Is ankle fusion surgery right for you? If you’ve been suffering from ankle pain even after months of injections, bracing, physical therapy, and arthrodiastasis, fusion could be the right treatment for you. Let’s go through a few things to consider if you’re looking to put an end to ankle pain.
Important note: Seek medical attention immediately if you’ve just suffered an ankle trauma injury. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation should be applied to reduce swelling, but only a proper diagnosis by a physician can determine whether structural damage has occurred.
What is ankle fusion surgery?
You may have heard of spinal or neck fusion surgery. Ankle arthrodesis, or fusion as it’s commonly known, is similar in that it’s a permanent joining of two or more bones in the ankle joint. A surgeon makes an incision in the ankle, compresses the bones together, and then attaches them with plates and/or fasteners. The fused bones will no longer move independent of one another. Depending on the case, the surgery can be done using a minimally invasive technique.
Because mobility will be permanently impacted, ankle fusion surgery will usually not be advised unless other treatments have been unsuccessful.
What causes ankle pain?
Arthritis is a common cause of constant ankle pain. When present, it wears away the cartilage in the joint resulting in pain and inflammation. Arthritis can develop where an injury once occurred, or it may develop on its own.
Traumatic injuries like a sprain, bone bruise, or broken bone can of course cause intense pain. But acute conditions like these will typically heal with non-surgical methods of treatment.
How do I know if I should consider ankle fusion surgery?
Your doctor or specialist will begin to discuss the possibility of ankle fusion if pain is not responding to other treatments. While it’s an effective way to eliminate the bone-to-bone contact that often causes chronic ankle pain and inflammation, it will entail a long period of recovery and reduced range of motion in the joint.
Patients who’ve had ankle fusion surgery will typically receive physical therapy in order to maintain strength in the affected leg and learn to walk on the fused joint. Reduced range of motion isn’t a major impact for most people who undergo this surgery, but it will take several months before the patient can return to normal activity.
Are there alternatives to ankle arthrodesis?
Dr. Ryan Pereira is experienced with treating ankle pain and injuries with a wide range of methods. For patients who are candidates for ankle replacement, Anastasia Medical Group can offer options. He’s a Certified Inbone Total Ankle Replacement Specialist and a STAR Ankle Replacement Specialist. Ankle replacement can put an end to ankle pain while giving