Ankle Fusion Surgery
Ankle fusion is a surgical procedure that's performed for the treatment of severe ankle arthritis. When ankle pain occurs because of arthritis, and non-surgical treatments fail to provide adequate relief, surgery may be considered. Options for patients who have severe arthritis include ankle replacement surgery and ankle fusion surgery.
Ankle arthritis is relatively uncommon, at least compared to hip and knee arthritis. Most patients who have ankle arthritis have had some type of trauma to the ankle joint, such as an ankle fracture.
It is considered the best treatment option for very active or young people who have ankle damage. A person who has severe arthritis in the ankle and is fit for the procedure can undergo ankle fusion surgery. In such patients, it aids in improving function and relieving pain. Arthritis in the ankle can be caused by any of the following cause:
- Wear and tear for a long time (osteoarthritis)
- Autoimmune diseases that affect the joints (rheumatoid arthritis)
- Previous injury of the joint
The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia or spinal anaesthesia. Once the anaesthesia is effective, an incision of about 3-4 cm is made through the skin and muscle on the ankle and on foot. Then the remaining cartilage that is affecting the joint will be removed. The surgeon will then connect the bones and fix them with the help of the hardware (screws). If required, other repairs may also be done. After completing the procedure, the incision will be closed by stitches and staples.
The following measures may aid in speedy recovery after the ankle fusion surgery:
- Keep your leg in an elevated position
- Wear a splint for a few weeks
- If recommended use crutches
- Avoid putting full body weight on your leg for a few months
- Go for all the follow-up appointments as scheduled
- Go for physical therapy to regain the strength of ankle and leg