Post-op ankle fusion...What's next?

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How are the post-op ankle fusion lot doing? Was wondering what's next?

Got my 6wk check up with my consultant at Wrightington Hospital on Thursday and I know the cast is coming off but after that I'm not sure?

I'm hoping that another cast doesn't go on as I have young children, an active dog and well it's driving me crackers!

Do you think I might go into a walking boot/be partial weight baring/another dreaded cast/Physio?

The comical thing is I'm a sister on a trauma unit but I'm clueless when it comes to my own health. Plus we don't tend to deal with ankle fusions at work as our consultants tend to manage to fix joints and bones not fuse them.

Any advice or insight into how you got on post-op fusion would be so helpful.

Cheers. Claire.

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23 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Claire, hope it all goes well for you. At 6 weeks I was put in a weight bearing cast and that was on for another 6 weeks and I had a velcro shoe to put on for weight bearing. Then I went into an aircast boot 12 weeks post op. At which point I thought I'd be walking normally in no time, but alas no!  It was good to be out of plaster, (although my leg looked like an alien creature by that point!), and was good to get out and about a bit more in the boot, but I've had a lot of foot pain as the muscles and tendons readjust.  I did 2 weeks in the boot full time, then boot outdoors and no boot indoors for about another 5 weeks or so.  Now at 4 and a half months post op I'm walking about both inside and outside with no boot and only one crutch for support! It's very slow and still painful on the foot, but I suppose it's progress nonetheless.  It's all taking much longer than I thought but they say it's very individual so maybe you won't have it so bad -  just be prepared that it might take a while! The other thing is you get very lopsided and achy in the back/hip after being on crutches/in the boot for so long so I've been seeing an osteopath recently to try to get evened out.  I'm really hoping that by 6 months I can ditch the crutch and walk without support as we've got a holiday planned and it's not going to be much fun on the beach with a crutch!  Oh and the other thing is shoes - it's really hard to get shoes to fit as my whole foot, ankle and leg are still swollen. i've been buying open shoes with some arch support and half a size or a size bigger than my normal shoe size, but even then it's tricky especially in the hot weather.  Anyway, good luck with your next stage, hope it goes well. 


    • Posted

      Thank you so much Tessa for the info.

      Gosh 12wks in a cast sounds a heck of a long time, i truly hope that my consultant puts me in a boot on Thursday!

      I can already tell that what muscle I had in my calf and thigh has pretty much gone as well as the other leg. Going to end up with sparrow legs pretty soon ??

      My consultant did warn me and from the reading I have done that it's going to taken 12-18mths for it all to settle down.

      Hopefully the swelling doesn't hit me very much, I managed to get a decently priced cyrocuff from eBay so that should help if the swelling hits.

      I get what you mean about the sand and crutches, our august beach holiday with the children should an interesting one!

      I'm not back in work till Feb/march so I've got a bit of time to perfect my walking without a limp. Anyway let me know how you get on.

    • Posted

      Hello Tessa

      I felt so much better after reading your article this afternoon. I had an ankle fusion in June going into plaster and a boot. By the time I had my operation I could hardly walk. I had my boot taken off two weeks ago and I think I was expecting too much. My foot is still very swollen with pain around the back of my foot I think this is because of the swelling on the top and the side of my foot. Like you I can hardly get into any shoes only very soft trainers. it does not help when people say how swollen it looks. I have also had pain under the arch of my foot. When I sit for a while I feel that it all stiffens up. Things can only get better. I wonder how you are doing now.


    • Posted

      Hi Marcia,  I think you're probably at the most frustrating stage!  I remember feeling the same as you back then. I'm now nearly 8 months post op and things are much better - I'm walking without my crutch and am picking up speed and getting slowly fitter, although I have to say thar progress at every stage  has been slower than i was expecting.  Even now I've still got some pain rolling through the foot and at the back of the ankle although it's not nearly as bad as it was.  I've been told the fusion all looks solid, its just the tendons and muscles still stretching out.  So although things are still not perfect, when I look back a few months I can see that there has been a lot of progress.  The swelling does go down gradually too. You just have to be very patient and try to take cheer from every little step you make towards full recovery.   I'm hoping it'll all be worth it after 12 months! 

    • Posted

      Had my ankle fusion may 17th and I to have pain and swelling around the back on my ankle.

      In a not very nice way it good to know that someone else has the same thing. I've worried about this pain so that much I've got myself really down and I'm not sleeping.

