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problems after arthrodesis

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Old 12-31-2009, 08:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New Zealand
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problems after arthrodesis

Happy New Year everyone. ! may 2010 bring happy feet to us all

I seem to be having a bit of a setback after an ankle arthrodesis 10 months ago and was wondering if anyone could offer some practical advice.

Seemingly my ankle has fused but there is still pain that the specialist puts down to pre-existing soft tissue damage from the original fracture of the tibia over 30 years ago (this is his opinion based on what is commonplace after such severe tibial fractures, there has been no MRI or exploratory during the arthrodesis to confirm).

In particular the FHL is problematic, but the pain is not confined to the path of the FHL and is quite variable in location and intensity.

The specialist told me to ‘bond’ with my new and wildly expensive orthotics and referred me to a physio.

The physio treatment has certainly helped the FHL and much of the pain in the arch and lower foot has gone along with improved functionality of the big toe. But, the pain at the back of my heel and the inner and outer aspects of the ankle has got worse, especially the outer.

Three times in the last few weeks I’ve been reduced to wondering how to put my foot to the ground to get across a few feet. There is usually a level of pain unless I take painkillers but this pain comes on suddenly from activity and is excruciating . I described it to the physio after the first incident and he thought I’d pinched the tibial nerve. It subsides with rest and ice but stays ‘ready to have another go’ until painkillers start to work.

As far as the orthotics go, they seem helpful to start but if I wear them on uneven ground things fall apart quickly. I’m most comfortable in bare feet at home or using a gel heelpad in boots on uneven ground for any serious activity,or as serious as I can get).

Has anyone any similar experience? What on earth did you do?

It’s all a bit depressing, we want to have a holiday this year but it would have to be with all the painkillers prior to the operation at this rate. Hardly a winning solution.

Sorry for such a ‘tome’ and thanks in advance for reading it.

Any advice would be so welcome.


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Old 01-01-2010, 07:23 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Missouri
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stepbystep89 HB Userstepbystep89 HB Userstepbystep89 HB Userstepbystep89 HB User
Re: problems after arthrodesis

Hi Leslie,

I had my ankle fused in 2006 and continued to have pain and trouble walking on uneven surfaces. Finally, my os did a ct scan of my subtalar joint and found it was also severely arthritic, so we fused it too. I can honestly say it has helped immensely.


Old 01-01-2010, 12:11 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 8
Girlspots HB User
Re: problems after arthrodesis

hi Step thanks for the reply, at one point the specialist mentioned the 'smallest screw he could find' went through to the subtalar but didn't think it should cause problems. he was keen to remove the hardware at one point but then changed his mind. I'm starting to wonder if he was right in the first place. Certainly the severe onset of pain comes from movement of the hindfoot, at one stage I tried to manipulate the hindfoot as the physio had done and set off the first incident which was agonising.

I guess it could be more arthritis as well, but I would have expected the xrays prior and post op to have revealed further arthritis.

much as I hate the idea of further surgery, right now I'd be just so happy to see a cause that can be remedied.

many thanks

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