It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Amputation / Prosthetic Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-15-2009, 12:55 AM   #1
APC APC is offline
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 12
APC HB User
Foot Fusion vs Amputation

28yrs,male,married with 3 small kids.toronto,canada

At 18, I fell 65feet breaking my left wrist, left thigh, and smashed my right ankle. After 20+ surgeries over 3 years my ankle was left fused from going left/right, my toes were locked sticking straight out, and i lost a little up/down movement. however I could walk, run, etc... just with a lot of pain. Doctor told me I would need future surgery, but he wanted me to go back to school and get my life back together. 10 years later, im married with kids. I am one to never sit still, always want to be outdoors, etc...
Last year I got a motorcycle and stopped while in a turn, causing the bike fall to the right and crush my leg. Spiral fracture to right tibia, and had more
hardware put in me. right after that surgery I noticed I lost all the movement in my right ankle. doctor doesn't know why, think arthritis, and did arthroscopy to clean it out.. he said he got full movement when i was under, but i certainly dont have any now.he is only recommending fusion now. althogh i am in a cast for 6 more weeks before that can happen.

my problem is that besides my ankle movement, I have lots of pain in the bones along my foot, and my toes are no good. I've read a lot on fusion, and I hear people are still in pain, go through more surgeries, and end up causing more problems to other areas of the body. my legs,knees,back,etc already are painful and have problems. I really don't think fusion will work for me and im tired of years in hospital/therapy. I need my life, lifestyle back, for me and my kids.
I've spoken to people and have fully prepared myself for life without the foot. I know my life will be so much better, for me and kids. im very young and don't want meds forevermore, and crutches and wheelchair...

how can I approach my doctor about this? he needs to know that he's not cutting off a "good leg" and that I really want this. has anyone else gone through something like this?
if i agree to fusion, then that will be at least2 more years before we know if it did anything. not to mention the likelyhood for future surgeries. my youngest is 14 months now, and I've never been able to walk and hold her, push a stroller, take her to the park, anything...


please help.thanks

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 07-15-2009, 03:17 PM   #2
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: providence, ri, usa
Posts: 271
shelleybutn HB Usershelleybutn HB Usershelleybutn HB Usershelleybutn HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

i would not jump to amputation yet. my fusion is just over a year out and feels awesome compared to what it was before. i would try to fix it first. i think no foot will be a LOT worse then a fixed foot with maybe some pain.

shelley

 
Old 07-15-2009, 06:59 PM   #3
APC APC is offline
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 12
APC HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

Normally I would think the same thing... but I've been dealing with this for so long now. 5 of the last 10 years I've spent off work, doing nothing but surgeries and rehab. It's easy to say "lets try again with something else", but really how long can we do this. Each surgery comes with such a long recovery period afterwards and at some point, we have to do what we think is best. By no means do I think people with below-knee amputation live an easy life, but it would finally give me the freedom to do everything with my kids and get active again.
I spoke to my physiotherapist about it and she says the same thing, to give fusion a try...
My issues are:
- I have a lot more problems with my foot then just the ankle, so I don't see how fusion will be the answer
- My right knee is not doing so well, and fusion will end up transfering the problem to knee and other parts of foot
- Left leg is getting worse, by taking 100% of my weight for the past year
- If I do fusion and it doesn't work, I can always go to amputation... but there's a chance fusion could cause more problems to other areas... i'm not sure i could risk that

... and honestly I just can't take anymore surgeries and years in rehab. I take so much medication, I don't sleep, and I'm missing out on everything with my kids... I feel that if I just had the foot removed, I would be so much better off.

Are there any below-knee amputees that could give me their perspective on how their lifesystle is now... the good and the bad.

Thanks!

 
Old 07-15-2009, 07:43 PM   #4
Facilitator
(female)
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 15,560
Titchou HB UserTitchou HB UserTitchou HB UserTitchou HB UserTitchou HB UserTitchou HB UserTitchou HB UserTitchou HB UserTitchou HB UserTitchou HB UserTitchou HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

Talk about your long rehab...and endless refittings of your prothesis over the years. I have a friend who had this due to circulation issues and it's not something you want to do without a great deal of thought. Flying, taking a shower, many things will drastically change. Think about having to get up during the night if something happened to your house or one of your children. You have to stop and get crutches or strap on the prosthesis....not a simple process.

Check out the fusion...it might work and that would be huge plus.

 
Old 07-15-2009, 10:46 PM   #5
APC APC is offline
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 12
APC HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

I have seen so many amputees come and go so quickly in rehab. Meanwhile I'm still there and not improving. My life now is nothing but wheelchairs, crutches, shower seats, and planning ahead wherever I go. So I think I should be ok for the most part... Main difference is rather than more pain and limping, unable to run, etc.. I would be able to do everything.
With all my nerve damage, I already get the "phantom pains" in my leg and I know how frustrating they are. I hear they get pains on the stub itself, so I'm not sure how that will be... but for prothesis, they've come a long way... simply roll on your rubber sock over the stub and push into your prothesis.. not too hard. And I'll take refittings over more surgery anyday.

