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Is there an active life after ankle fusion?

By Anonymous December 7, 2012 - 2:49pm
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Ankle fusion about 8 months ago, am 71, but very active. Can I hike, dance, where shoes besides clunkyhigh top hikers, sandles? What about exercise? No physical therapy was done. I now wear a brace which helps me walk. Would be interested in any others who have had an ankle fusion.

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Hi! I have had my ankle fusion for about 4 years. I can dance, but not without my foot and ankle swelling up pretty bad and being in pain the next day. I cannot hike, as the uneven terrain is very difficulty on my limited range of motion in my ankle. I cannot wear heels/high shoes, as the ankle no longer has the motion to step down with the heel first and then glide through the rest of the motion. I can exercise, but very little. I can do the stationary bike, a tiny bit of the elliptical, but mostly strengthening for exercise and I heard water aerobics is great for ankle fusions. Physical activity is definitely more difficult after a fusion, but you just have to learn to adapt.

December 29, 2012 - 11:20am
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Anonymous (reply to Stephanie Perry-Brideau)

If u had to do it over would u have done it? Was the pain worse after or before? Did it change much after? I have to get my ankle fused and they say i will be in less pain then i am now but how much less pain not sure if its worth going through all this since i have a 2 year old son who is autistic so being off my feet is going to be nearly impossible.

September 15, 2015 - 2:23pm

Hello Anonymous,

Your orthopedic surgeon is your best resource person to answer your questions about footwear and your future level of activity.

As you know, an ankle fusion is a surgical procedure that is usually done when an ankle joint becomes worn out and painful, a condition called degenerative arthritis.

According to the website, orthogate.org, an ankle brace will replace the cast after eight to 12 weeks following surgery. Physical therapy is recommended to help the patient learn to walk smoothly and without a limp. Once the fusion has completely healed, a patient is fitted with several special shoe modifications to help make walking more normally.

Following a successful surgery and rehabilitation, you should be able to achieve a nearly natural walking gait without pain. I don't know about dancing, hiking or vigorous exercise.


December 7, 2012 - 6:03pm
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