      Thank you so so much for sharing! Claire. Xx

    • Posted


      Good to hear from you and sorry about your pain. Like you I have got very down so I decided to call the consultant. he called me back one evening last week and said this was very common. When people come out of their boot all feels good and they over do things then the tendons and muscles start to react hence the pain. Again he told me it was a very long process up to 12 months but each day there would be a slight improvement. I go away tomorrow for a week so hoping to just rest. I am also going to physio in a couple of weeks as some of my scars are going in and they need to be massaged out. I do use bio oil each day as I have quite a few scars on my ankle from other operations.

      Take care.

      Marcia xx

  • Posted


    Iam now 23 weeks post ankle fusion, I was NWB for 6 weeks then WB however I was in a lot of pain xray taken told NWB for another 3 weeks then had the screws removed more NWB for 2 weeks then WB in moonboot. I wore the moonboot for approximately 17 weeks all up. 

    I am still learning to walk again and have physio twice a week also go to the Chiropractor as after walking in the moonboot for so long, my back and hips are out. So now I am lopsided. It is a long process, lots of people on here are in pain, I don't find that I have much pain, tingles and strange feelings which are common as the nerves and muscles get back to usual. 

    The nicest thing is that I can now go out and walk around for a while, won't be doing any marathons any time soon. 

    It helps to have a positive attitude and to not things let you down. Stay positive it is a long road to recovery my surgeon said 12 months. 

    Hope this information helps.


  • Posted

    Hi Claire. I think alot depends on what joint/s were fused. I had a tibia/talus fusion 9 years ago. Recovery following any fusion is slow. I was in cast for 8 wks, then boot. NWB 10wks then gradually to full wb in boot. All up 12-14wks? before boot off. When looking at shoes post surgery, get those with a rocker bottom sole. They are much cheaper now and more readily available now than when I had my 1st fusion. When things settle, get some inserts for your shoes. All up it was about 12 months before I felt I was 'recovered'. As Tessa said, it takes time. often 2 steps forward, one back.! Sometimes it is better not to try to rush things. 

    In the years since I also had issues with body alignment as my leg was now shorter. Back pain and hip pain/ bursitis, is not uncommon.

    But, I was able to return to being very active, bush walking, bike riding, boating, working,  things I could not do without being in a lot of pain in the years before the fusion.

    Having a fusion also puts a strain on the other joints in the foot. Good footwear is so important to protect the other joints.

     I am now 8 weeks post sub-talar fusion. Plaster for 6 weeks. partial weightbearing now for one week. Not so stressed this time as been there before. (Also now fully retired. I was also a nurse)

    Good luck with things.


  • Posted

    I also advise a rocker shoes, it has made all the difference to me walking, also compression socks help with the swelling. If you have back or hip problems see the Chiropractor. 
    • Posted

      Thank you so much for the advice, I'm actually just about to have my cast excited...daft isn't it! I've managed to get a cyrocuff to hopefully help with the swelling but I also have the compression stockings that the hospital gave me too. Fingers crossed that I get a boot or no cast! 🤞

  • Posted

    Hi again, It's now 5 months. Still needing crutches most of the time. The most frustrating thing is that after walking for a while I don't need them, so leave them where I was, then go about without. Then I sit somewhere else, and after time when I stand up I can't walk without them, and they are somewhere else. Arghh! Still having emotional roller-coaster, Some days it feels worse than ever, and I wonder why on earth I did this, then the next day feels better than ever. Just wish it would stay that way. But I can see slow improvement. Foot is still really swollen though. Start rehab program in a week, so should see more improvement. Dr did say this time would be longer than 1st time.

    • Posted


       Lovely to hear from you. 

      It's this op is a blumming rollercoaster isn't it, emotionally wise one day is ok the next feeling very isolated and fed up/down. 

      I too feel like you and wonder why on earth i have had the op at the moment...hopefully we will get there! 

      On the plus side I'm now 4mths down the road and walking with out crutches (but still keep them in the house and the car!) and trying hard to focus on not limping...I'm really slow but I don't care! 

      I'm walking my dog around the little park we will live on twice a day which is probably a total of 2miles a day. Like I said I'm slow and it's painful and achey but I push through. 

      I'm trying to up my walking each week but, if I need to rest and back track then I will. It's almost like two steps forward and one step back! 

      I'm having hydrotherapy twice a week at the moment and doing lots of balancing exercises at home. Love doing the hydrotherapy as I used to swim competitively so I'm at home in the water! 

      You must let my know how your rehab goes and what kind of exercise you are doing. 

      Claire. Xx


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