The Foot and Ankle Clinic

Ankle fusion

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?


If you have an ankle problem and wish to make an appointment in Clinic then please call the relevant telephone number above and ask to be booked into Clinic.

If you wish to view the full surgical technique please select the link below
Foot Surgery Atlas Ankle Fusion

arthritic ankle before fusion arthritic ankle after successful fusion

An arthritic ankle before and after successful ankle fusion

What is a fusion?
A fusion is a permanent joining or bonding together of (and removal of movement from) a joint. In the case of an ankle fusion the two sides of the ankle joint, the talus and the tibia, and depending on technique sometimes the fibula, are fused.

How is an ankle fusion achieved?

The more superficial layers of the joint (remaining cartilage and bone) are removed to reveal healthy underlying bone. This underlying, sub-chondral bone is not involved in the arthritic process. When the two healthy cut surfaces of the tibia and talus are placed next to each other and compressed, new bone grows across the area of the previous joint. Effectively, a fracture healing process is occurring which will lead to a complete obliteration of the previous joint space with new bone and the formation of a single bone incorporating both the talus and the tibia where previously there were two separate bones.

Any remaining joint lining and diseased bone (which generate the feelings of pain) are removed during this procedure. The resulting surfaces of healthy, normal bleeding bone are then stabilised and compressed, usually using screws across them. This environment encourages new bone to grow across the area of the joint, causing it to fuse, effectively forming 'one bone' where previously there were two. Bone needs to grow across the surfaces for a successful union.

the joint space visible before the fusion

The joint space visible before the ankle fusion

the joint space obliterated after fusion

The joint space obliterated after the ankle fusion


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