The Foot and Ankle Clinic

Ankle fusion operations

Ankle fusion | What is an ankle fusion? | How is an ankle fusion achieved? | How long does it take for an ankle to fuse? | What sort of operations are available for ankle fusion? | What position will my ankle be fused in? | How can I walk with a fused ankle? (will I have a 'peg leg'?) | Will I be able to wear normal shoes after an ankle fusion? | Will my leg be short after an ankle fusion? | What will I be able to do after an ankle fusion? | How successful is an ankle fusion? | Why might an ankle not fuse? | Will an ankle fusion affect my knee, hip or back? | What if these joints are also arthritic? | Why think about an ankle replacement? | If my ankle is deformed (no longer in line with the rest of my leg) can this be corrected?

How long does it take for an ankle to Fuse?

The time for fusion can vary considerably between different conditions, different operative techniques and different patient related factors. Generally, under the optimum circumstances an ankle should be well on the way to uniting by six weeks and be united by 12-14 weeks. Just as after a fracture, the bone will continue to strengthen beyond this time.

What sort of operations are available for Ankle Fusion?

The main ways to fuse an ankle are either with an arthroscopic (keyhole) technique, with a traditional open technique or using the Ilizarov frame (a circumferential external fixator). It is also possible to fuse the ankle, together with the joint beneath it (the sub-talar joint) by inserting an intramedullary rod through the heel to compress both of these joints. This last technique is not however simply for ankle fusion.

Generally your own surgeon will have various techniques and should be able to discuss with you which would be most successful in his hands and appropriate in your case.

Each technique has its own pros and cons. There are specific sections on each technique to be found in but in brief, the relative merits of each are as follows:

What Position will my ankle be fused in?

The most functional position of a fused ankle is with the foot fused at right angles to the tibia (Diagram 1) and sitting squarely underneath it (Diagram 2)

Diagram 1

Diagram 2




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