Ankle fusion .. should I go ahead

caroline3412 Member Posts: 2
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:05 in Living with arthritis
Hello everyone/ this is my first visit to the forum. I am 57 years old, I have end stage osteoarthritis in my left ankle from an injury/operation in my teens. I work full time and I regularly walk my dog to stay active. I’ve had 4 cortisone injections and an arthroscopy/debridement, all have failed to control the pain. My consultant has said the next step is ankle fusion but I’m not sure whether to go ahead. I wondered if anyone has had a fusion and is it something I should consider? I’ve been told the recovery period is 3 months + but results aren’t guaranteed. Thank you. Caroline.


  • Angie1983
    Angie1983 Member Posts: 3
    Hi Caroline, I am 37 and have severe avascular necrosis in my feet and ankles. I had a sub-talar joint fusion in my right ankle almost 2 years ago and the recovery period, if I remember rightly was about 8 weeks in a non-weightbearing cast and another 4 weeks in a partial-weightbearing cast. It improved the stability of my ankle, fixed a hindfoot deformity caused by the arthritis and most importantly, improved the blood flow to stop it from getting any worse, but, although the pain did improve to some extent, it wasn't a magic solution for me. Two years later and my consultant is suggesting either a full fusion or ankle replacement as the next step.
    I don't feel keen on the idea of a full fusion to be honest. I think that even the partial fusion has put some strain on my hips and knees but that may be because I can't bend my toes properly either so my gait is even more awkward because of that.
    If your pain is having a big impact on your life, I say it's worth a try! Rocker sole shoes can help if you do go ahead and also, it is worth trying to get a knee scooter to help you get around when non-weight bearing. It makes such a difference.
    Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.
  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,622

    Hi @Angieyoung1983 Welcome to the Versus Arthritis online Community on behalf of myself and the Moderating team. (Apologies Caroline3412 for the hijack)

    Sounds as though you have some very useful experience to share please do come along in and join in wherever you feel comfortable everyone is really welcoming.

    Best wishes


  • Hi, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I’ve just joined this fab online community and would like to share a piece of advice. After finding end stage Avascular Necrosis of the Navicular in my right foot I (eventually) underwent mid column fusion of 5 bones almost a year ago..and deveststingky it has completely failed.. I am now facing a long agonizing wait for salvage surgery or amputation… I developed the complication CRPS after the surgery but it was picked up too late and now cannot be reversed. The pain is indescribable…OxyContin almost at max dose. The best piece of advice from my experience of fusion surgery is

    BE PREPARED ⭐️⭐️💯

    I wasn’t. I had no real idea of what the reality of post surgery recovery would need to be and thus did not help to get myself the best possible outcome from the surgery.

    whatever you decide… remember.. knowledge is power. Make it your mission to find out what recovery entails, and find other shared experiences to give yourself the best chance possible of it being a success. oh, if I could turn the clocks back 🥺

    I wish you the very best in whatever you decide 🙏

    43 and lost