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

By anneh8sldrs
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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

My husband has had his right subtalar joint and bone fusion 6 years ago. He amazed doctors in the military and thought he was 100 %. Now, he's complaining of right knee, hip and back pain which I'm sure is due to over compensation for lack of movement in his foot. He's only 28 now worried about its effects later in life. He was told by the doctors at 21 that he would probably have to use a cane for the rest of his

December 15, 2014 - 9:47pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am being told that I need an ankle fusion. I am a swimmer and scuba diver. I don't see how I will ever be able use fins again with the talus, tibia, fibula fusion. Has anyone ever had this done and been able to swim with that foot, using fins?

December 10, 2014 - 11:27am
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for the reply everyone :). A little problem now :( right next to the scar on the bottom of my foot is a slight raised bump and is really painful to touch never mind put weight through it. Has anyone experienced that? Thank you :)

November 24, 2014 - 5:57am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi everyone just looking for a bit of advice. I'm 7 weeks post subtalar fusion and is going great and both the incisions one on the outside of my foot and the other below my heel are both healing well and scabs are just about coming off now. I've virtually had no pain and been given a walking air boot/cast. The problem is I had my first x ray last week (post 6 weeks) and was told everything is healing great so I can start fully weight bearing as I please :). But I'm so nervous! I've had problems with my left ankle virtually all my life I'm only 24 and had an opp to remove the coalition 2.5 years ago which didn't work and left me in so much more pain. So the subtalar fusion was my only option really. So anyway how long did you guys stay on crutches for? As I don't know whether I'm pushing my self too hard or not hard enough as I'm really trying to walk without my crutches but I'm so nervous! Plus my leg looks about as thin as a pencil! So want to build it back up. Many thanks

November 21, 2014 - 8:23am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I had a sub-talar fusion performed April of 2013. I experienced the same issues you are talking about with the scabs, the loss of muscle mass in your leg and so forth. I was non-weight bearing for 10 weeks and then slowly progressed to full weight bearing in about 6-8 weeks following. Pain was tolerable during this time. I really had to watch out for the twisting motion. That would bring tears to my eyes. All in all I would say that procedure was a success.

I start experiencing pain in the joint again and two weeks ago underwent a full ankle arthrodesis. Bone spurs were growing in the joint to the point that it was causing pain. After discussion with my surgeon, we decided the best course of action was to do a full fusion.

So far so good. I am happy with where I am at to this point. More to come but all I can say is follow the doctor and keep your chin up.

December 5, 2014 - 10:19am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi, I am now 9 weeks post op, wounds completely healed & I am slowly coming out of the boot nut still using one crutch. My ankle swells easily but the physio excercises & massages work wonders. I'm a bit concerned about some red patches on my foot. My leg is very thin but I'm looking forward to doing more to build it up again.

November 22, 2014 - 12:04am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi, I'm 23 and I had an ankle fusion mid August. I was transferred into my aircast in September and was told everything was healing well and to partially weight bear. I, however decided as the weeks progressed that I felt comfortable fully weight bearing through my aircast. I had my cast off a week ago and my surgeon told me walking on it was the best thing I could have done for myself despite being originally told to partially weight bear. I think its down to preference and comfort. It took me about 3 weeks before I decided to weight bear through my aircast and I only did so around the house and inside. Take it slow and if it hurts grab the crutches.

November 21, 2014 - 9:09am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi There I am 24 and i am having ankle fusion on Wednesday and I am terrified about the surgery. Can you walk in heels? or did the surgeon tell you after recovery you can wear heels ?

December 8, 2014 - 1:17am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Sorry to say heels will not be an option as you ankle will no longer move only your foot. I kno i can not even wear a half inch heel. However, talk to your doc, my foot is not as flexible as it probably once was because it wasn't used for 4 years. But as far as actual heels/stilettos etc. Sorry, your ankle will not move from the 90° they fuse it at...

December 10, 2014 - 8:15am
EmpowHER Guest

I would like to add my little story: I was born with bilateral clubbed feet and in Aug of 2012 tore up a bunch of tendons and dislocated my navicular bone in my right foot during my 5th Triathlon. It was misdiagnosed as a stress fracture for 3 months. Then I changed doctors and ended up with surgery by January of 2013. Had three tendons repaired and a fusion. Was on a scooter for 3 months and then able to walk again. Rehabbed slowly and then got back to "slow" exercise (I was advised to never run again, so I obeyed!). October of 2013, I was just walking from one end of a room to another at work and felt something "give way" in my left foot this time. Went back to the doctor, and same thing!! I had my subtalar fusion and multiple tendon repair on that foot by November of 2013. Almost a year later and I can walk. My orthopedic surgeon was wonderful. It is true that on cold days you can definitely feel those screws but overall I have to say that I am happy with my results. My best piece of advice: just follow the doctors orders! When he says don't walk on it, DON'T DO IT! Let it heal. Another big one: avoid anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen and Aleve. These can inhibit the formation of new bone needed to solidify the fusion.

November 18, 2014 - 11:21am
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