Ankle Fusion – A Good Looking Option After Pilon Fracture

I am becoming more and more excited for the day I can get this ankle fused. My pilon fracture destroyed so much cartilage, as well as the joint surfaces were so damaged, that the healing of the tibial plafond is not allowing the ankle to re-form into any sort of useful joint.  I think folks with ankle fusion have about as much ankle mobility as I do now anyway, so why not eliminate the pain?

Videos like these make me optimistic:

Youtube on ankle fusion after motorcycle accident

Man walking barefoot with fused ankle

Youtube video animation of how ankle arthritis and fusion works

Video of a person’s 1 year post-fusion walking demonstration

14 thoughts on “Ankle Fusion – A Good Looking Option After Pilon Fracture

  1. Hi Zach

    Wanted to see how the ankle recovery is going? Mine has been rough. Had a bad infection and was on 6 weeks of IV antibiotics and now 2-3 months on oral antibiotics.

    I can walk but with a very heavy limp and a lot of pain most days. Swelling and nerve pain are still pretty big issues as well. I have a dead spot on the top of my ankle and foot that is numb. There was likely nerve damage at the break or during surgery. The foot feels pretty bad overall.

    Hope you are doing better?


  2. I had a two part Tibial Pilon fracture in 2012, with a break in a leg bone as well, surgery, plates and screws. Since then I have had another surgery to have the hardware removed. Now April 2016, the arthritis is so bad I am ready to schedule ankle fusion. Can somebody tell me if their pilon fracture seems to have affected the other ankle? Is it my imagination, but my good ankle seems to be acting up. Could that be possible? I am now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Valorie,

      Thanks for your post.
      I have not noticed my good ankle acting up. When you injured your ankle, did the other foot have any impact? Or do you walk really unevenly? I know i tend to slam my good foot down a bit when walking on slopes or walking quickly, and i push off harder so my bad ankle does less work.

      You made it a good long time before the arthritis took control of your life. I hope i make it a while longer since Doc says a fusion won’t take yet (bones still too crappy)


  3. I am 3 years out ankle sucks loaded with arthritis I get 3 cortisone shots a year, I am in Boston and have a great orthopedic surgeon, he steers me away from fusion it’s a final operation and things change often


    • Hey John thanks for sharing your experience. I haven’t had a cortisone shot yet but I was told that is the next step for me.
      I hear you on wanting to keep your options open. I subscribe to these cartilage repair news feeds trying to see if I can have some hope that they’ll be able to inject some regenerative cartilage magic in there someday. I have no faith in the stem cell injections and other stuff because none of the mainstream science seems to back it up.
      Fingers crossed for a breakthrough. You know there’s a million scientists working on this because of the Aging American population and all of their knees and hips going out.


      • The shots hurt but feel great for a few months, my surgeon always jokes about the iankle. I’ll stick it out for as long as possible exercise and keeping a low weight makes a huge difference


  4. I slipped on my icy front steps Dec. 2015 spent New Years Eve in hospital. Shattered my left ankle,fractured my tibia and fibula,many screws and plates,3 months non weight bearing. My walking gait is off,has affected my left knee severely, lower leg has much swelling,pain, numbness. Ongoing Physical Therapy. Try to walk much as I can but must sit down and rest,what a way to start my 60’s! Been reading up on nerve damage and possible complications just to prepare myself. Take Naporsyn only as a last resort, take Turmeric. Thanks for listening to my story,as we know, Life goes on!!


    • Thanks for sharing your story! Do you have an ankle brace? I’m curious I’m not hearing anybody who’s replied to this blog talk about having an ankle brace that helps. And for me my ankle brace makes life so much better. The difference is night and day. I can’t hardly walk without it and with it I can walk all day. It’s been a year and three& 3/4 of this situation and my ankle is relatively calm and pain free with the Arizona AFO locking things out.
      Without the Arizona AFO I walk horribly and would have knee and hip problems I’m sure.


        • I’ve. thought about an ankle brace, it does help when I wear a support. stocking with swelling. Im. having another ankle surgery to remove a screw this will help my walking gait hopefully. Will get a custom made orthopedic brace. It helps to know im not alone with this type of major injury.


          • What’s surprising to me is after talking to so many doctors, some said i didn’t need an afo brace. what they didn’t know, and what I do know now, is that my ankle brace gave me 100% more capability. It’s scary to imagine having gone this long without one. I walk so so poorly without it, and the pain is breathtaking, but with my brace most people don’t notice that I’ve got a bad ankle. And sometimes i forget too!


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