Ankle fusion is the best option for patients who are younger or who have heavy activity demands on their ankle. It is also the best option for patients with ankle arthritis who are not good candidates for ankle replacement due to obesity, severe deformity, bone loss, poor skin, neuropathy, history of infection, as well as other risk factors.
Once the ankle is fused, there is no more pain in the joint. There is also complete loss of joint motion which can alter the patient’s gait slightly. However this is usually well tolerated and most patients are glad to trade the loss of motion for relief of pain.
In many cases, there is little to no ankle joint motion to begin with so patients often do not feel any stiffer. Unfortunately because of the stiffness, the neighboring joints may develop arthritis over time.
A thorough examination by an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon and a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of ankle fusion in your individual case is the best way to determine if this is the best option for you.