Ankle Fusion Surgery, Aftermath

Ankle Fusion Surgery, Aftermath

I'm currently two months post op since I decided to fuse my right ankle. 9 screws and one large plate. It's been a full year since my first surgery trying to fuse my subtalr joint which lead to an infection, removal of hardware, extreme pain and a final decision of fusion. In 365 days I've had four surgerys 3 ankle related and one was to stretch my Achilles due to lack of using it and the position of my foot.

I'm 21 and the youngest person any of my doctors have had to treat such sever rheumatoid arthritis with. Both my ankles are pretty bad but my right one was worse due to unknown sources. It just happened one day four years ago and progressively got extremely worse. In such a short time I lost my dream job, opportunities and most of my life.

I had my follow up yesterday after a long healing processes and found that I was almost fused, but still experiencing pain. I'm allowed to walk on my foot now and start P.T. but I now must go to pain management which boils my blood. I got this surgery to rid myself of pain and now I must go to a pain management doctor to mangage the pain I have with this fused ankle. How does that make any sense? I'm so upset. I just want my life back and it feels like at such a young age I'm losing this battle. Who knows how I'll feel when I'm in my 50's.

Is anyone else experiencing what I am, this is normal right? I'm not too crazy?

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11 Replies

  • Hi There ,

    So sorry your having such a rotten time of it with your ankle .

    I don't have any answers , I'm sorry . I don't fully understand the surgery you have had , and don't know why you have such terrible pain , so long after your surgery...... I'm sure had the surgery , to keep or preserve your ability to walk , whereas if you didn't have the surgery , the eventual scenario would be a lot worse.

    I am sure you will get there though . You just need to somehow get pain under control .........and I'm sure you will feel better about the whole surgery etc

    One day at a time !

    Hug to you , and take care .


  • Hi there,

    Oh how awful for you. It must have been pretty bad in the first place to go ahead with a fusion. I am a Physio with R A so I see it from both sides.

    I hope they went through a lot of other options first?

    It will very slowly improve.

    Happiness and health are the most important things. Keep working on that job when you are ready.

    This is a good site to be on. Ask us when making decisions and deciding on way forwards. The Dr s have a different way of looking at things some time s.

    Lots of love xxx

  • Yes, the past four years I've done all the medications , shots, scans you name it I've probably done it. We ran all my options, I couldn't replace the joint due to the wear and tare on my bones and the severity of my arthritis. Hopefully physical therapy helps me walk and reduces the pain levels I'm experiencing. Hopefully you're doing well and staying strong!

  • I really feel for you, surgery is a big decision and usually only after all other options are explored. Especially when you are so young. I have had triple foot fusions on both feet, the first about 12 years ago. When this option was discussed with my rheumy at the time I said I wouldn't have it done at a local hospital, so was referred to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, originally I went through my works insurance, when I retired the surgeon agreed to see me on the nhs. Both operations were a success, a long recovery time six months, the last two months in a boot. Unfortunately due to my RA my ankle collapsed about 3 years ago, this op not so staightforward, as also need a second op to realign the foot and a long recovery time so have managed it as best as possible, my posture is not good so now effecting my back, I find the pain there is getting me down. Have met many people over the years who have been referred on from their own hospital who don't have the same skills and many young people who have been helped. It's still early days but maybe an option for you. Wishing you all the very best. Hugs G X

  • Im almost 2 yrs since my accident. 4 surgeries and bone infection. Refuse to put metal in my leg and ankle again. In pain always.

  • You've been through so much at such a young age, my heart goes out to you. I think the worry about the future is a valid one and certainly doesn't make you crazy. One thing that brings me comfort is knowing that medicine is advancing all the time and there is lots of research into stem cells and bone regrowth. In the mean time, I am sure you are in a lot of pain but it's really early days since your surgery. You will be still struggling with post surgical pain and nerve healing, so it doesn't mean that this is permanent.

    Hang in there with the physiotherapy and pain management.

  • I'm so sorry to hear what you've been going through, sending some love and hugs to you...Xx

  • I really feel for you, it's a wretched way to feel at your age particularly, and a real challenge to maintain any positivity about the future. Really tough to lose your dream job and without sounding trite, I wonder what else you can set your sights on now? A dream job requires skills and talent of some sort so is there another way to use them? The reason I say this is that the only way I've got through 36 years of this s**t is to have good things to focus on, despite my RA. For me that meant retraining, having kids against advice, limping on so that RA wasn't the only thing in my life. I'm not saying it was easy, I was 24 at onset, but I'd hate you to feel your life is over before it's really started. You'd be crazy not to be angry and upset but hang on in there and I hope you have a good rheumatology team to support you. X

  • Oh sweetie my heart is breaking for you. I am so sorry you are dealing with all of this at such a young age. There is nothing anyone can do to make this easier. As trite as it may sound you need to find something that enables you to get into a better head space. What makes you laugh, movies, comedies....chronic pain can suck the live right out of you.

    I try to find a lesson in all things. I believe we are given obstacles which can make us strong. The advances being made everyday. We do not know what the future will bring. Do not battle these demons alone. Reach out whenever you feel the need.

    This disease affects so many. Perhaps your dream job is yet to be determined! Time to create a new dream. Do not let a challenge defeat you. Turn it into a positive. Perhaps you are meant to find a solution. Perhaps the physical limitations will help you uncover hidden talents. Just think of what you have survived already. You clearly have incredible strength. Hang in there🙊

  • Well, I am 45 and both my ankles are needing 1st time surgery. I go to work starting to drag my foot, then get home unable to bear weight...everyday. My foot doctor said I need surgery. I have not gone through any processes yet. As far as filing for short term or temporary disability , tomorrow begins it all. Hopefully I can continue to work after the surgery and therapy. The thing is, I have to be employed qualify or something like that which I am, so yes, I am living with pain. I will have more to share later, but for now, the getting my ducks in a row as far as bills and my pets jeez, one jack russell rat terrier, two cats and no vehicle. I need a support system...and I came across this page. Go figure!:) HOPE THIS POST TOOK A FEW MINUTES OFF YOUR PAIN :) prayers

  • I hope and pray you heal well and that there are no other complications. You are so young. Thank you for your courage sharing. I must add... I was told the same thing that having the Fusion surgery will reduce pain... Just stay on top of the medicines they give you.

    Oh, my RN friend said to be sure to buy a shoe to level out your steps. She said she didn't get a shoe to suit her boot or nerve circulating boot? Later on it could be hurtful to your hips. Prayers for you.

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