Ankle replacement v Fusion

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My husband is 62 and has bad arthritis.  He has been advised to have either an ankle replacement or fusion. We would welcome anyones experiences or advice as we are finding it very difficult to decide which would be best.


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  • Posted

    Hi Jane

    I had my ankle replacement round about the same age. I deliberated for almost 5 years befoe having it done but was dead against a  fusion as I wanted the mobility promised by replacement.I expereinved some post operative issues whihc didn't help but geenrally speaking I was pleased with the operation and I cannot say that the actual ankle replacement has ever been an issue over the last two years.

    I have had quite a lot of swelling and attendant pain with the ankle which has taken a long while to subside. I belive that I should have been given physiotherapy to help get back on the ankle and to help improve mobility although my consultant says that it was not neccessary nor normal. Self exercises only work to a certain extent. That would certainly have helped with general mobility and decreasing the scar tissue and swelling around the joint which only went down when I took to wearing ankle boots as opposed to plain fashion shoes. This added support seemed to work wonders and helped reduce much of the swelling. I am due for a review next month and hope to discuss such issues as remaining swelling and occasional pain but on the whole I cannot complain too much about the overall result. This morning I walked some 3.5 kilometers in just over 30 minutes...around 5 miles per hour. Not bad going . You see I wanted to remain active and I found the ankle replacement caused far more problems for me in my back, hips and in the other leg due to the inactivity of recovery, placing all the weight and effort on the other limb and joints. With a proper, planned and integrtaed fitness (recovery) regime it would be possible to avoid such problems in my opinion and recover almost full mobility over the course of the year.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply.  We had almost decided on a replacement because, like you, Delme hopes to remain active as he always has been.  The post op recovery part of your reply was very interesting and obviously very important. Good luck with your review.
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  • Posted

    Hi there,

    I am a 60 year old male living in Maine, USA.  I was a very serious endurance athlete (marathons, ultramarathons, IronMan triathlons, mountaineering) for the past 45 years and developed end-stage arthritis after a motor scooter accident in 2008.  By 2011 it had become very difficult to walk and I completely avoided any unnecessary walking. My daily chores around my farm became challenging.  I faced the same decision as your husband, interviewed  4 surgeons familiar with both surgeries. Because of my very active lifestyle, two of them strongly recommended fusion, one was on the fence, and the 4th thought that I would be happy with TAR. In large part due to the much shorter recovery-to-walking-without-aid time the TAR, I went with that option on December 4, 2013.  I have been delighted with the results.  I have resumed virtually all my activities before except for running,which the doctors discourage. This is not because I don't feel that I can run (I do and have triedit and it feels fine) but they say it will wear the joint out faster. I believe that I have had an unusually positive experience with TAR based on the statistics that I have read, but for me, it has been nearly a miracle.

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