Ankle fusion surgery can relieve pain and help maintain ankle function for patients with severe ankle arthritis.
As cartilage protecting our joints wears away with arthritis, the bones rub against each other, causing pain. Ankle fusion, also called ankle arthrodesis, involves removing the damaged cartilage from two or more bones of the arthritic ankle and fusing those bones together. That eliminates the bone-on-bone motion that can be so painful.
If you decide to have ankle fusion surgery, you will be asleep or sedated for the procedure. Your Specialty Surgical Center doctor will make an incision in your ankle and scrape away the remaining cartilage so that there’s contact between the bones. Next, the bones will be compressed together and attached with screws, plates, or other hardware.
After surgery, you’ll need to be off your feet for at least six to eight weeks to let the bones grow together. You’ll need physical therapy to help strengthen your ankle and leg.
Although you won’t have the same range of motion in the joint after ankle fusion, patients are typically able to walk without a limp once they have completely healed from the surgery.