Ankle Surgeons Hopkins MN
Advanced Spine Associates
Medical School: Univ Of Al Sch Of Med, Birmingham Al 35294
Graduation Year: 2000
Medical School: New York Univ Sch Of Med, New York Ny 10016
Graduation Year: 1996
Medical School: Univ Of Mn Med Sch-Minneapolis, Minneapolis Mn 55455
Graduation Year: 1968
St Louis Park, MN
A Patient's Guide to Ankle Fusion
An ankle fusion is a surgical procedure that is usually done when an ankle joint becomes worn out and painful, a condition called degenerative arthritis. Ankle fusion is sometimes called ankle arthrodesis.
Probably the most common cause of degenerative arthritis of the ankle is an ankle fracture. Many years after a serious fracture, the joint may wear out and become painful. Just as an out-of-balance piece of machinery wears out faster, a joint that is out of balance after it heals from a fracture can wear out faster than normal. This process may take many years. Other types of arthritis can lead to a painful ankle joint as well. For example, rheumatoid arthritis can destroy the ankle, leading to a painful joint.
Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Osteoarthritis of the Ankle
This guide will help you understand
How does the ankle joint work?
The ankle joint is made up of three bones: the lower end of the tibia (shinbone), the fibula (the small bone of the lower leg), and the talus (the bone that fits into the socket formed by the tibia and fibula). The talus sits on top of the calcaneus (the heelbone).
The talus moves mainly in one direction. It works like a hinge to allow your foot to move up and down.
Ligaments on both sides of the ankle joint help hold the bones together. Many tendons cross the ankle to move the ankle and the toes. (Ligaments connect bone to bone, while tendons connect muscle to bone.)
The large Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle is the most powerful tendon in the foot. It connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and gives the foot the power for walking, running, and jumping.
Inside the joint, the bones are covered with a slick material called articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is the material that allows the bones to move smoothly against one another in the joints of the body.
The cartilage lining is about one-quarter of an inch thick in most joints that carry body weight, such as the ankle, hip, or knee. It is soft enough to allow for shock absorption but tough enough to last a lifetime, as long as it is not injured.
Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Ankle Anatomy
What does the surgeon hope to accomplish?
An ankle fusion actually removes the surfaces of the ankle joint and allows the tibia to grow together, or fuse, with the talus. There are operations for many joints in the body that surgically fuse the joint to control pain. Before the development of artificial joints this was the primary operation available to treat an extremely painful joint. In some cases, fusion is still the best choice.
For the ankle, a fusion is a very good operation for treating a worn-out joint. This is especially true if the patient is young and very active. An ankle fu...