I am 22 years old and I am in the hospital right now actually due to a bone infection in my right ankle/foot that resulted from a very bad staff infection 11 months ago. I had two surgeries done last December to remove the staff(MRSA, actually) and two of the incisions opened up post-surgery and formed holes in my ankle. One of the holes closed up after a few months of careful wound-care and antibiotics. However, the other hole just wouldn't close, and I was still having pain 6 months after the surgery. I returned to my orthopedic surgeon about the hole, and found out that the problem was now a bone infection(Osteomyelitis) in the same foot, same spot. I had an MRI and CT scan done to pinpoint the infection for surgery and just had the surgery done on September 12th. My doctor removed the infected bone and put high-dose antibiotic beads into my foot where the bone was removed to take care of any infection that might still be lurking there. (I also had another picc-line put in to administer Vancomycin for six weeks again, because they said there are still traces of the staff along with the Osteomyelitis.) So, I am just three days away from FINALLY having the (last) surgery to take the beads out, and God-willing there's no more infection, have cadaver bone put in and fused. (I've only been in the hospital 6 weeks, but it seems like half a lifetime!) Then it's into a hard cast I go, along with taking some oral antibiotics for a few months (Zyvox).
All that being said, I was wondering how long I would have to have the hard cast on and what the healing time-frame would be for the fusion to be successful so I can start putting weight on it and teaching myself to walk again (I'll be wearing a walking boot after the cast is off, of course). The sooner someone can get back to me on this matter, the better, seeing as how the bone fusion surgery is right around the corner. Thank you and God Bless!
It sounds like you've had one rough year! Hopefully they've gotten the infection taken care of so you can get on with your life! I had a bone graft in my ankle (different procedure, not a fusion) and was in a splint for 2 weeks, then a cast for 4 weeks, then a walking boot for 4 weeks. I was able to bear weight as tolerated in the boot. I've read that it takes adults 6-8 weeks to heal fully from a fracture/graft. Others on this board have had procedures that involve longer wearing of the cast. I would check that out with your dr to be sure. One thing I would recommend looking into, if you haven't already, is renting a knee scooter, like the Roll-A-Bout or Turning Leg Caddy. They are invaluable in getting around and being more independent. I tried crutches for a few days and just couldn't continue with them...though I did use them at times when I couldn't use the scooter. My insurance paid part of the rental fee too. Anyway, good luck to you as you prepare for the last surgery and word on how everything is doing! I hope you can get out of the hospital and on with your life soon!
I am so sorry you have had so much to deal with your ankle. I had an ankle fusion in October 2004. It took about six months before I could drive. For the six months I used a wheelchair. Unfortunately I still have pain and limp on my right leg. I am very grateful I've never had infection in my foot or ankle.
My prayers are with you Jenna. Please keep us updated.
I had my ankle fused last year with an external fixator. Unfortunately, I also had an infection, MSSA. I had 2 debridements while the ex fix was on to get rid of the infection. That, combined with heavy duty antibiotics did the trick. However, since the infection was in the bone, my dr told me it would never totally go away, but would go dormant.
Anyway, it my dr told me it would take about 8 weeks before I could start putting some weight on my leg. The actual fusion takes longer to complete, but at 8-12 weeks the fusion is at least strong enough to begin walking on it.
I have no idea how long you will have to wear a cast. I didn't have one. My dr did tell me that bone grows faster when there is an infection. I don't really know why or understand it, but that it what he said.
I would definitely talk with your dr more about the specific questions you have.
Good luck to you. If your experience is anything like mine has been, the worste is behind you. Keep us posted.