I had lots of books to read. ordered my groceries online and anything else that I wanted. I never remember what the pain was like. I did lots of physio and swam in the pool once I was allowed to. It is a long journey however it is worth it.

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  • Posted

    Well, as I keep saying on this forum, I have just had a second one done - both ankles were arthritic and painful and pretty useless.    It was just 3 weeks ago and I am settling down for another month or so of non weight bearing.

    And then a month on the awful air boot thing which did indeed rubbish my lower back etc BUT by the late autumn, if it was like last year, I will have no pain and fully expect to be able to walk straight and strong again.  I am 77 and so if I can do it..... well, I do have to have a carer for all that time (she has to do all the things I would normally do which involves horses, gardening and cooking and driving) and it is very expensive......  I just feel, even at my age, it would have been feeble not to have finished the job - i.e. have both ankles fixed.

    At the moment I just have a bit of an ache at night but nothing too bad.....

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    • Posted

      Penny, I am 73 yrs and I had my husband and grandson at my side day and night for a few weeks.   After that they were there and helping but I was able to dress myself, bathe,  fix my,own lunch etc etc.    

      i am six weeks now and in a air boot which is not comfortable but it’s not hurting me.   I used my knee scooter from the first day after surgery I  did my stretching and hip exsersices  almost every day and now I’m am partial weight bearing.    I’m suing crutches most of the time now but I don’t like them because I can’t use my hands to do anything or carry anything.    I’m hoping I’m through the worst of it.

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    • Posted

      I had an ankle fusiin March 21st. I came out of the aircast boot last Wednesday and am starting to fully weight bear. I did 2 weeks post op non weight bearing with a backslab. Then 12 weeks with aircast boot on. I could walk easily with boot on and was able to put it to the floor as the pumped uo construction of boot takes the weight. Coming out of this is a step back mobility wise. It is swollen and the current hot weather makes it worse. But I am going swimming tomorrow so will let you know how that goes. It is very slow and at about 6 weeks got very low for about 3 weeks. I feel like I am coming out of it now. My choice was this fusion and bone graft or amputation. I am bloody grateful that I am coming through it. Big op but the pain relief you get from the joint being fused is worth it. Good luck xx
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  • Posted

    William,  I understand your concern about how hard it is for some people when they have ankle fusion.    I had Subtalar triple fusion  six weeks ago and I am so glad I did it.   I’m not sure if if it is because I was in so much pain before the surgery that the pain I felt after the surgery was a piece of cake.   The pain after surgery only lasts about four days and you are on pain meds which will keep you very comfortable.  

    When you first get home from the hospital it’s hard because you have to be so careful not to put any weight on your foot.   This is not easy because you are unbalanced.   Using one leg to get up and down is difficult.  The most important thing to have in place is the toilet seat lift, a walker , and the scooter.    It’s also important you have help for the first week.  If you have those things you will do great.     The knee scooter will be your best friend..it’s a real kick and make sure you have a basket for it.

    Im in a boot now with partial weight bearing and I have no pain.

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  • Posted

    William did you get the information you were looking for?   This is a difficult surgery but it didn’t last forever,  I am 2 months post surgery and I’m in an air boot.   The first month is hard but if you have all the right tools it is not too bad.   Those tools are a raised toilet seat, knee scooter, walker, grabber and someone to help for the first two weeks.   Make arrangement to have someone bring meals and groceries in for a month.   Make sure everything you need, such as clothes, toiletries, medicines, snacks , books, hobbies are within reach.   It’s hard to bend down to get clothes if they are in a lower drawer or cupboard.   Just remember it’s worth it......
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  • Posted

    On the whole everyone who has had the triple fusion done is pretty positive about it and I have every hope that my second op will be as successful as the first.  Five weeks after the operation I am still in a cast but there is absolutely no pain and I have to think very hard to remember not to put an weight on it.  I see the Consultant on July 17th and then I hope I will have the airboot for partial weight bearing but I will be sure to get a lift for the other foot to even up my posture.  I got a terrible back last time .  Please tell me about stretching and hip exercises everyone!  Because I am so far away from the hospital  it is difficult for me to see a physio.

    One thing no one has mentioned is the business of injecting oneself with the anti-clotting drug.  Not something I enjoy doing!

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  • Posted

    Hi William

    i had my left ankle fused in November 2018.  The joint was very swollen and painful due to arthritis.  My surgeon told me that fusion was the best option because replacement ankle joints are not very robust or successful long-term.

    the operation was done under spinal anaesthetic.  There is the possibility of having a pain blocking drug administered at the same time as the anaesthetic.  This should give up to 24 hours pain relief.  It doesn't always work, however.  It didn't work form me, unfortunately, but I was given opiates post operatively to manage the pain.

    you will have to be totally non weight bearing for about 8 weeks.  If you are able to use crutches to get about, that is fine but if, like me, your balance is not good, then a device such as a knee scooter is invaluable.  Be aware that 8 weeks of immobility is quite a long time and certainly long enough to lose a lot of muscle tone and fitness.  You should aim to do physio exercises regularly but you will also need to keep your leg elevated for at least 20 hours a day to keep swelling under control. You will also need to wear compression stockings to reduce the risk of blood clots.

    once the initial non-weight bearing stage has passed, the surgeon will perform an X Ray to make sure the bones have fused.  You will then get a removable boot and can start walking.  This phase lasts about 6 weeks.  After that, you should be able to wean yourself off the boot and start walking and exercising gently.  

    I made the the mistake of thinking I would then be able to get on with my work, my life, my activities etc without any further pain.  Not so!  It really does take months and months of gradual improvement.  Sometimes it gets you down. You must take the long term view and not expect things to happen in a rush.  You may be lucky and get over the operation really quickly but most people say it takes 8-12 months for a full recovery.  I tried to go back to work after 6 months (I am a nurse) but had to go off sick again as my ankle was still painful and swollen.  

    In in a nutshell:  it is a painful and lengthy recovery but worthwhile in the end (hopefully!)

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