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subtalar fusion vs amputation?

By July 9, 2012 - 1:20pm
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i am an almost 43 yo mother of 3 small children under 5. i was a ballet dancer and have had chronic ankle problems(ligament related) since i was 9 along with 2 unsuccessful ankle reconstructions. I am in constant pain and am now walking with a limp almost all the time. i am very active and the only thing that keeps me going is yoga. my surgeon says my only option is a fusion but i feel that i will be even more limited in my function. i read an article in the ny times science section that discussed people who were very active like me and decided to undergo an elective amputation so they would have even better function and no pain. It is something I have often thought about but the article made me think even more seriously about it. the prosthetics now are so advanced and I would be able to run and walk long distances. I would like to know if there is anyone else out there who has done this or had either surgery.

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Hello yogimom,

Yours is a difficult situation. I have no personal experience to share with you. I hope that other visitors or members of this site will have
encouraging personal experiences to share with you.

I found this information on the website, footEducation, that you might find helpful.

The main indication for a subtalar fusion is for patients with arthritis in the subtalar joint. Arthritis in that joint is most commonly followed by a heel fracture. Another indication for a subtalar arthodesis is for patients who need the change the position of the hindfoot in order to distribute load more evenly.

Patients undergoing this type of surgery will typically need about 6 weeks for the bone to heal. During this period, the patient is either in a cast or a cast boot and is non-weight bearing or touch weight-bearing. After the 6 week period and once the bones have healed, with confirmation of an x-ray, the patient can begin weight-bearing in a cast boot as tolerated for the next 4-6 weeks and begin physical therapy. Physical therapy exercises include motion of other joints in the foot, strengthening, gait, and proprioception. After the 10-14 week mark, the patient can transition into a shoe. During the first 5-6 months, patients generally get about 75-80% of recovery; however, it will take about 15-18 months for maximal improvement.


July 9, 2012 - 4:33pm
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