This surgical procedure is used to help relieve pain in the ankle joint and correct deformities in the hindfoot caused by injury, arthritis, or genetic defect. The procedure fuses the three main joints in the hindfoot that allow side-to-side movement – the calcaneo-cuboid, talonavicular, and subtalar joints.
The patient is positioned so that all sides of the foot are clearly visible to the surgeon. Anesthetic is administered and the area is cleaned and sterilized.
Accessing the Ankle Joint
An incision is made on the outside of the foot, just below the ankle. A second incision is made on the inside of the ankle. The joints are examined and all remaining cartilage between the bones of these joints is removed. If the hindfoot is misaligned, its position is corrected.
Fusing the Joint
Screws, staples, or plates are inserted to stabilize the bones of the joint. Bone graft is packed around the space between the bones if needed. Over time, these bones will fuse together.
End of Procedure and After Care
The incision is closed with sutures or surgical staples. The ankle may be placed in a brace or half-cast, and a short hospital stay will be required. Weight should not be applied to the foot for at least six weeks after the surgery. A walking cast may then be used for at least another six weeks. Full recovery usually takes up to ten months.