Hindfoot fusion is a surgical procedure used to relieve pain and stiffness in your foot caused by arthritis, deformity or breaks.
Your hindfoot is made up of a number of joints and bones. Pain and stiffness in this area can be caused by:
- Arthritis – osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- Changes in the shape of your foot including a deformity
- Broken bones
If conservative methods of treatment do not relieve your symptoms, or in cases of a complex break, your consultant may recommend hindfoot fusion.
What happens during hindfoot fusion?
Hindfoot fusion is usually performed under general anaesthetic. One or more incisions (cuts) may be made on your foot. Your surgeon will clean the exposed areas and compress the affected joints together with screws. The screws will allow the joints to fuse relieving the pain when the joint surfaces rub together. They will close the wounds with stitches or staples. Your foot will be in a cast for protection.
After hindfoot fusion
We will give you pain relief medication. Be sure and let a member of our healthcare team know if you are in pain.
The nature of fusion means the movement in your foot will be restricted. There will be no side to side or twisting movement in your foot.
A physiotherapist will visit to help you stand and begin moving around on your own. They will teach you how to use a walker or crutches. You may need to restrict weight bearing in the first weeks following your operation.
Going home after hindfoot fusion
Most patients go home following a 1-night stay in hospital. You will not be able to drive until released to do so. Please arrange for someone to drive you home and to help you with daily activities for the first few days.
Continue to take any pain relief medications as needed. Swelling is very common following foot surgery. Elevate your foot as much as possible.
You may need to return to our hospital to have any stitches or staples removed and your cast changed.
Approximately 6-8 weeks after your operation you will need to come in for an x-ray to check the bone growth in your fusion. Your cast may be removed and you may be given a walking boot. You may be released for partial weight bearing. A physiotherapist may give you exercises to strengthen the muscles in your legs.
We will take another x-ray at approximately 12 weeks post-surgery to confirm you can begin full weight bearing. You may be referred to physiotherapy.
It can take several months for your hind foot fusion to fully heal. Please discuss any return to work with your surgeon.
Most people make a good recovery from hindfoot fusion. As with any operation there can be complications:
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis)
Specific complications of hindfoot fusion:
- Non-union or mal-union of the bones
- Continued pain and swelling
- Nerve damage
- Irritation from screws – may require removal
Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?
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