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When conservative methods for relieving ankle pain caused by degenerative arthritis or trauma are no longer working for you, your surgeon may recommend ankle fusion.

What happens during ankle fusion?

Ankle fusion is usually performed under general anaesthesic. Through an incision (cut) your surgeon will remove any damaged cartilage and expose healthy bone surfaces in your ankle joint. They will position the bones correctly and compress them together using metal screws. This positioning and compression encourages the bones to grow together. You will not feel the screws and they do not need to be removed. 

Sometimes ankle fusion can be performed using arthroscopic (key hole) surgery. Be sure and discuss what method will be used with your surgeon.

After your ankle fusion

You will need to stay in hospital for 3-5 days. You will have a plaster cast on your ankle and you may have a drain in your wound for one or two days. Please let our Healthcare Team know if you are in any pain. 

You should not put your weight on your fused ankle for 6 - 12 weeks following surgery. Our physiotherapists will visit you to teach you how to move around with a walker or crutches. They will work with you to ensure you are moving about on your own before you are discharged.

Going home after ankle fusion

Your ankle needs to be fully fused before you can drive. Please arrange for someone to take you home and look in on you in the first few days. You should rest and keep your leg elevated to control swelling. After 10 -14 days you will need to come back to have your stitches removed. You may be given a lighter weight cast. 

Be sure and take any pain medications as directed. 

Your surgeon may schedule regular x-rays to assess the extent of fusion. As the fusion gets stronger you may be allowed to start putting weight on your foot. You might need to work with a physiotherapist to learn to walk without a limp. 

You should plan on 10 to 12 weeks of recovery before returning to normal activities. Be sure and discuss any return to work with your surgeon. Once fusion is complete you may be given special shoe inserts or have your shoes fitted with rocker soles. 

Most patients make a good recovery from ankle fusion. Although you may not be able to run with a fused ankle you should be able to walk with a normal gait.

Any surgical procedure can result in complications:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots (Deep Vein Thombosis - DVT)

Specific complications of ankle fusion:

  • Nerve damage
  • Nonunion (lack of fusion)
  • Malunion (displaced healing)

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?

Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment
Bournemouth  

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
Overall rating View rating
Brentwood  

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good
Brighton  

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Good
Bristol  

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370919
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6SY

01242 246 500
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good
Chichester  

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good
Derby  

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good
Exeter  

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 262110
Overall rating Good
Glasgow  

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

01413349441
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

Self Pay Enquiries 0300 131 1401
Switchboard 01483 555800
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good
Hereford  

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good
Leeds  

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding
Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

Enquiries 0300 1311416
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good
Oxford  

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good
Plymouth  

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
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Shrewsbury  

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good
Taunton  

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

Enquiries 0300 131 1400
Overall rating Good
Wessex  

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good
Wolverhampton  

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good
York  

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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