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Living with an ankle fusion and subtalar fusion--Any advice?

By March 30, 2010 - 9:51pm
 
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In January of 2009, I fell from a ladder and suffered a catastrophic open-bone fracture of my talus. Not only was the talus shattered, but I immediately developed a serious infection and subsequent deep wound. 9 surgeries, 8 months of IV antibiotics, 9 months on a VAC device, and 15 months of walking in a boot, later . . . I am now looking at life following a complete ankle and subtalar fusion (no part of my ankle moves--except my toes). I am overjoyed that my fusion surgery was successful and am looking forward to learning how to walk again! I was just given the go-ahead from my doctor to begin using MBT shoes and to start physical therapy. I am just wondering if others have walked this road before and have any advice or insight. Thanks so much. Anneh8sldrs (Anne hates ladders)

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I have a deformed left foot from a lawnmower accident as a child. I had about 9 surgeries including a heel reconstruction. My ankle causes an enormous amout of pain and I take pain meds but I hate them. I have floroscopy pain jections and I love them because I dont need meds. I really dont want to contine them every few months if Izgz can have a permanent fix. My dr has suggested fusion surgery. I walk with a slight limp now. Im scared if I have the surgery I will have a severe limp. Does the sugery cause a lifetime of limping?

February 14, 2017 - 10:04pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Fusion will limit the motion of your ankle. There are three main ankle joints. You should ask your surgeon several questions...
Will you have one or more joints fused now?
If not a full fusion (triple arthrodesis) now, will you need to return in future year(s) for additional fusions?
Will you need any of the bones in your foot fused or reconfigured (called an osteotomy) because of the ankle fusions?
Ask your Dr/surgeon how these fusions will effect your activity level? Pain after vs pain now? What is the recovery time? How likely are you to need revisions or repairs?

The ankle fusions will leave you with an ankle that will not flex. The more joints of your ankle that are fused, the more immobile. Triple Arthrodesis would completely fuse your ankle. If you are active, or hope to ever be, an ankle fusion will significantly effect how active you can be.

I faced multiple limb salvage procedures, first a double osteotomy and tendon transfer, and following that by a year or more (depending on how quickly I recovered) a second procedure for ankle fusion - likely a triple arth. Each of these two salvage ops carried a year, maybe more of recovery (back to full weight bearing). Each would leave me with more scar tissue and likely more pain. And they left me with no hope of getting back any of my once active lifestyle. Since my foot/ankle were the only thing holding me back, I chose amputation, Ertl Procedure. With this and a prosthetic, I'll get hiking, biking, and maybe a little running, tennis, and racquetball.

February 15, 2017 - 3:46pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I elected to get an ankle implant. This is a wonderful alternative. The recovery was 6 weeks and my ankle is fully functional. I am so happy that I insisted on this alternative although some podiatrists don't seem to know about this alternative.

December 2, 2016 - 3:58pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am 40 y/o disabled veteran in 1998 I suffered a R open ankle dislocation and nerve damage I have had two surgeries on ankle and I have tried syn visc injection to no avail, scheduled for fusion December 15 2016 looking forward to it as i have limited range of motion and nerve and bone pain been almost 20 years walk with a limp and soldiering it out with no meds sometimes I wish i could cut it off but my surgeon has lots of experience in fusion not sure about nerve pain but i have been bone on bone and fragments floating in ankle last option for me will keep you all updated.

November 29, 2016 - 6:48pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am a 37y/o disabled veteran myself. I had my ankle fused on September 27th of 2016. This was the 6th surgery I have had on my ankle. I am now over 3 months out and am still having severe pain. My incisions have healed perfectly and the x-rays look good, but there is still a lot of swelling and my ankle is much warmer than the rest of my leg. My doctor believes something is wrong and has ordered an MRI. It will be two weeks before I see him again. I'm pretty freaked out to say the least. Not looking forward to another possible surgery.
I also have nerve damage from a previous surgery which has left my skin extremely sensitive as well as leg pain from mid thigh down. Dr put me on lyrica now and it really isn't helping. I've had lower lumbar injections called a sympathetic nerve block. They work sometimes and don't others. An implant may be required at some point. Hoping you have much better results than I'm having. Wishing you the best and thanks for your service!

