Ankle Arthrodesis - Medical Negligence Solicitors Compensation Claims


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Ankle Arthrodesis

Ankle arthrodesis is also called ankle fusion and involves having surgery to fuse any two to three of the following bones: the talus, the distal fibula and the distal tibia. The portions of the bones affected are the distal fibula, the distal tibial plafond, and the talar dome. Most of the joint (80 percent) is made up of the talus and the tibia. The arthrodesis procedure removes the cartilage between the bony surfaces as well as any diseased bone that might be present. It then compresses the bony edges together and fixates them with some kind of hardware so they are permanently fused. Usually it is the tibia that is fused to the talus but sometimes the fibula is involved as well.

When all conservative measures have been attempted and exhausted, the arthrodesis procedure is performed. Patients can have steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications and wear foot orthoses in an attempt to treat the ankle pain. If these do not work, arthroscopy can be tried along with custom orthotics or ankle braces, then an ankle fusion is considered. An ankle arthrodesis is considered when there is unrelenting pain that isn’t made better by the above techniques.

Some ankle conditions requiring an ankle arthrodesis are as followed:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Post-traumatic arthritis
  • Post-infection
  • Problems with ankle implant
  • Congenital ankle deformities
  • Ankle instability
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Avascular necrosis

There are three different kinds of ankle arthrodesis. The doctor may use an open technique, in which he makes one to two incisions on the lateral aspect of the ankle and on the front of the ankle and fixes the ankle with a screw. There can be an open technique with an external fixator placed in order to temporarily hold the joint together. There can also be an arthroscopic technique used. The open technique with a screw fixation is the most common technique in use today although most surgeons make use of all of these at one point or another. They generally have equal rates of fusion. Sometimes a piece of bone is removed from your iliac crest to act as a bone graft if there are already defects in the ankle itself from trauma or past surgery.

After the procedure, you will be non weightbearing for 6-12 weeks – longer if the healing isn’t progressing well. The doctor will cast you or put you in a boot or splint in order to keep the ankle stiff. Then you will use crutches and an ankle splint for a few weeks more. Sometimes a rocker bottom sole is recommended after you get out of the cast or splint. These help you push off your foot better when walking.

Ankle arthrodesis is relatively painful so that sometimes you need to be admitted to the hospital just to manage your pain. You stay as long as your pain tolerance allows. You can stay in the hospital longer if there are complications. Some complications include internal or external bleeding, infection in the tissues or infection in the bone, which takes a particularly long time to heal. You can have swelling in your foot or ankle that lasts up to a year in length. If you do not follow doctor’s strict orders, you may have a greater risk of complications. You might have to keep your foot up and elevate it for several days or up to a week or so. You may not return to work for about 2-4 weeks, depending on the type of work you do. Complete recovery can take from six months to a full year. If there is a complication, you might have to have an additional reparative surgery.

Ankle Arthrodesis Solicitors - no win no fee*

Our ankle arthrodesis solicitors operate using the no win no fee** scheme and you will not have to fund or finance your claim in any respect. In the event that the claim is successful the other side will pay our legal charges and if we are not successful you pay nothing at all. You have nothing to lose in taking up our offer of free advice and there is no further obligation should you decide not to pursue a claim further. We offer a true professional risk free service and you will only ever deal with a qualified, specialist medical negligence solicitor who answers to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Do yourself justice and call our offices today.


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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here