What Is Ankle Arthrodesis?
The goal of Ankle Arthrodesis is to fuse or glue together (arthrodesis) the ankle joint.
This type of surgery does affect the up and down movement of the ankle. You will however not lose all of the up and down movement, but about 75% of it. This depends of course on how much movement in the ankle you have already lost.
Frequently after ankle injury or arthritis, there is very little movement in the ankle, so that you will not notice the loss of the up and down movement of the foot. The side to side movement (inversion and eversion) of the back of the foot is not affected by an ankle arthrodesis. Hardware is inserted into the ankle joint to hold the joint together while the fusion occurs.
Ankle Fusion Recovery - General Facts
- You will not be walking on the leg for 6-8 weeks
- In order to stay off your foot, you will need to use crutches, a walker, a wheelchair or a scooter type device called a roll-about
- There will be a hard plaster bandage applied to the leg for two weeks after surgery
- Your first follow up visit will be at approximately 2 weeks to remove the stitches
- We will apply a boot at this time
- If the surgery is on your left ankle, you should be able to drive an automatic vehicle at two weeks. If the surgery is on the right foot, you may drive at about 6 weeks or sooner after discussion with your doctor
- You may begin to walk in the boot at about 6 weeks, depending upon your level of discomfort, and the instructions given to you
- There will be moderate swelling of the foot, ankle, and leg for about 6 months
- You will continue to improve your strength for about 12 months after the surgery
Specific Post Operative Recovery
- Foot wrapped in a bulky bandage and hard plaster splint
- Ice, elevate, take pain medication, and expect numbness in foot 12-24 hours
- First follow-up in the office, the dressing is changed
- Placed in a surgical boot and no weight bearing on the foot at all for 6-8 weeks
- X-rays taken
- Full weight-bearing is allowed in the boot for 6 weeks