Image Credits: Orthobullets
What is Ankle Fusion?
There is a point in every arthritis sufferer’s life where a choice has to be made. That choice is often whether or not to have an ankle fusion therapy treatment, or to opt for ankle replacement therapy. Thankfully, your orthopaedic surgeon will take you through the decision matrix that will determine what path will be ideal for your lifestyle.
Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis
If you are experiencing the following sensations in your ankle, you are a prime candidate for arthritis.
*Loss of smooth cartilage on the surface of the tibiotalar joint bones
*Swelling in the Ankle Joint
Consult with your orthopaedic surgeon to determine how acute or severe your condition is. Your consultation will often involve a detailed assessment of your medical history. Via a deeper insight of the joint via scans like MRI’s or X-Rays, the internal condition of your ankle joint can be determined. If your condition is acute and you are below the age of sixty, your orthopaedic surgeon will recommend that you be treated via ankle fusion surgery.
What is Ankle Fusion?
The ankle is a joint composed of a series of bones. As the joint degenerates, it will often be imperative for the surgeon to restore the joint via a fusion treatment. As the integrity of the ankle joint is lost, the surgeon will restore it via a series of internal scaffolds, that enable the joint’s strength and flexibility to be restored. As indicated in the image above, your orthopaedic surgeon will affix to your joints a series of plates and screws that will support the joint.
During the surgery, there will be an incision made, that will expose the ankle joint. The surgeon will then create the scaffolding on the bones, and reinforce the joint. In some instances, there will be the addition of a bone graft, in addition to the metallic hardware that is added to the joints. Enquire with your surgeon if your treatment can be facilitated via a minimally invasive surgery.
Post Surgery Treatment
Once an ankle surgery is completed by the orthopaedic surgeon, the patient usually spends the night, and then is released the next day once all the patient checks are completed. The treated leg is often placed in a cast and the patient is allowed to be mobile via crutches or a walker.
During post operative treatment, it is advised that the patient minimize weight placement on the restoring ankle joint. The fusion process takes up to twelve weeks to facilitate the initial healing phase. The time frame for complete healing is up to six months.
While no treatment is one hundred percent effective, your treatment will facilitate the restoration of normal physical activity. Your health is your wealth. With careful research and discussion with your doctor, you’ll feel confident that your therapy is the best path forward for you.