Getting my fusion was the BEST thing I did! Quick history....in August 96 tripped over baby gate and fracture toe and joint although never picked up. Had surgery in Dec 99 to try and repait joiont and was totally unsuccessful. In Dec 00 I had a joint replacement of big toe. The movement never came back but the pain went away for awhile so I lived with it. Finally couldn't deal with pain so I went to doc. She said it was time to fuse (I was 33 at time). I had a bone graft from my hip and the fusion and was the best thing I did.
I was NWB for about 8 weeks, then in a walking cast for another 4. After that I was in a CAM walker for another 8 weeks or so. Today I am fully recoverd on that foot. I am back to hiking, etc. I am limited in the height of heels and my days of ballet are over.
Even though the recovery was hard, fusing was the best thing for me. I did go back in and have the hardward removed becuase it was irritating me, but others chose to leave it.
As far as my gait goes, it is really only noticible to those people who know and they have to be behind me and looking for it. However, I am party tricks at pool parties. I can set my foot down on wet cement and only leave 4 toe prints unless I roll my foot forward.
I have had to have an osteotomy on my other foot and most likely will end up with that foot fused as well. If I am willing to go through it again, it might help show that I think it works.