Triple Arthrodesis: What is it?
The goal of this type of surgery is to fuse or glue together (arthrodesis) 3
joints of the back of the foot (triple arthrodesis). It is a very useful
operation to correct various types of deformities of the foot as well as
certain types of arthritis of the back of the foot. This type of surgery does
not typically affect the up and down movement (dorsiflexion and
plantarflexion) of the foot and ankle.
The side-to-side movement (inversion and eversion) of the back of the foot is
affected, and will no longer be present. Usually however for most patients who
require triple arthrodesis, most of this side-to-side movement has already
been lost. The lack of this side-to-side movement will be noticeable when
walking on uneven ground surfaces. This does not, however, cause any pain, and
all types of exercise are permitted following a triple arthrodesis.
Screws/plates are inserted into the heel bone to hold the joint together while
the fusion occurs. Once the joint is fused the screws are not necessary, but
are rarely removed. Following the arthrodesis, a return to activity and
exercise is important which is made easier with physical therapy and regular
Triple Arthrodesis - Postoperative Recovery
Walking After Triple Arthrodesis
You will not be walking on the leg for about 6 weeks. This depends on how
quickly your bone starts to heal.
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
Your first follow-up visit will be at approximately 2 weeks
We will usually apply a removable boot for you to wear at this
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 between 3 and 4 weeks.
You may begin to walk with the boot at about 6 weeks, depending upon your
level of discomfort and the instructions were given to you.
Physical therapy is helpful to regain the strength and movement of the
- You should plan to use a physical therapist for about 1-2 months.
There will be moderate swelling of the foot, ankle, and leg for about 6
You will continue to improve your strength and movement for about 9 months
after the surgery.
You can expect to have some soreness and aching for about 4-6 months after
Triple Arthrodesis - Specific Post-Operative Course
Foot wrapped in a bulky bandage and splint, ice, elevate, take pain
medication as needed
- Do not change the bandage
- The dressing is changed, and a boot is applied
- No weight bearing for about 4 weeks
- Start walking in the boot
- Start an exercise program
- Allowed sneaker
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Ettore Vulcano, MD (Mount Sinai Medical Center)
4302 Alton Road, Suite 220
Miami Beach, FL 33140
Orthopedic surgeon serving patients in Miami Beach, Miami, and the
surrounding South Florida communities.