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  • ankle fusion

    I am 34 years old and I broke my ankle two years ago. Once out of plaster, the ankle never got better - always in pain. I had an
    Arthroscopy in September which revealed I had also broken the corner off my talus bone - this had come free into my ankle joint and wore away a large section of my cartilage (and a hole in my shin bone!). My surgeon says I am facing a fusion in 1-2 years time. I am in constant pain and although try various methods of pain relief - find it very hard to be pain free. I am obviously very scared about the prospect of a fusion - feels like a very negative 'step' to take. Although the prospect of being pain free does appeal. Does anyone know if a fusion can be replaced later on in life with an ankle replacement? Should I wait as long as possible to see if there any any advancements in cartilage replacement technology? Most of the stories on the site about a fusion seem very positive - but I am still worried about the long-term affects of a fusion on the rest of my foot and also the limitations a fusion might place on my movement (swimming especially). Help!!!

  • #2
    Hi Amandah,

    I had fusion surgery 7 weeks ago, but am still not walking on it, so I don't have lots of information yet. It took me a year and a half to make the decision, hoping to be rid of the pain. My doctor told me my fusion can be converted to a replacement later, but some say that's not possible. There's a lot of guessing in this.

    I have started a Yahoo Group on this subject, with 50 people (from Europe and North America) discussing all these issues. Go to http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/anklefusion to join.

    Sharon

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    • #3
      Thanks Sharon

      Thanks so much Sharon, I have just joined your yahoo group. I saw my surgeon yesterday and we are going to try various things to buy me time before I have to have the fusion - another athroscopy and seeing a pain management specialist this week. How did you make the final decision to have the fusion? I am in constant pain (that no pain kilers seem to help) that gets worse with activity and I can really only do one day on my feet before I have to take a break because the pain is so bad. I am trying to delay the inevitable fusion as I am only 34. I would be very interested in how you came to your decision. Amanda

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      • #4
        Replacement

        Amandah,

        Have you discussed ankle replacement? I'm not sure if they are performing these on people as young as yourself but my Dad held off on a fusion for years and years eventually getting a replacement which has maintained his range of motion and completely cured his pain. Not sure where you are but in Melbourne Mark Blackney or Tim Schneider are both orthopeadic surgeons specialising in foot and ankle. Mark did Dad's op but both these guys are 1st class performers. Hope that helps

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        • #5
          hi

          i just joined the group listed in here waiting for an answer anyway. im 41, had a talus bonegraft job in 2003, a knee to talus cartliage transplant done in june 2005. im still in pain. saw dr. enyi okereke at the university of pennsylvania. i was denied a replacement because of age, and lack of range of motion. ( dorsiflexion).? i dont ubderstand the 2nd reason, but i was asked to either have fusion. or a procedure where the ankle is seperated and held open by pins for a few months. it would also be totally resurfaced. he didnt say anything about it being reversable, but a girl from jersey told me of a surgeon that does a fusion so the intent is to prep for a replacement down the road. he is in pittsburgh, pa. http://www.allaboutarthritis.com/All...on_surgery.htm has anyone out there had this done??? i dont want a fusion, and the other option sounds very painful, again.. well i hope to see you in that other forum soon. i need some help .. thanks, jeff

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          • #6
            ankle fusion

            I am Thinking of having amke fusion done can anybody tell me the final result hows the walking etc thank you Kevin

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            • #7
              I had a ankle fusion 10 weeks ago and I am in a fiberglass cast with a walking boot. It is feeling real good except when I try putting all my weight on it. At first it felt likr my heel was standing on a rool of quarters with two spikes in my heel. That was two weeks ago now it hurts on the back of my heel and achilles tendon. I see my Doctor in a couple of days and he said he wanted me off my crutches by then but I do not think so. Is there anyone one else with this heel pain.

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              • #8
                Ankle Pain

                About a year and a half ago, I had ankle fusion surgery. I had broken the ankle several months earlier and it was very painful. The surgery went well and the ankle fused. Now the pain is severe in the ankle. I take pain medication and can only walk a short distance. My doctor gave me a prescription for steriods, but they only helped about 10% I have severe arthritis in the ankle and foot. Any suggestions what might help?

                Comment


                • #9
                  It worked well for me.

