Hi everyone - I'm new to this (but not to ankle problems) so I hope you will excuse my uncertainty, and that you will provide some hard information and advice based on your experiences. I'm 67, and have had ankle / foot problems since age 12. About 10 years ago I'd exhausted all options for my right ankle (special footwear, leg iron brace, injections etc) and had the ankle fused. Brilliant for removing all pain, but a bit limiting for walking up stairs & similar. Driving was ok once I'd mastered rocking the foot forward and back from the knee to control the accelerator.
My left ankle has been deteriorating in recent years, and last year became rapidly worse. I didn't want to go down the brace and boot route (diabetic so skin lesions or sores on the feet are not good news) so my local hospital referred me to Guys, where last October I had a sub-talar fusion. The fusion itself has worked well, and the foot has been repositioned excellently (looks straighter than I have ever seen it) but the remaining movement in the ankle is painful and very limited.
The surgeons at Guys & St Thomas have offered me either a full fusion of the left, so I will have both ankles completely fused; or a replacement ankle on the left. The main worry with the replacement is that it may only last about 5 years, and then need substantial surgery to fuse the joint- when I would be 72.
So to the point at last - is there anyone out there who has had double ankle fusions, and who would advise honestly and frankly about good and bad aspects? How do you cope with steep stairs or slopes? How much impact does it have on your knees and hips / back pain? Then the million dollar question - anyone had a replacement ankle fitted when they already had a fused one? How has that worked? Did the strain of a fused ankle make the replacement one operate badly or wear out more quickly? Were you able to recover enough muscle strength to make the replacement ankle work properly ie 'with a spring in your step'?
I look forward to some advice and real experience. Regards. David