Ankle Fusion - Yes or No?

Posted , 9 users are following.

I have had ankle pain for about twenty years now and it's getting worse.  The pain and weakness is really limiting my mobility and my life. 

I am 66 in December and whilst not an athlete consider myself relatively fit and of a good BMI

I am thinking of going the ankle fusion route as all else has been tried and I'm getting so tired of being in pain.

I read in some places that an ankle fusion is a great option and the expected limp is not as bad as some websites would say.

I'm pretty desperate here rolleyes 

I did read someone say they'd rather have a slight limp with no pain than a limp with pain. 

Ankle fusion was recommended about 10 years ago but I soldiered on.

Any thoughts on this?

Thank you

David 

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  • Posted

    Oh David I feel for you I do, I to have ankle pain for the last 20/-25yrs...can’t quite remember life with out it.

    I’ve had a 7 ops on mine over the last 14yrs and the last Consultant I saw was a bone graft specialist which I thought would be the answer.

    Unfortunately for me there was nothing he could do and referred me back to my ortho consultant. He told me the news and I was devestated as he recommended a fusion.

    I carried on for another 2yrs but this yr I decided enough was enough and to just go for it. I though what have I got to loose??!

    I had it done on 17th May this year and it’s been tough going. Many times I’ve said it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done, but finely i can now say it’s worth.

    I have no limp which was something I was worried about, my range of movement is surprising good and I can walk for 2miles or so. I have a small problem with one of the screws but that can be sorted out pretty easliy.

    It’s a difficult decision to make as its major surgery; you just have too plan enough, have good support and take it easy.

    I made that decision as I wanted my life back instead of going to work. I used to come home and not be able to do anything because of the horrendous pain of osteoarthritis that was so bad that my ankle was bone on bone.

    Now I can walk my dog, take my children to the park and hopefully start swimming and hiking again soon too. 

    I just want to wish you all the best with what ever you decided. Let us know how you get on. 

    Claire. Xx

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  • Posted

    I think you should go for it.  I had one ankle done four months ago and it does feel much more functional that the other one, which hasn't had the fusion.   Very little pain and just stronger.   It was a boring time while the bones fused but , like all things, it passed and, so far, definitely worth it.   My whole body strength suffered but I am 77 and have got most of it back by now.

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  • Posted

    Hi dave,

    I agree with Claire & Penny.  I'm 9 weeks post fusion and I'm 55.  I had osteoarthritis diagnosed 10 years ago but had been limping and aching for 5 or so years before that - all from a broken ankle when I was in my late teens.  My  Physio showed me a skeleton of the lower leg and foot to explain that I'd still have quite a bit of movement in my foot after the fusion and its working out just fine.

    I've been luckier than Claire, who has had quite a bit of trouble with her ankle, and I'm pain free and just waiting to get the go ahead to fully weight bear in about a month from now.

    As far as mobility is concerned,after the op you should be able to pretty much anything you can do now (except running) but it will take quite a while to get there.  My sport is powerlifting and my surgeon says I should be ok to start lifting again after 6 months.

    Have a search on you tube for ankle fusion recovery - there's quite a few videos of people walking at different stages post op.

    Go for it, and good luck.

    Andy

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  • Posted

    Hi, I was in a similar situation before my 1st fusion. That was 9 years ago. After 12 month, I was almost back to how I was before the pain got too bad. I was pretty active. But, I was 51. Have you been offered an ankle replacement? That was discussed, but was not really an option back then, as they only had a 5-10 year life back then. They have improved since. Perhaps that would be a better option for you. Quicker recovery time, and no loss of range of motion.
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  • Posted

    I had my regular x ray guided steroid injection today. It felt wonderful with the cold squirting into my ankle smile

    Alas I'm still hurting (as usual) and my big toe is so painful that whenever I stand it turns blue just like a bruise.

    Am I doomed???  NOT AN ADVERT... >>>>>   By the way this is what I do www.onesmallcandle.co.uk 

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  • Posted

    I was lucky, went brilliantly, no pain at all, swift recovery and walking fine now after 4 months. I think the secret is to really work the foot as soon as you are confident its fused, its the suppleness and strength of the foot that aids walking normally. I am pain free and honestly don't notice the ankle is fused. Good luck, ps I lived on kefir, whitebait and liver after the op plus lots of greens and vitamin d when I was not able to get out.

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  • Posted

    I’m a 33 year old I’ve been plagued by ankle problems from early teens I had a triple fusion done on 22nd may 2017 I’m now currently back in full time employment it’s the best decision I ever made to be honest currently have pain but is managed by painkillers but nothing compared to pre op the recovery of is kind of slow just need a decent surgeon I was told it would be a 2 hour operation but due to a deformed foot it ended up being 6 and a half hours my advice  Is  go for it , what do you have to lose ? 
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  • Posted

    February and I'm still in agony. Both ankles which spread the pain to my calves when walking. Saw an emergency GP last week and she put me on Naproxen and took me off Co-codamol as it makes me a bit high.  

    I see my regular GP next week and he's a super guy - I'm not going the shoe inserts and ankle stabiliser route as I've done that for years and it is more painful.

    Am seriously going to consider ankle fusion. I have had 3 operations on one foot and a torn meniscus which hurts. I really am concerned about the limp that could happen though!

    David

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  • Posted

    Hi dave,

    please don't worry about a limp.  I'm just about 6 months post op and am pain free for the first time in years.  I do have a very slight limp but orthotics help minimise that a lot.  I can walk any distance now and am finishing my rehab/prehab before restarting my powerlifting next month.  I can squat and deadlift without pain as my foot has stabilised now.  My lower back, which used to spasm, is fine now because my pre-op gait was all wrong due to osteoarhritis.

    Hav a look in youtube - there's a few videos posted of walking after a fusion.

    Honestly, don't worry about it.

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  • Posted

    Hi, I had a fusion 10 years ago, due to osteoarthritis. My post op pain was less than pre op.  I was able to walk, hike, etc, do almost everything except run. Some limp, but get some physio after and shoe inserts to minimalize this.
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  • Posted

    I did it! June 18th at Peninsula Care UK Centre here in Plymouth. All went well and I loved the anaesthetic which was Fentanyl which sent me into gibberish mode and then nothing.  I am past the first stage and out of the back slab and into a fixed cast.  

    I'm only just beginning to feel pain and nerves tingling but am getting some nausea feelings. 

    My surgeon is really happy with his work and we took some photos. 

    I am so knackered now and just want to sleep. I'm on paracetamol, ibuprofen and codeine  or a mix of. 

    I am so grateful that this mini heatwave has gone

    That's it for now

    David

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