I was born with congenital bone fusions throughout my body (feet, back, and feet), and have had numerous surgeries on all of the above. However, my feet/ankles have been suffering the most from my bone abnormalities insomuch that it became necessary at the prime of my youth 18 and then again at 19 to have Triple Arthrodesis (fusions of my ankle/ft bones together) surgeries on each of my feet respectively. To read more about this procedure, you can read it here: http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/treatments/pages/triple-arthrodesis.aspx (Yes, that means I attended my senior yr of High School in a wheelchair). It was a painful process, but for about 6 years or so I was much better able to manage the pain that I had previously experienced on a daily basis.

Now, being only 10 years later at the age of 28, X-rays show that arthritis has taken up residence in both of my ankles and the arthritis is continuously expanding because of the fusions due to the surgery; getting worse and worse. I have developed bone spurs on both ankles to compensate for all the stress put on my deteriorating ankles. But I didn't need an X-ray to reveal that. My joints swell like balloons and hurt to the extent that you can almost hear the bones rubbing against the other bones. This has severely limited my capacity to live a normal life.

When I was a bright-eyed 18 year old facing Triple Arthodesis there were vague warnings that sometime in the distant future (maybe when I was in my mid-fifties? Maybe older?) that I would have to address potential arthritis. And that I shouldn't expect to run marathons. None of that mattered to me -- that was too far in the future to concern me. But having to take a Tylennol 3 from just walking around Walmart at age 28 is not acceptable. How do I reverse the impacts of my Triple Arthodesis? Is a Total Ankle Replacement the answer for me?

I tried researching online, but all I can find was "Triple Arthodesis vs. Total Ankle Replacements" and how avoiding bone fusions (that decrease your range of motion is the last option), but unfortunately, Total Ankle Replacements weren't a thing when I was 18. But can someone who has had the Triple Arthodesis procedure done in the past benefit from a Total Ankle Replacement now? Or is it irreversible? Will the orthopedic specialist just write me off and tell to just wear a brace for the rest of my life and use a cane even though I'm so young. Is there anything that can be done?

I just want to live a normal life, and not have to use a cane everywhere before the age of 30. Help!

  • 1
    I'm sorry to hear that you've had such a rough time of things so young! This is not my area of expertise, but either way, answering if something is right for you can only really be done in person by a specialist. When was the last time you saw your/an orthopedic surgeon about the status of (and options for) your ankles/feet?
    – DoctorWhom
    Sep 15, 2016 at 5:32


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