Ankle fusion - recovry with small child at home

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I have severe arthritis in my right ankle and have been recommended that I have an ankle fusion

I am a single parent to a 4yr old who is st school.

Surgeon is rather vague about recovery times so thought I'd ask here. Has anyone had the surgery and been in the same boat with having a young child.

Is it possible to carry on fairly normally with things after a fusion? I know I won't be weight bearing for a while and in.a cast. The alternative is to wait until my little girl is older but I can't keep up with her due to pain and it's making me a grumpy so and so to be around. So maybe a few months now will be worth it in the long run

Thanks for reading

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Laura, 

    I don't have a ton of advise on the ankle fusion, but I just had a First Toe Joint fusion a week ago. Just that is tough. Non weight bearing and so on. I don't have small children. I have a husband who has waited on me hand and foot, literally! 

     First and foremost I hope Your surgeon will let you know what is entailed to go through this. Its a lot. You will need care. I am able to walk to the bathroom and to the chair /bed ... that is for two weeks to start. I am in a splint cast for now... what happens after my post op I don't know . The pain alone is the hardest for me. I have a very high threshold of pain and this is kicking my butt.  

    I got myself a wedge for the elevation that is constant and its been a life saver. 20 bucks through Amazon is so worth it. 

    I hope more people who have had an ankle fusion chime in with some advice/information for you. I wish I had more. 

    I wish you luck,

    Rose

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  • Posted

    Hi Laura,

    I can't answer your question I'm afraid but your surgeon should make sure you are fully informed before you embark on any surgery or ask him to let you talk to his physio - surgeons are rarely at the recovery end so a PT may help give your a broader view of what to expect.

    Can I ask what the pain was like in your ankle ? I have a problem and don't know what it is but the pain can be quiet excruitiating...this is my second flare up and I can't even move my toes on that foot hen it's at it's peak, feels like a severe cramp if I try to move my toes and I can't weight bare at all until it subsides a bit (thank goodness I have crutches for my knee)....I have been using Voltarol Gel and it helps a little but tbh I wouldn't know what arthritis pain is...unless this is it ! The pain stems from the outside of the ankle along the top of the foot but it is very deep (around the cuboid bone area) but there is very little swelling or redness - just dreadful pain.....I thought I had just strained it the first time as was favouring my other leg due to an anticipated Total Knee Replacement....I've had that surgery now and my recovery is being impeded by the ankle...so any information you can give would be much appreciated. Best wishes, Maggie x

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    • Posted

      Its hard to explain. I also have bony spurs on foot and ankle which means pain when I move my foot and a feeling that my foot is stuck. I get an intense ache all up my leg if I do too much.

      The actual pain in my ankle can be anytjing from mild irritation to intense pain. I also feel it at night and don't get much pain

      I am loathed to take painkillers as I had 10 years on tramadol and stronger for back pain which made me feel totally out of it and spaced out and I don't want to take them now I have a child. If your in any doubt go back and insist on fraud or mri.

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  • Posted

    Hi Laura

    I had my ankle fusion last January when my children (twins) were 10. I must admit I put it off for many years so that they would be more independent before I had the op.  I struggled on until I was having to live on painkillers and was having throbbing pain at night which kept me awake.  The decision on whether to have the op really depends on how much pain you're in - there are some other options if you decide to delay surgery -  I had a hyaluronic injection which made things a bit better for a while, and I think you can have steroid/local anaesthetic injections. I don't know if you've tried any of those? Just be warned that the recovery after fusion is quite long and hard.  Not only do you have the first 2 weeks when you literally have to lie on the sofa and do nothing, but then there's up to 3 months on crutches/in airboot, non driving, etc. and even during the 3-6 month post op period it's still tough getting back to fitness and learning to walk in a new way.  After 5-6 months it gets better but full recovery can take up to a year.  If you do go ahead with the operation you'll definitely need lots of help and support from family and friends to look after yourself and your daughter.  Sorry if it sounds a bit bleak , but I wish I'd known the full extent of the recovery before I embarked on the fusion.  After 15 months I guess I'd say it's been worth it as I'm now able to walk around more easily and without painkillers, but it's been a long road to get to this point.  Best of luck with your decision. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Tessa for the reply.

      I don't have any family around but I do have good friends who will help out and as long as someone can take my daughter to school and back the lying with foot up for 2 weeks is hopefully achievable.

      I am a bit worried about the crutches as I have terrible balance but I'm hoping to get a knee scooter that sounds more stable.

      The things that worry me are more practical such as washing and going to the loo. Maybe I'm crazy to worry about the small things. I just want to be out of pain on a daily basis.

      I am trying to keep active at the moment and keep my weight down as I know after my op I'm going to be imobile for so long.

      X

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  • Posted

    i had screws and a plate put into my ankle after i broke it almost 2 months ago. still no weight bearing and i have an 8 month old daughter 😅 i don’t know how much longer it’s going to take until i can walk but it really puts you in a dark place not being able to do anything for yourself, let alone your child. i’m just very lucky & blessed that i have a lot of family that love taking her and helping me out. i seen in your other comment you have terrible balance.. so do i! i don’t use crutches, i use a walking frame. 10x easier! and i also have a wheelchair for when i go out which is rarely. getting to the toilet should be fine. you get use to using 1 leg. hope everything goes good for you smile x

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply

      Must be so hard to have such a small baby and also as it was an accident you didn't get to put things in place fitst. I'm hoping knowkng in advance and being able to plan will help. I'm just praying I can call in lots of favours.

      I hope that the community nurses can come in and help me a little too.

      Hadn't thought of a walker. Maybe when I can put some weight on my ankle that will work but not for the first few months I don't think.

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