Ankle arthrodesis is a surgical procedure that fuses the bones within the ankle. If you have ankle problems, such as arthritis or avascular necrosis, your doctor may recommend ankle arthrodesis to help relieve your pain.
There are three bones that make up the ankle joint—the tibia, the fibula and the talus. The talus is the main bone in the ankle that sits on top of the heel bone (calcaneus bone). In a healthy ankle, the talus moves like a hinge so that you can move your foot up and down.
Following your surgery, you will receive care at the Total Joint Center, located on the seventh floor of our Edgewood campus. This dedicated orthopedic unit features private patient suites, a spacious rehabilitation area and on-site classroom for seminars and other educational events.
Before your surgery, your surgeon will answer any questions you have about ankle arthrodesis surgery. At the Total Joint Center, you’ll find a team of professionals to help ensure you have everything you need during your stay.
Your surgery: During arthrodesis, your surgeon will remove the cartilage from the surface of the tibia and talus and then attach plates and screws to secure the ankle. Immediately after surgery, you will be placed in a splint to ensure that your ankle does not move. During a post-operative visit, your surgeon will determine the next course of treatment and therapy.
Your recovery: You can expect to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days after surgery. Your care team will help you work out a schedule for exercise, rest and medication to help make your recovery process go smoothly. You will not be able to place any weight on your ankle for several weeks, so you will need to use crutches for support. Full recovery varies from patient to patient, but ranges anywhere from six months to a year. During this time, you will have regular follow-ups with your surgeon.
Although you will have less mobility in the ankle joint after the surgery, you will also have less pain, which is the goal. Many patients worry about walking normally after ankle arthrodesis. Talk to your surgeon about any concerns regarding mobility.