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Old 10-19-2005, 07:02 AM   #1
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Subtalar Fusion

Hello everyone. I'm just trying to get all the information I can. After several years of foot pain I'm being told I need to have Subtalar Fusion performed on both ankles. My left is going to be done in November and the right several months later. I've been researching this and to be honest, I'm not getting a "warm fuzzy". I have fifteen years in the Air Force and the future seems unclear right now. The military doesn't want you when your feet don't work. Anyway, if anyone has had this proceedure done I would appreciate ANY information you can share.

Thanks

 
Old 10-19-2005, 06:40 PM   #2
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

Hello: On my left foot, I have had the subtalar, talarnavicular and the calcanial cuboid joint fused (triple fusion). I also need an ankle replacement on the left. On the right foot, I had repair of my tendons and ligaments and an MBA implant placed in the subtalar joint. I will have my cast removed tomorrow and a walking cast for four more weeks.

Why are you having this done? Do you have severe flat feet or arthritis?

 
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Old 10-20-2005, 05:12 AM   #3
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

Mine is from arthritis. Never had an injury, it just showed up in both feet.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 11:52 AM   #4
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

Hi All,
I, too, would be very interested in anyone's account of this subtalor fusion surgery. I had a Doctor tell me they could do that with my foot but that I'm too young for it (41). All this from an injury nearly two years ago that was diagnosed as a lisfranc fracture one year after the injury...needless to say I didn't have surgery to fix it in the first place. Now the latest info I've gotten is subluxation in the subtalor joint, the talonavicular joint and the calcaneal cuboid joint. I've recently been through 4 months of PT, had cortisone shots and inserts in my shoes. Still have pain and swelling of both foot and ankle and my hips are absolutely killing me from walking wrong. Would be willing to do this surgery if it would fix it all but I've read nothing but horror stories of the pain and recovery. I have 3 kids and the idea of a 10 month recovery period is not too appealing!

 
Old 10-20-2005, 02:04 PM   #5
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

You've been told you're too young at 41? Jeeze, I'm 35 and I'm told this is the only way to get rid of the pain. I'm just sick about this...Good luck though.

 
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Old 10-20-2005, 06:32 PM   #6
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

Back again. My experience with fusion is that after they fuse the joint, yes the pain goes away. It is a long recovery. If you are anything like me, I cannot stand just sitting around. Keep in mind that when you fuse a joint, another joint has to go (or break down). I don't know if this is true for the subtalar joint. It took me a long time to feel normal, a year and a half. Before this surgery on my right foot, I had a lot of endurance on the left (the fused foot). I could stand all day before I started to feel like my foot was tired. I had this surgery when I was 41.

 
Old 10-21-2005, 07:48 AM   #7
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

Hi - from what you described it sounds like you may need more than a subtalar fusion. maybe a triple arthrodesis. I would highly recommend a second, third and even fourth opinion. Try to find a foot deformity specialist. It's important to find someone with alot of experience. If they just do a couple a year or if they are not a SPECIALIST they probably don't have the level of experience you need. Also - you are not too young for a fusion. I had bilateral triple arthrodesis at age 30 and it has saved my life. Yes the recovery is long but necessary if you want to keep walking. I had about 6 opinions myself. When you go for your appointments don't wait for the doctor to mention things if you have questions - actually ask him for comparisons between the different procedures - pros - cons - possible outcomes. Ask how and why questions. By the way - I don't think the recovery time is much different between the triple and subtalar. Rehab may be more time though. The goal is to end up with a stable and balanced foot and get on with your life. I could write more but I need to leave the house now !

 
Old 10-21-2005, 11:48 AM   #8
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

I just had a subtalar fusion- one pin, not triple. Its the joint between the ankle and the heel - I have one incision over my ankle bone and one in my heel and they looked pretty good when I got my new cast (heavy and fiberglass- NOT a walking boot).

I can move my foot up and down but not twist it left or right (ie- wouldn't want to walk on the roof of a house or uneven ground.). I am in week 5 of post op. I get my cast off next week. (YAY!) My experience so far has been ok- my biggest annoyance is the darn cast! I cannot wait to walk again. I am going crazy on crutches and working is very annoying since I cannot drive either....My husband drives me. I hope it won't be too painful to start walking again. Sometimes I think I feel the pin when I put my foot down but its not a sharp pain just an odd pop feeling...I have no idea what to expect when I get my cast off...

My condition was from birth and about 25% of my joint was already fused and arthritic before the surgery. I was told there would be no real change since my joint was already partially fused. I am supposed to recover pretty fast. Just thought I would give you another version of this type of condition.

