Subtalar Fusion ( Arthrodesis)

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I'm looking for individuals who have gone through a subtalar joint Fusion . It's a relatively new process as generally all three joints in the ankle are fused at the same time. Mine only needs to be fused in the subtalar . I'm curious to know how your life improved after the surgery. Did you have a lot of pain? Can you walk on uneven ground still (the subtalar joint main job is to move the foot on uneven ground)? How are your knees? How you developed arthritis in any other part of your foot due to the lack of movement in the subtalar? Can you run normally?

my background

I am a 33 year old athletic female . I run practice CrossFit, and practice Shaolin Kempo Karate. I have been in pain in my left ankle for knocking on 20 years. it wasn't until I was 31 where it was discovered that I had a tarsal Coalition in my left foot. I went through tarsal Coalition surgery which ultimately failed as they bone grew back together. a recent MRI revealed that I have tendonosis and all the tendons in my left ankle and foot , plantar fasciitis , and degenerative arthritis . have so little cartilage left in the subtalar joint it's almost not even visible on the MRI . So basically bone on bone which is really fun ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I tried all the other conservative I tried all the other conservative methods; cortisone shots to the Joint, Orthotics, myofascial release, physical therapy, and my recent Adventure is PRP injections to the joint and tendons. Those do seem to help the most, but they're more of a Band-Aid because until the joint can move correctly all the tendons are going to be continuously stressed and the bone will keep hitting bone. Plus at $700 and injection every 3 to 6 weeks it's not really a long-term option

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  • Posted

    Hi Sara,

    Sorry to hear you having these issues. I, like you, had a tarsal coalition in both my left and right foot - which I removed at when I was in my twenties (2010 and 2012), as well as tarsal-tunnel releases. Those, like you, failed, despite months of physical therapy and injections. In 2014 had the subtalar fusion done on my left foot, then in 2016 had the subtala fusion done on my right foot.

    My left foot so far is holding strong - minimal stiffness and pain - but occasional discomfort, especially when needing to bend on the lateral (left and right) - so, uneven ground, like the beach and whatnot give me issues. Recovery takes every bit of 12 months before you fully regain strength and mobility - and you must be vigilant to follow the rest - no weight bearing for the first 6 - 8 weeks while in your cast.

    My right foot, as a result of the added stress added to the talonavicular joint, it failed, and am currently recovering from a talonavicular joint fusion.

    Would I recommend it? Yes. Just know that depending on the condition of joints around your subtalar joint, you may, in time down the road, need another one.

    Let me know if any questions.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for replying. I'm sorry to hear you've had such issues. its such a bummer when our bodies betray us. the beach sand is a concern for me as we live on the beach ๐Ÿ˜•. Are you able to run at all on flat even surfaces?

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    • Posted

      To be honest, it's difficult and painful to run, but, my right foot, had more issues than my left.

      I've had custom orthotics made - and will need new ones with this latest fusion, but, being on my feet all day, or heavy activity, causes some struggles. I about died when I went to Disney World and walked all day.

      I found for me, the best exercise, is cycling / stationary bike. The low impact really helps.

      Now, you may respond better, because you only have one foot to correct, where as, I knew going in to it, I had to have both feet corrected - so, it's been several years in the making.

      Hope that helps.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Its a hard decision to make especially considering I will.have to most likely give up my favorite activities. but such is life.

      best of luck on your journey

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    • Posted

      I think it depends on your overall Quality Of Life.

      For me, even with the limitations I have now, are better than what I experienced before.

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  • Posted

    Sara:

    I too am a martial artist. For the past 45 years I have been involved in judo and I am the owner of a local dojo. Unfortunately through my competitive Martial Arts experience, I have worn out both of my feet. I was recommended to have a subtalar and navicular fusion on my left ankle Before so doing I obtained a second, third, and fourth opinion. My surgery was in October 2017. Unfortunately, I have had a poor outcome including the development of poly neuropathy of my left lower leg, a broken screw and possible nonunion of one of the fusions. So, on the good side, my ankle no longer sprains on a monthly basis. On the bad side however, I live with daily pain and neuropathy which Iโ€™m currently treating with CBD oil (topically and sublingually). In so far as mobility, I must avoid soft surfaces and unstable surfaces still. I have not been able to return to the judo mat I realize that my outcome is not typical, however, I do want you to be aware that problems can and do happen with the surgery. I would be absolutely certain that you have no other options before undergoing the surgery.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the reply. It is so good to hear from another martial artist. My heart and mind love the arts, my body does not. It isna bummer to know that my dreams and goals are being downgraded by my stubborn body. Ive decided to run my leg to the ground, in the name of passion. I will be living and loving my dojo for the next few months until I can no longer bear the pain, at which point I will have the fusion. at least I can go put knowing that I gave it all, just in case I cannot return.

      I am sorry you've had such a bad experience. Look into PRP. I just had another series done on Monday. although I have zero cartilage left in the joint and my tendons are flaming p****d I am currently pain free. Its a constant thing, so short cuts but it does work.

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  • Posted

    Hi! I had subtalar fusion on my right ankle when I was 33. My history: I had had pain since I was 7 or 8, wore orthotics when I was young but continued to dance and be an active teenager. As an adult I got into hiking and backpacking, running a little. I was just living with the pain, stubborn and wanting to do everything. I even became a server, working on my feet. In my early 30s I decided it was getting too bad and went to an orthopedist. He diagnosed me with talocalcaneal coalition. It all made sense. I got the subtalar fusion as quickly as I could. I'm not going to lie, the surgery and recovery were brutal. I had to have the screws removed 6 months post surgery (and that wasn't even the bad part). But ultimately it was successful and I'm back to my life as a server, backpacking and hiking, working out 5 times a week. I had the surgery 6 and a half years ago. My mobility is really good, I do everything I used to, but with less pain. Within the last month my heel has starting having a lot of pain and I jumped back on here trying to find if anyone else who has had a similar response to the surgery is having similar long term results. I thought maybe my information would be helpful to you, even though our medical history is pretty different. You may even have had the surgery by now! If so, I hope your healing is going well! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

    Meg

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