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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 had the ankle replacement (STAR) and I would recommend this before fusion. I had total movement of my ankle within a few weeks. Many podiatrists apparently do not keep up with the latest ankle surgeries. Others in fact do the replacement surgery. I would recommend looking into the replacement first. If you want your ankle immobilized you can always go that route later if the replacement does not work.

April 16, 2017 - 4:01am
(reply to Anonymous)

I fell and some how my foot over flexed and I ended up with torn tendons in my left foot. I went to a very bad orthopedic doctor and, even though my tendons were completely torn, she tried putting me in ortho boots which were very uncomfortable and my foot eventually got to a 90 degree angle (I should have sued her). I was referred to Seattle to a doc who only does ankles and feet. He first fused my ankle and eventually my foot and can only move my toes. I had $400 orthotics made which don't help that much but the man who made them referred me to Hoka shoes because they make rocker fitness shoes. He also told me that the doctor fused my foot and ankle so that I can't stand up straight without bending my knee so I have a terrible limp. Has anyone had this happen? If you decide on Hoka shoes, try Runner's Warehouse online because they have good prices.

April 26, 2017 - 9:51am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Question. How does ankle fusion affect driving, not just during recovery but long term?

April 14, 2017 - 1:24pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

It hasn't affected my driving at all. If you are having left ankle fused and have an automatic car you can still drive.

April 15, 2017 - 12:04am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

In Apr of 2016, I fell 15' off of a ladder. I immediately had an external fixator put on the inside bone of left leg, with I think 5 screws on the outside bone trying to hold it together as well. After 4 mths I was put in a cast for 4 more mths. All this time being no weight bearing. My leg had began to curve from having absolutely no bone growth. In Dec 16 I had the big ankle fusion. Earlier this month I had to have toes 1-4 fused because of tendons pretty much locked up. I am just now beginning to put a little weight on it and has been almost a year. Does anyone have any experience like this or any advice on this subject. I was active and built houses, played sports and just was able to live. Are any of these things going to be possible again. I can't move anything except my toes and now they stay straight anyway. Thank you for any response or comments

March 28, 2017 - 2:20pm
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 (reply to Anonymous)

Did you get the talus replacement surgery or an ankle replacement surgery? As far as I know there is only one dr in the county who does the talus replacement. I am not a candidate for an ankle replacement but probably would be for the talus replacement. It is experimental at this point. If you had this procedure I would love to hear more about it. Either way I am glad for your successful surgery. Who would have known how devistateing an ankle injury can be.

April 15, 2017 - 3:21pm
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
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