Ankle fusion or Below the knee amputation?

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I am in desperate need for advice.

I had an accident in July 2014 from which I did a lot of damage to my left ankle, since then I have had several operation all of which to no avail .

The pain is absolutely dreadful, I am currently taking 75mg of nortriptyline per night plus ibuprofen and paracetamol through the day.

2 weeks ago I saw a reputable consultant at chapel allerton hospital in Leeds who says my ankle can not be repaired as there is too much damage to bone and tissue and wants to do a full ankle fusion.

Before my accident I was a keen rugby player , tennis and off road cycling but since the accident I can't do anything at all because of the pain.

I'm afraid after the fusion I still won't be able to partake in any activities and could possibly end up with spinal problems and hip problems so I was thinking maybe a below the knee amputation may be the better long term option as i really dont want to be in any more pain and limited for the rest of my life,.

Could any one advise me please.

Thank you

David.

 

0 likes, 11 replies

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    David, kindly let me know what damage the injury caused, and did you have plates and screws? 

    Why haven’t the bones healed ? 

    Was a a Nonunion fracture ? 

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  • Posted

    U most likely won’t be able to do rugby. I would try the fusion first. U can always amputate. Go by process of elimination.
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  • Posted

    Dear David

    I'm very sorry that you are facing these problems. I've been facing a similar situation but with a TAR that is failing.

    I'm a bit surprised that a fusion is on the cards because I understood that it required the bones to be in a healthy condition and yours appear to be in a bit of a state.

    Unfortunately from what I have gathered a fusion will not allow you to return to the sports you listed in any sort of a competitive way and just reasonable mobility might be the best result in the circumstances.

    Have you looked into the device that US service men are beng fitted with that the general public can now buy called the Exosym! Well worth having a look at as a fall back position but it is costly and requires one to spend time in the US having it specially made and fitted.

    All the best

    Richard

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    • Posted

      Dear Darren

      I'm glad that you have taken a look at it. Do let me know what progress you make with your ankle.

      Cheers Richard

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  • Posted

    hello david

    ?I had my left ankle fused about 4 years ago and let me tell you bud I wish I did it a lot earlier,i also had lots of failed surgery which left me very low and in a lot of pain,my surgeon eventually told me to bite the bullet and go for the fusion,now don't get me wrong it is a long healing process,about 3 months in plaster and the rest of the year with physio but honestly its the best thing ever,people have this misconception that you wont walk properly and have a limp,bad hips etc but its not always true,i can ride a bike easily,play golf,even jog if I need to,you still have to be carefull because the rest of the bones in the foot take on the job of the ankle joint that is now missing so its wear n tear on them you have to look out for but appart from that there is nothing to worry about,as has been said before an amputation is something that I considered so I know how you feel but don't even think of that before trying a fusion,honestly mate if you could see the movement I have in my left ankle you'd be amazed,i can even manage a bit of a tiptoe and movement side to side and rotation is as before my accident,look there is a lot you need to know so if you want to talk on the phone or something contact me through here and ill give you a buzz (as long as its uk haha),if not the surgeon who performed my fusion is a dr Andrew skyrme of the horder centre in Crowborough east sussex,he is the dogs,very confidant and talks about these operations as though they are the easiest thing in the world,which put me at rest straight away,good luck mate and try not to believe all of the horror stories you hear or read.

    ?p.s best bit of advice I aver got was to shop around for the right surgeon n.h.s. or private,you still get a choice its your body,so many people talk of bad experiences but i'd be willing to bet they used the first surgeon that came along and just trusted them,well DONT,do your homework,i knew everything about this guy from his history in hospitals to even his golf handicap (I'm not joking).if you want the best use dr skyrme he changed my life forever.

    ?good luck mate I will check in on this site at the weekend to see if you want to talk if not I hope it goes well and have a great christmas

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  • Posted

    oh yeah sorry,try not to rely on the ibuprofen too much,i know what pain your in but they can destroy your stomach,if you do take some try and eat something or even a glass of milk just to line the gut,sorry I don't mean to make you suck eggs but believe me,i used them for years and now ive got terrible stomach problems but that's for another chat room,also a tip from a physio for when it swells is to lay on your back with the bad leg straight up a wall for about 10 minutes,in a corner helps best,it helps drain the fluid out of the ankle but it needs to reach your groin before it can dissipate to the rest of your body,she actually said to get someone to squeeze gently with some massage oil from your ankle to the groin as if squeezing a giant tube of toothpaste whilst in that position,trust me I used to do  this when I was plastering and it works wonders,it should relieve the symptoms anyway and if not at least you get a bit of fun with the mrs haha

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  • Posted

    Hi David,  I'm 15 weeks post ankle fusion after osteoarthritis - caused from broken ankle playing footy 35 years ago (I'm now 55).   I understand your feelings about activity as I cannot run now but my main sport is powerlifting.  My surgeon says I can pick up where I left off after 6 months albeit with limited range of motion in the squat.  I'm already on the exercise bike and have not stopped bench pressing throughout the last few months.  

    It all depends on the amount of damage in your foot but there's plenty of sports you can still do - just not high impact activity.

    Good luck and keep positive - you'll be ok in the end.

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  • Posted

    Sorry but I am shocked that you would even consider amputation.  I had my ankle fused 6 months ago and I am on the way to a full recovery. I play golf walk short distances but can not jog or do some of the other active sports that I used to do. Why did I do it you ask...because I had a lot of pain walking could not golf and my quality of life was poor.  Will I ever get back to before no but my overall quality is, was and will be worth it.

    go for the fusion it will be the very best of your two options .....

    no in my opinion the your only option

    good luck

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    • Posted

      hiya paul,hope the healing is going well,dont worry about the golf mate,i still play off a 4 handicap and can now play without pain it took about a year before I noticed I was pain free so it will come,was a git being the left ankle for pivoting but its amazing now,good luck with it all

       

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  • Posted

    David, my story is very similar to yours.  I fell 19’ in September of 2015 crushing my ankle,breaking both tibia and fibula with bones blown out the side of my leg. After three surgeries, I was repaired and able to walk, but not without pain.  Post traumatic arthritis was present and causing constant pain.  My options were fusion, replacement, or amputation.  September 27th this year I had the amputation.  I have a prosthesis and can walk again without pain.   I’m currently in PT.   Once that’s completed I’ll have my life back completely.   
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