Ankle fusion operation or ankle arthrodesis may be considered if ankle arthritis, severe and persistant ankle pain and limited mobility prevent you from participating in the activities you enjoy.
Ankle fusion operation or ankle arthrodesis is only usually recommended if conservative, non-surgical methods of pain relief or deformities in the ankle fail, and the aim of this procedure is to provide pain relief and regain stability of the ankle joint. In addition, people who have ankle instability due to trauma may also be considered.
There are many different procedures to choose from, but the traditional ankle fusion is generally used. This procedure is to remove the ankle joint and allow the tibia (shinbone) to fuse with the talus bone (the first large bone in the foot), by usually pinning, screwing or placing plates through the bones, until healing takes place. For more serious cases, fusing of other joints many be required. An example of this procedure is the tibiotalocalcaneal fusion, where the tibia, talus and calcaneal bones fuse together using sophisticated implant nails. The goal of any chosen ankle fusion is generally to relieve pain, stabilize certain joints and correct deformities.
During ankle fusion recovery, you will need to keep your ankle elevated in the first few days to prevent swelling, and will not be allowed to put weight onto the foot, as your bones will be fusing. You will usually require a cast and then followed by an ankle brace during your recovery.
What Is An Ankle Fusion Operation – Ankle Arthrodesis
When the ankle joints are fused, most people are able to walk without pain. However, they may experience ankle stiffness, limited joint mobility and this may lead to stress to adjacent joints. Although ankle fusion operation or ankle arthrodesis have been successful in treating many conditions, the ankle fusion recovery may be long (three to six months) and the degree of bone fusion may vary. Also, the procedure may limit the option of ankle joint replacement in the future and if ankle fusion recovery is not successful, more surgery may be required. Additional factors such as your age, weight and level of activity will all contribute to the performace of the new ankle joint and not everyone will be suitable for the procedure.