 
Old 10-13-2009, 04:34 PM   #6
Newbie
(male)
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Bay Area, California
Posts: 2
chucbowhunter HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

I feel your pain and am also considering a possible amputation also. Over past 5 years have had 3 failed ankle replacements and was fused in Nov. 2008. Took until July 09 for fusion to fully heal and have had nothing but pain in heel and instep ever since. I consulted another orthopaedic surgeon and brought my charts and xrays. He said my pain/problems will continue to worsen and my foot will require further surgeries and will limit my motion more and more. Since I am very active with biking, swimming, and hiking/bowhunting I practically live on advil to block the pain. This Dr. suggested an amputation as a way for me to continue my active life style. I was quite skeptical until I started researching the successes of some amputees. There were 12 amputee/foot prothetic participants in this year's Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. I am interested in talking to anyone who knows of someone that has done this. APC I know what it is like to be in constant pain,

Chuckbowhunter

Last edited by chucbowhunter; 10-13-2009 at 04:40 PM. Reason: Add signature

 
Old 10-13-2009, 04:45 PM   #7
Newbie
(male)
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Bay Area, California
Posts: 2
chucbowhunter HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

I would also like to add that I had a knee replacement in March of 2007 and it is awesome. I was back riding bike in 3 weeks. If a foot prosthetic worked even close to the way my knee does I would do it in immediately.
__________________
Chuckbowhunter

 
Old 12-22-2009, 06:45 AM   #8
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: New Salisbury,IN,USA
Posts: 1
kelkev05 HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

HEY!!! You should have the Ertl procedure done. I have been a bilateral amputee since I was a year old (due to Meningitis) and had one leg amputated at the ankle and the other they amputated my toes and heel. I have had a lot of trouble with them all my life, even though I dealt with it and did ballet, tap dancing, cheerleading... everything! I had to undergo 6 bone spur removal surgeries in the last 10 years and was so sick of having surgery and recovering and then going right back to having another bone spur. I have a one year old little girl who needs to have an active mom )) However, now I am 30 years old and had the Ertl procedure done six months ago and wow... what a change in my life!!!!! Seriously, if you consider anything consider this! Learn more about the procedure. It is a natural bone bridge to fuse the tibia and the fibula. No hardware of any kind. I was up walking in 10 weeks... some even sooner but since I had both legs done it was a little longer. My life (and even a few friends that had it done) is a lot less painful. My legs have never worked this well ) I hope this helps!

Last edited by moderator2; 12-22-2009 at 10:19 AM. Reason: please do not post websites except as described in the Posting Policy

 
Old 01-25-2010, 02:25 PM   #9
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Montana
Posts: 1
elkhunter44 HB User
Cool Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

Almost 30 years ago I was in a snowmobile wreck at the age of 15. I did not break my ankle but the ER doctor told me that in the future I would wish that I had. Ten years or so went by and I was very active, aerobics, hunting, hiking, dancing, horse back riding, etc...then slowly the ankle pain got worse as it wore out and started becoming bone on bone. At the age of 25 I finally went to an orthopedic surgeon who told me about ankle fusion which of course I promptly dismissed and got a prescription for Vioxx. The day they pulled Vioxx I thought I was going to die. Then at the age of 35, went back to the surgeons, and again was told ankle fusion. Lived for the past 10 years on ibuprofen and sleeping pills. Finally in October 2009, after my knee, hip, and back started to hurt badly, did I seek othropedic surgeons again. After much thought and careful consideration, I elected to have my ankle fused. My surgeon fused the talocrural joint, bottom of tib/fib and talus bone. I was on crutches for 10 weeks and then in a walking boot for another 6 weeks. Now I am walking in just normal shoes without orthonics of any sort. My other joints are slowly loosening up and I can now move my ankle back and forth and also have some up and down movement. I wish I would have considered ankle fusion when I was 35! I think of all the pain meds I have taken, not to mention the sleeping pills, I am surprised my stomach and guts are still functioning. I had a great recovery and am thrilled to death to say that I haven't taken any pain medication for 2 months for the first time in almost 20 years. I would recommend ankle fusion in a heart beat.

elkhunter44

Last edited by elkhunter44; 01-25-2010 at 02:27 PM. Reason: spelling problems

 
Old 08-29-2010, 11:36 PM   #10
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 8
Merciette HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

I am there with you too...

I am 33 yrs old and have been told a an ankle fusion will be necessary as soon as I can not stand the pain anymore. The problem is I have one leg shorter than the other from complications due to club foot and already have the back and neck problems to go along with it. Ankle fusion would take even more length away. I have heard horrific stories of fusion (replacement is not an option). There is also a cavity already in the bone which would force grafting from my hip to fill in the hole. From having club foot I also have VERY limited movement in my foot. I need help and suggestions that this is even the way to go, or would amputation me a better option? This would then give me the length difference back and hopefully eliminate some pain. I know this seems drastic, but the wear and tear on the other joints from fusion and the lack of mobility in the foot already at 33 could lead to some really bad problems down the line! Help!!!

