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Thread: Ankle fusing

  1. #1

    Default Ankle fusing

    I currently wear a splint form knee to my toes.
    I have been offered a ankle fusing operation,still early days so dont know much about it.
    Has anyone had one before,does it affect riding,how long to recover.Any info would be great!
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Forest of Dean, Glos
    Posts
    36

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    Fusing a joint means that you won't be able to move it at all - not good for riding. I haven't had this done but was offered for my hip to be fused when I was in my 20s to stop the arthritis. Needless to say I refused. I think I would rather put up with some pain than have a joint that doesn't have any movement.

    It has taken me a couple of years to recover from an osteotomy, also known as bone cutting. Mine was on the main femur bone, so an ankle would probably be less. I know that many orthopaedic surgeons frown upon fusing and will only do it as a last resort. I'm sure you will find some good info if you search the net, I used to go on a site called "knee guru", that may even have something on about ankle fusing. They replace all sorts of joints now including ankles - can you have an ankle replacement?? Maybe you should look at changing hospitals, I was under the care of Manchester for years, I couldn't believe the difference in attitudes when moving down to Gloucestershire, their Orthopaedics are fantastic. They really have given me a new lease of life. My previous surgeon wouldn't replace my hip and was content to see me live in pain for years, what a change in attitude at Gloucester. I agree I've had a couple of rotten years, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. Recovery for me would have been dreadful if I'd have left the replacement another 20 years (not to mention the level of disability). Perhaps strap up your ankle so it can't move. It will give you a good idea of how it would be post surgery.

    Good luck whatever you decide.
    Last edited by daisyduck; 08-08-2010 at 09:56.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Lincoln
    Posts
    1,190

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    You're exactly the same as me - my left ankle is badly damaged due to arthritis and I wear an aircast pretty much all the time. I am facing fusion at some point too. At the moment I manage by wearing neoprene supports with paddock boots (laced ones) and chaps, and have those slanting dressage treads in the irons as it seems to be more comfortable with my ankle and prevents it flipping over to the outside (joint is pretty collapsed!). I use a mobility scooter to get around everywhere. (I am 20 )

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    4,801

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    I had a nasty RTA over 11 years ago resulting in a smashed ankle,pins plates ect has worn the joint down and artriris has set in, result is no cartilage left on the joint.
    At its worst I am in alot of pain but most of the time its just an ache, I have very little movement in it, the ankle has sort of fused itself, I can only wear laced boots of boots with full zip to the heel as I cannot bend my ankle, I need it fused, however this will mean months off work which I simply cannot afford and If I have coped this long I will continue to cope. I am however on a strict diet to loose 4 stone to help my ankle joint and 23lbs lost has really helped.
    My point to all this is that I ride and have done for over 4 years, I actually find it helps because I am not fully weight bearing when riding, the only bit that is difficult is mounting and more so dismounting hurts liike hell, so I tend to slide down the horse of try and land on my good foot.
    I use flexi stirrups and keep my ankle strapped up and in laced boots for support



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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    2,484

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    I broke an ankle in a riding accident that wasnt picked up by the St Johns at the show (they said it was just sprained) and it had started healing a couple of weeks later when we went to the A&E cos it was still hurtng! Because i had been trying to walk on it and not rest i ended up with a badly healed ankle that sometimes buckles (especially when im wearing heels!!) and hurts The only option to fix it was to re-break then fuse the ankle, but i was told i would have very little movement in the foot so would severly affect my ability to ride.

    I decided against it and put up with twisting my ankle regularly and having it rather large and unattractive
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  6. #6

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    Hi ya

    I think it will depend on which bones it is they want to fuse? There are 3 bones that make up the true ankle joint - if it is only 2 that they need to fuse it may not completely stop movement in the ankle, just limit it.

    I have a natural partial fusion of 2 of the bones in my ankle which prevents sideways movement so that doesn't overly affect my riding. The up and down is slightly limited but again doesn't affect things. However I do find that sometimes I almost loose the feeling in my ankle and if asked wouldn't be able to tell you if my heal was down or not!! Luckily most of the time it 'fixes' in a good safe heal down position.

    I do ride in Flexi stirrups and with quite long leathers as I can get enough bend in the ankle for them to be shorter comfortably. However I recall that Gemzie (Hiya!! ) can't cope with them long so what works for one won't necessarily work for all. I wear Mountain horse lace up boots because I get the best support from them and don't tend to get much ache afterwards with them in comparisson to regular jod boots.

    I just put up with it for now as I am in the same boat and a full fusion will be the only option in the future should the pain become unbearable. The thought of months on non weight bearing after the op is not very inviting though.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Lincoln
    Posts
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    Hi Kaz!

    I find shorter stirrups a lot more comfortable but the problem is it puts me in a chair seat which creates other problems! I find with the treads I can manage with slightly longer stirrups! The treads also force my heel down a bit, if you compare:

    With treads:


    Without:


    and here you can see what the damaged joint is trying to do in the iron (yes, it gets painful but it doesnt even feel any different to the other side!)


    it cant collapse so much with the treads in.

    So I would really reccomend sloping dressage treads to everyone with ankle issues, they may really help! if they dont they dont, mine were only 3 so worth trying! I think stirrup length is down to personal choice, I personally feel safer with them shorter as with them longer my nerve damage comes into play and I get wobbly legs/flapping legs syndrome and lose my stirrup irons a lot (probably as I cant force weight down on the irons like most people can) so with them shorter my weight is forced onto the iron (if that makes sense). Its all a question of trial and error but I definitely think there are ways around these things - just have to find what works for you really!

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