Please explain what you have and what they are saying because I am only 32. You cannot have a resection done if you are over 20-25 tops. So telling you you are too young seems odd to me.

Good luck!

 
Old 10-21-2005, 12:32 PM   #9
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

Ok...now I'm the idiot here! What's the difference between a triple and subtalor fusion?? I had no idea my subtalor was the problem since I had been told it was lisfranc. However I could not bend my foot/ankle side to side since the injury...joint was totally locked up. Because of that they did CT scan of the subtalor joint and the subluxation in those three joints was what was found. What joints are involved in the triple arthrodesis? My husband wants me to find somebody to do this surgury so I can get on with things. I've been through alot of other stuff lately and the thought of another ordeal is not a good one. However, I would love to walk and get through a day with no pain in my hips, foot or ankle. By the way...original injury was a twisting fall down about 8 stairs...twisted ankle on some toys left on the stairs and then landed on my foot twisted under me. And oh yeah, was carrying a chair down the stairs...smart huh?!

 
Old 10-21-2005, 05:31 PM   #10
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

Wow, That was some fall. A triple fusion is the subtalar joint, talar navicular joint, (the joint opposite the subtalar) and the calcanial cuboid joint (sp) Heel.
When you have these three joints fused, it gives you a stable foot. You will only have the dorsiflexion (up and down movement). Since you do not have the side to side movement, you probably will not notice the difference. I noticed it because you need to side to side movement for balance. I have had to learn balance thru my hips and a strong abdomen. For me, this procedure also saved my life. I was having bad pain in my foot, ankle, knee and back. The thought of going anywhere with a cement floor made my hair stand on end. LOL. I have to agree about getting a second, third opinion. And yes, make sure the doctor that does this is BOARD CERTIFIED in rear foot reconstruction and deformity reconstruction. You do not want to do this a second time around!!

 
Old 10-21-2005, 06:44 PM   #11
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

Has this surgery also helped the pain you were having in your knee and back? Many days the pain in my hips and back is as bad if not worse than my foot/ankle. I often think I could get through life with my foot pain...after all it's just my foot. Nothing life threatening. But the hip/back pain is awful. Thanks so much for your reply!

 
Old 10-23-2005, 03:37 PM   #12
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

I think that back and hip pain is from an abnormal "gait" Do you limp? This is going to sound terrable, but I hope you like to exercise and stretch. You will now lead a life of high maintenance. Have you ever tried physical therapy.

 
Old 10-25-2005, 09:25 PM   #13
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

I have had a subtalar-calcaneal fusion. This is a very serious and painful surgery with a long recuperation. I had it at 51 and I am in very good physical condition. I was on crutches for 14 weeks and in a cast for 21 weeks. I had a successive surgery to remove the screws that were coming thru the skin and excise my tibia so I could bend my foot toward my leg. The success is so-so, but I had no choice. Good luck and I am sorry to hear your plight.

 
Old 10-26-2005, 02:41 PM   #14
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Re: Subtalar Fusion

I think we need to clarify what type of surgery we had because I am really confused at the different recovery times. I have only one screw- it is in place to fuse the bone between my heel and ankle- I have a talo-calcaneal coalition, it was congenital (from birth) and I already had 25% of my joint fused.

I was not told I needed to get the screw removed! (horror at thought of having to go through this again). I was in a cast for 2 weeks, they took that one off and I have another cast which I have had for a month (so 6 weeks total)- tomorrow I have a 6 week post op and I am told the cast will come off tomorrow. Why do we all have such different recoveries?

Also- my heel hurts the minute I put pressure on it. I guess this means no walking on my freed foot. Did you guys have an air cast after the hard cast? How do you go from Non weight bearing to weight bearing without falling over.... ah!

Ok - thanks for listening- if everyone could just elaborate on what you have that would be great!! PS- My doctor says its a subtalar coalition, I had a subtalar fusion but NOT triple Arthrodesis. Single Arthrodesis- If I should name it....

 
Old 10-26-2005, 04:37 PM   #15
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Smile Re: Subtalar Fusion

Hi, Just a few words about subtalor fusion,I had two done on the same ankle about eight months apart first one was done and never took had to have a second one done two different docs. It has been 3 years now and still have some swelling and pain in that ankle fusion looks good though 2 pins holding it together. still not able to walk for long periods of time and no running at all. have a sit down job now. very hard to do if you are very active. definate life style change. but if i had to do it again I would the pain I had before was almost unbearable. It is a decision only that the person going through it can make. be careful and do alot of research, internet is a great source. P.S the right doctor helps also. Good luck to you.......
Pam B.......

 
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