Swalt - I am currently undergoing distraction for severe osteo-arthritis as the result of a gunshot wound 30 years ago. I am 50. I was presented with the same choices, with a majority of doctors saying fusion. That is still the gold standard for the medical profession. I won't get into all the politics of why. My recommendation to you would be to find a physician who specializes in each of the ankle procedures - distraction (arthrodiastasis), allografts (cadaver replacement), standard STAR resplacement, and fusion. Make an appointment and fork over a few hundred bucks. Take a mini-tape recorder, so you can re-listen with family and friends and aren't just hearing what you thought you wanted to hear. Then make your decision based on gut intuition. For many of us, there is no ideal solution. Just the best of a bad lot. But if you thoroughly do your research first, you'll find a solution that brings you peace of mind. I think attitude during recovery is paramount to your recovery and you should feel positive and peaceful going into whatever you decide. I had to fight to get a distraction procedure, partly because its a service-connected condition and had to be done within the VA system. I only found one VA doctor willing to do it. But, I haven't burned any bridges, I'm convinced it will buy me a few years of pain relief and mobility, and I really believe it will all be worth it. At some point, I'll be back to the fusion vs amputation decision. But the longer we can hold out, the better chance we have of technology catching up with us.
I have been reading this threat, having finally decided myself to have an ankle replacement. I was back and forth between ankle replacement and fusion (I am 55). It is a tough decision and no truly good solution. I had decided to do the fusion but then decided to take the chance and do the ankle replacement. Either way we are going to have problems down the road, but I have had ankle problems since the original injury 30+ years ago. The biggest downside to ankle replacement is the bone loss so when they do an eventual fusion I will need a bone graft. Today I am trying to remember why I thought the ankle replacement sounded like a better idea. I know that I was driving myself crazy trying to predict the next 30 years of my life, providing I live anything close to that long. Instead I decided to focus on the next 10 years, and hope that there are incredible medical advancements in that time.
That's the way I look at it too. Who knows how long we will live. Let's let the pain be better now, for the next 10-20 years. Fusion can happen later still, even after replacement.
Replacement will give you much better range of motion. And no more pain, hopefully!
I know I will still have pain but I am used to living with pain. I would like more mobility while I am still working. When I retire I will have more time to do things at a slower pace. Now I am trying to prepare for the non-weight bearing period and hoping and praying that the surgery goes well. The "sticky" on coping with the non-weight bearing period is very helpful but it makes my palms sweat to read it!
I has the salto talaris ankle replacement on 8/1/11 and on the 16th I got out of the plaster cast. And am now in a boot. On the 30th I will have my stitches taken out.
I feel great I have only mild pain once in a while. It is swollen but thats normal. I am only on the 2 aspirins a day. That you take for the first 60 days after surgery. And I
haven't had anything for pain in 10 days. I am 55 years old and was born with a club foot.
It was always swollen and had alot of pain in it. I think I made a good choice.