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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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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.

August 4, 2016 - 12:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

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
EmpowHER Guest

I had my fusion in 2009, was not allowed to put weight on it for 4mos, the first month I started to walk the ankle swelled up, no pain. Second month I was good to go. I walk an hour everyday, work out with weights, swim and do the elliptical for 30min a day. Elliptical is better than the treadmill for the ankle fused people.I had to eliminated tennis and running. I also got a handicap tag, you can download the form and bring it to your doc to sign, is comes in handy, so you can access buildings easier through the ramp at the handicap spot, no curbs,and I bring it with me when someone else drives so I can have easy access. Curbs and steps are my nemesis and I avoid them. I can still golf but I must go up the steep T boxes or terrain backwards.
Persevere and hang in, it will get better and let people know that you can't do steps or curbs. I always ask if there are elevators at venue/office. I did not walk in the boot as it hurt, so I took it off and put on a shoe, didn't tie it up and used crutches until I could walk,if the walker boot is not put on correctly you will have pain and not be able to walk, that happened to me, so I chucked the boot and crutched it for a while. Be your own advocate, let the doc know. Remember the doc is a carpenter,putting screws and plates in your joint.

July 20, 2016 - 7:37am

Hi I'm 19 year old female and would like some advice back in 2006/2007 not sure when I fractured my right ankle in three places, had a cast on for 4 week and was all fine.

I then proceeded to have physiotherapy to help strengthen my ankle where she proceeded to make a comment that I was walking with my ankle out to the side so she stuck tape on it to keep it straight and then referred me to somebody else.

I had it manipulated because of the way it was positioned and lack of movement to try and make it more flexible, I then around 2008 was still having issues where they done a scan and put me in a boot for 6-8 weeks and then told me after that time that I was just a bad sprain and have me a splint to use that was useless.

But since the it is constantly got the same swelling every day, I have movement but is limited and can only be moved when pushed by someone else, pins and needles.

I have quite bad pain and aches most likely every week and it shoots pains up my leg, really bad balance where I constantly fall or go unbalanced at the simple thing of putting a sock on or Shoe and walking in a straight line I'm sick of saying I'm sorry because I accidentally bumped into Someone because of my balance.

It then makes me limp and it still angles out to the side and that's the way I walk and always have since I suffered this injury which was almost 11 or 10 years ago.

I am going to make an appointment at the doctors this week, but scared as because of my age they just always pass you off and say it's fine it will go, I can already rule out arthritis because I had that tested because my toes and fingers are crooked, I want it seen too, as I would like something done or seen too as I want to be a paramedic and am scared of this stopping me because of pain of being on feet for an amount of time, as you can't be unreliable in that job, I only have one more year left at college and then university for two years.

Has anyone suffered from anything similar or has any suggestions as I loved playing football and still do but it always buckles, swells and causes pain so I can't play and I would love to become more active.

July 10, 2016 - 7:09pm

I have just had my 3rd fusion, originally i had just my subtalar fused as i shattered my heel in 1995. After a year the pain was worse and subtalar was not fusing and my anklle had now become very damaged and also my cartilage was shot . My second fusion was to redo the subtalar and also the ankle using some fibul bone from my leg, another year went past and all joint were non union andpain was still bad. I have just had my 3rd fusion (22,6,2016) which is subtalar and ankle but this time i have a plate down the side of my leg which is ment to be more solid and have had some bone taken from my pelvis. Had my clips and stitches out yesterday and and a nice new plaster from the knee down, i am not very excited as i am expecting the same results as the last 2 ops but you never know this one might work :). I live in Hastings and my kids love going to the beech and are always puzzled as why i cant go in the beech, things like this do get you down as stairs and any uneven surface are a nightmare but i just hope the pain goes as it is just getting me down.

July 5, 2016 - 4:30am
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