The movement and flexibility of your foot involves three joints - the subtalar, the calcaneocuboid and the talo-navicular joints. Patients with painful arthritis or a deformity in these joints may benefit from triple fusion.
What happens during triple fusion?
Triple fusion is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes about 2 hours. Your surgeon will make 2 incisions (cuts) - one on the outside and one on the inside of your foot. They will remove and clean the surfaces of the three joints. Using screws or staples they will compress the joints in the correct position to encourage fusion (joining together). Any deformity may be corrected using a bone graft. You wounds will be closed using stitches or staples and a plaster cast will be applied.
The day after your surgery a physiotherapist will visit you to help you out of bed and begin to move around on your own.
Most patients leave hospital from 1-2 days after surgery. You will need to use crutches and may not be allowed to put any weight on your operated foot when walking. You will not be able to drive until released to do so by your surgeon. Please arrange for someone to take you home on the day of discharge.
Going home after triple fusion
You will need to rest and elevate your foot for the first 2 weeks. You may need to take blood thinning medication to prevent blood clots (deep vein thrombosis).
You will need to return to us for a follow-up appointment after 10 - 14 days. We will check your wounds, remove and stitches or staples and change your plaster cast. We will advise you when you can begin to bear weight on your foot.
More follow-up visits will be needed for x-rays to confirm fusion has taken place. At 6 weeks you may be given a removable boot to replace your cast.
You will not be able to drive until you are no longer wearing a cast or boot. Patients operated on their left foot may be able to drive an automatic after a few weeks. Check with your insurance on your coverage after surgery.
You may need to continue wearing a boot for up to 12 weeks. Continue using crutches until you are advised by your surgeon.
The flexibility in your foot when walking on uneven surfaces will be limited following triple fusion. There will also be reduced mobility in the up and down movement of your foot. Your surgeon may prescribe physiotherapy once you are out of your boot.
It can take 9 - 12 months to build strength and return to normal activities. Some aching or discomfort is expected for several months.
Most people make a full recovery from triple fusion. As with any procedure there may be complications:
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis)
Specific complications of triple fusion may include:
- Mal union or non-union
- Nerve damage
- Complex regional pain syndrome.
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