Ankle fusion (arthrodesis)

A surgical procedure to permanently join the ankle bones

If you have a painful ankle joint caused by osteoarthritis, fusion surgery can be a highly effective treatment option

What is ankle fusion?

Ankle fusion is a treatment for ankle arthritis. Ankle arthritis is a common problem for many people after they reach middle age, but it may occur in younger people, too. It can also develop following an injury to the foot or ankle. Pain typically is mad worse with movement of the arthritic joint. Your consultant may recommend fusion surgery if you have advanced arthritis or if your painful symptoms haven't responded to other treatments.

Fusion surgery eliminates the joint motion and reduces pain coming from the ankle joint, converting a stiff painful ankle joint into a stiff but pain-free ankle joint.

Need to know

  • What happens during ankle fusion surgery? icon plus

    Fusion surgery is usually done under general anaesthetic, meaning you'll be asleep during the procedure, but it can also be done under local anaesthetic such as an epidural. Your consultant will recommend the best approach for you.

    We use the latest cutting-edge techniques to ensure you are not in pain, including keyhole surgery so scars are minimised. Surgical screws will hold your ankle in the correct position. The whole procedure takes around one to two hours.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

    If you're having general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking beforehand. You should arrange for someone to help you get home afterwards.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You'll usually be cared for in hospital overnight after surgery. You'll need to wear a plaster cast or brace and use crutches for up to three months while your ankle heals. Your consultant will let you know what to expect, including when you can get back to work and your usual routine.

    They'll also let you know how to care for your ankle while it heals. This may include physiotherapy or other follow-up care.

    Running can be difficult after an ankle fusion, but specialised shoes can help. For most people, ankle fusion significantly improves their pain and helps them get back to the activities they enjoy.

Our foot and ankle consultants

We're proud to work with leading orthopaedic experts specialising in problems and conditions of the foot and ankle, and whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations

From complex ankle surgery to straightforward food procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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