January 8, 2017 - 1:42pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi friend I'm 10 weeks post op I had a ttc open ankle fusion and a bone graft.had no choice could not walk att all . So it has to be said my only option. U really need to get ur home ready because ur are in for a very hard ride first week or so wasent to bad lots of pain killers etc . And once u get a full cast on u feel better in ur mind at 7 weeks I had my cast of and have bin in a air walker boot on for the last 3 weeks I'm up and about at back at work part time. I'm pretty much pain free . I've to go back end of jan to get the all clear . Plz take it very easy defo a big job but u will get there just try to look how much u improve each week. Hope all goes well and keep smiling .

December 7, 2016 - 1:37am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I had a very traumatic accident while at work in 2015, I supervised a landscaping crew a was ran over by a lawnmower. It shattered my right ankle and broke my foot completly off my tibia, I had to have a internal fixation and recieved an external fixation just to try and put things back in place. Things didnt get well as the doctors thought so they then suggested ankle fusion, after much thought and prayer ankle surgery was an option to help the recovery better. After months after having the surgery im still unable to bear any weight, still in pain and the doctor still has no real answers to when will I ever walk again. Im two months away from it being almost a year since my last surgery, there was talk about possibly having a bone grafting procedure but I said no because none of the past proposed solutions have worked so I'm uneasy to rushing to have something else done. Is there anyone with any advice as to what I should do next, anything will help?

November 26, 2016 - 9:14pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Anonymous
To your traumatic accident while at work in 2015.
My story, degeneration right ankle over period of 25+ years of pain. Finally underwent ankle fusion Nov 2014, moon boot, plasters, Exogen pulsed ultrasound six months daily, nothing working, finally revision surgery April 2016 with bone growth hormone, two titanium plates, 6 months later still in moon boot, pain after small walks. Nov following third party recommendation started daily consumption of circa 30,000 units (thirty thousand) international units of vitamin d3. Also consumed standard doses other vitamins, calcium, omega oils. Phenomenal improvement within six weeks, yesterday stood on moon boot for two hours watching my son play rugby match. No pain. I can't believe what it feels like to be without pain. PS my surgeon specifically said there was no need for me to take food supplements. I believe in prayer and that prayer led me to articles on vitamin d3. I suppose it's kinda saved my life, I was going mad. Suggest you read up on d3 and get advice. God Bless..

November 28, 2016 - 10:46pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

There is a brace that enables me to have an active life again. Ankle fusion is about the only option for me, due to AVN of the talus (which is dead portions of the talus bone resulting from a fracture). The brace takes the weight off the ankle, and holds it and the foot in place. It is like an external prosthesis. I was done being active, only limping short distances with a boot. Now I am back to being active! I have only had the brace a few weeks and still have a long way to go to bring back my atrophied muscles, but I have already gone for a 5 mile hike up and down a steep mountain, ran and jogged short distances, and I can JUMP! Hopefully I can hold off getting a fusion, but even if I get one I can still use this brace to be active. The brace is called an ExoSym and you can look it up on the internet to find out more about it.
Good Luck with everything.
Sue

August 4, 2016 - 12:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Fusion was about my only option until I found a brace that lets me be active, without pain, despite AVN of the talus (which is dead parts of the talus bone due to a fracture). I was done doing anything but limping short distances with a boot on. Now I can hike, jog, run, jump. I have only had this brace for a few weeks, but I have already gone for a 5 mile hike up and down a steep mountain. I still have a long way to go as my muscles are atrophied on my injured side and I need to work to build them back before I can jog or run long distance. But I can run short distances! The brace is called ExoSym and it takes the weight off the foot and ankle. It is an external prosthesis. You can search ExoSym brace and look on the internet about it. So sorry about your ankle injury. Sue

August 4, 2016 - 11:32am
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