Ankle Fusion is often considered the “gold standard” treatment for severe ankle arthritis. It is used to the pain and stiffness caused by entities such as rheumatoid or other inflammatory arthritis, post traumatic arthritis, degenerative arthritis, hemophilic arthritis, and arthritis secondary to repetitive instability. Good pain relief is often achievable as is an improvement in gait, function, and quality of life. However, motion is lost and stress is increased to the surrounding joints. After many years this can lead to progressive arthritis and pain at the surrounding joints.
Techniques used to fuse the ankle include both standard open surgical approaches and arthroscopic approaches. Some studies show better outcomes with an arthroscopic technique. The post-operative period usually includes limited weight bearing for approximately 10 to 12 weeks. In patients with good bone quality much of this time is spent in a removable Orthopaedic boot.
Case 1 – 70 year old woman with rheumatoid arthritis and disabling ankle pain. After the ankle fusion, the pain relief was excellent with significantly improved function and walking ability.