                  I had my ankle fused about ten years ago when I was 30. Prior to that I wasn't able to walk more than a block before the severe arthritis kicked in, as I'd smashed my ankle four years earlier in a rock climbing accident. I lived on ibuprofen and in constant pain, often walking with a cane. In the surgery, the surgeon fused my talus, fibula, and calcanius together. At my request, he tried to get the ankle fused in a position of 5 degrees of dorsiflection, though it actually ended up more like 2 degrees when all was said and done. I requested the dorsiflection so that I could continue to ski.

                  Ten years later, I can ski (almost as well as I could before, both telemark and alpine), bicycle unaffected, hike, and even "run" (though though it never seems to get much faster than a brisk walk) using Zcoil shoes. Three weeks ago I was able to do an 18 mile hike. I have basically no pain in that foot. Once in a while it gets a little swollen (though not really painful), especially if its hot or I am dehydrated. I will say that I am perhaps not quite as agile as I was prior to the accident, and I 'm not really able to jump or play sports such as basketball. All and all, I'm not sorry I had the surgery, the pain was aweful. My fusion was a partial fusion, as the talus still articulates at the joint with the bone towards the fore-foot, and my fore-foot developed lots of compensatory motion. Most people don't notice my barely discernable limp, though it gets more severe when I'm tired.

                  Clearly not everyone has such positive results from ankle fusion, but in my case it worked out well. I had been afraid to have the surgery done because of the permanent effect is would have on my physiology, though in retrospect I feel it was somewhat silly to spend three years in cronic pain rather than having the procedure.

                  I hope someone finds this information helpful.

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                  • #10
                    Ankle Fusion

                    I had an ankle fusion in October 2004. I now have severe arthritis in the ankle and can only walk a short distance. I take Cellebrex and pain meds every day for the pain. The orthopedic surgeon said there is nothing else that can be done. Any advice would be appreciated.

                    Hillbilly

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                    • #11
                      thmbs down

                      Originally posted by Hillbilly
                      I had an ankle fusion in October 2004. I now have severe arthritis in the ankle and can only walk a short distance. I take Cellebrex and pain meds every day for the pain. The orthopedic surgeon said there is nothing else that can be done. Any advice would be appreciated.

                      Hillbilly
                      so hillbill you wauld not recomend a fusion?

                      Yakuza

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                      • #12
                        Yak
                        I can't recommend having an ankle fusion. You could have one and completely be pain-free or be in a lot of pain like me. You should check out all the information you can find and make a decision that is right for you.

                        Hillbilly

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by desperado
                          I am Thinking of having amke fusion done can anybody tell me the final result hows the walking etc thank you Kevin
                          Desperado
                          I had an ankle fusion in October 2004. Since the fusion I have had constant pain and walk with a bad limp. The doctor said there is nothing more that can be done. I don't mean to sound so negative about the fusion. Many people have had an ankle fusion and are almost pain-free once the fusion heals.
                          Sincerely
                          Hillbilly

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                          • #14
                            I have the same choice

                            Hello Amandah

                            I am only 18 years old, and sudying to be a nurse. I was told that I only have 2 choices left for my ankle and that was to have it amputated or fused, I have been very emotional about this as I don't know what to do, also the fact that my surgeon doesnt really want to perform either of them. I have broken it only 2 years ago and already had 3 operations on it, I am not sleeping much any more and there was always constant pain like what you are feeling. I have completly worn away all of my cartilage in my joint and now just have bone rubbing on bone. Recently I travelled to Perth again and had a meeting with about 5 specialists about what to do with my ankle. After a discussion with them they had suggested that a fusion is going to be the best option, they then said to me that it depends on how much longer I can put up with the pain as to how long it is till I have the operation to have it fused. This week I am going to Perth again as my specialist suggested that I get it put in plaster for a week to see how it feels to have it fused. There are issues that I am worried with regarding the fusion and that is whether it is going to work or if infection is going to occur etc...but if you ask me I think that although you are worried about the fusion, the same thing about me with you is that it depends on how much longer you can live with the pain for before you just have to do something about it. Also after to speaking to different people and researching fusion it seems that we should be able to do a lot of what we already can do. Goodluck with your choices and it would be good to hear back from you!

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                            • #15
                              Have you considered a replacement or amputation. I know that these may seem daunting but what about if they were to give you movement back and allow you to be pain free??

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