That is my long winded story (I posted it on a new thread, but came across yours now I would love for someone to write in about the benefits of fusion vs amputation or vice verse. With all the side effects and complications and LONG healing process...why is fusion so much better...why?????

 
Old 08-30-2010, 11:21 AM   #11
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 590
kimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

Merciette,

Have you thought about addressing your limb length discrepancy? I would suggest checking out Dr. Rozbruch at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC, he does limb lengthening and I know he helps those with club feet. If you do a search on limb lengthening you will find his website .. might be worth a try if he can help you with your length issue and not need a fusion at all!

Dr. R just did an ankle distraction on me to help me avoid a fusion.

Good luck!

 
Old 08-30-2010, 11:55 AM   #12
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 8
Merciette HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimberp View Post
Merciette,

Have you thought about addressing your limb length discrepancy? I would suggest checking out Dr. Rozbruch at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC, he does limb lengthening and I know he helps those with club feet. If you do a search on limb lengthening you will find his website .. might be worth a try if he can help you with your length issue and not need a fusion at all!

Dr. R just did an ankle distraction on me to help me avoid a fusion.

Good luck!
Hi Kim,

The fusion is due to the arthritis and deterioration in the ankle. Something will definitely need to be done about that. I hobble around quite bad, especially when the weather is humid, and after walking short distances, pay for it dearly the next day. The problem is with the arthritis hobbling and the short leg limping, but back and neck are so bad. Hips are tilted and spine is beginning to curve. To have the fusion would only amplify this problem. I am not sure going thru the pain and agony of a fusion just to be in worse back pain is the answer. To fuse and lengthen...uugghhh! To amputate, I could be back up with way less wear and tear on the existing joints seems so much less cruel. Is this crazy thinking????

 
Old 08-30-2010, 12:19 PM   #13
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 590
kimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

Merciette,

No necessarily crazy thinking but I would certainly look at all possible options before making that decision.

My thoughts are that if they could lengthen your leg which at the same time distracting your ankle (for arthritis, like I just had), perhaps they could not only help you avoid a fusion but it would help your back/hip issues because you will now be 'even.' I think it is definitely worth a conversation ... when I go to the office there are people there from all over the world, some with pretty severe issues that I've seen that are now walking pretty well.

You are 33 years old, its just such a final decision for someone so young ... there has to be other options! (but I have to admit, at 41 I've had the same thoughts of a final surgery as well .. 4 surgeries for me in 3 years has just been miserable .. and I'm not sure if I am done yet!)

Kim

 
Old 08-30-2010, 03:57 PM   #14
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 8
Merciette HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimberp View Post
Merciette,

No necessarily crazy thinking but I would certainly look at all possible options before making that decision.

My thoughts are that if they could lengthen your leg which at the same time distracting your ankle (for arthritis, like I just had), perhaps they could not only help you avoid a fusion but it would help your back/hip issues because you will now be 'even.' I think it is definitely worth a conversation ... when I go to the office there are people there from all over the world, some with pretty severe issues that I've seen that are now walking pretty well.

You are 33 years old, its just such a final decision for someone so young ... there has to be other options! (but I have to admit, at 41 I've had the same thoughts of a final surgery as well .. 4 surgeries for me in 3 years has just been miserable .. and I'm not sure if I am done yet!)

Kim
Hi Kim,

I haven't heard about distraction. I need to look into this and see if this would be an option. I am open to any to avoid fusion! Wow, 4 surgeries in 3 years! You are a trooper! I wish there were better stories about there about fusions. I also need to talk to my surgeon again about all these questions now that I have more info. Is there other options, is fusion really the best option? Could there be a lengthening procedure he doesn't know about? It also doesn't help that we are 14 hours away from the nearest big centre.

Thank you again Kim, I will keep you all posted and I hope you can all do the same

 
Old 09-01-2010, 01:07 PM   #15
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 590
kimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB User
Re: Foot Fusion vs Amputation

Merciette,

Not every doctor can do the lengthening and even fewer do the distraction so he might not have mentioned it if he or someone around there don't do it.

I'd ask him and see what he says ... if he says its an option for you then you can look into it further. I can't say I've heard all horror stories about fusions, I've heard of a lot of people who are functioning perfectly well with them ... I think its just the future ramifications of it on other joints down the road that scares me. I'd hate for my ankle to feel great only to start having issue with my foot/knee/hip a few years later .. that would be like robbing Peter to pay Paul

Keep us posted on what you find out!

Thanks,
Kim

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
Tactics for coping while non-weight-bearing after foot surgery LisaBdot Foot & Ankle Problems 22 08-25-2013 07:39 PM
Should I amputate my foot? BBW1 Foot & Ankle Problems 6 02-13-2010 04:41 PM
infection moved to bones in foot sschmidt Foot & Ankle Problems 2 12-13-2009 06:32 PM
failed foot fracture fusion with advaced arthritis now footmendn Foot & Ankle Problems 3 06-23-2008 08:12 PM
foot fusion Bearsnumber1 Foot & Ankle Problems 23 01-18-2008 12:15 PM

Tags
amputation, ankle, foot, fusion, young



Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Sign Up Today!

Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

I want my free account

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:59 AM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!