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Ankle arthritis can be a very debilitating condition and patients often complain of significant pain and inability to walk very far due to the discomfort. There may be significant stiffness involved and even deformity such as a flat foot deformity. An ankle fusion is a very effective treatment to relieve pain and improve function. I often undertake this procedure using keyhole techniques which reduce the size of the wounds and minimises infection risk and wound problems. Naturally patients are concerned with the amount of movement following such a procedure. In some patients with significant stiffness due to the arthritis, there may be very little change in their perception of movement. However surrounding joints are able to compensate for this, and most patients are relatively surprised by how much movement they still have due to the other joints surrounding the ankle joint. Please see the videos of patients who have had ankle fusion surgery. For further information please visit my patient information section for specific information on this surgery.

4 months after ankle fusion surgery

This patient is 4 months after ankle fusion surgery

Movement after ankle fusion

This video demonstrates the amount of movement after ankle fusion surgery and shows how much the surrounding joints can compensate. However each patient is different and results do depend upon the cause, severity and the amount of  movement present before surgery

Activity after ankle fusion

This patient is 4 months post ankle fusion surgery. Prior to surgery he had to walk with a walking stick and was only able to walk a few 10's of yards. Following surgery he has got back to his sports and hobbies.

Golf after ankle fusion

The same patient previous, 4 months after ankle fusion surgery, back onto the golf course

Traditional open ankle fusion surgery uses a 10-15cm cut on the ankle. Arthroscopic techniques can perform an ankle fusion using two 1cm incision to introduce instruments, followed by a 2-3 cm cut on the side of the ankle to fix and ankle joint. Arthroscopic techniques reduce the chances of infection and wound problems and are equally (if not more) effective in achieving fusion of the joint. Opposite are the scars following arthroscopic ankle fusion.


6 months post ankle fusion

This patient is 6 months post ankle fusion. On very close inspection there is a very subtle hint of which side has been operated upon. However, the overall gait and mobility is hardly noticeable at first glance. He returned to work as a bricklayer.

Movement following ankle fusion

This is the range of motion 6 months post ankle fusion surgery in the same pateint

Ankle fusion to both ankle

This patient had both of his ankles fused. This video shows him 4 months after his second ankle fusion, and is therefore walking having both ankles fused. He is now pain free and returned to work as a groundsman

I hope this information has been helpful. Each case is individual and there are many factors which will determine how well you will walk post surgery. It is good practice, and always recommended, to engage in a consultation to discuss the options and outcomes following any surgery.

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