Subtalar Fusion

  • You have an abnormality of the joint between the talus and os calcis, the two bones in the ankle and hindfoot.
  • This causes a severe restriction of movement between these two bones.
  • With time, progressive degeneration occurs at this joint which increases your pain.
  • A fusion of the subtalar joint is proposed, which has an excellent chance of significantly reducing and probably abolishing your pain.
  • The fusion will be stabilised with a screw between the two bones. You will therefore have two scars, one on the outer side of the foot and one on the heel.
  • You will be in hospital for one to two nights after surgery and your leg will be placed in a half plaster.
  • You will be mobilised by the physiotherapists on crutches without taking weight through that leg initially.
  • You will be seen at two weeks where the wounds will be checked and a full plaster applied to the leg which will remain for a further four weeks. You will still not bear weight through the foot but will be able to rest it on the floor for balance.
  • At six weeks, post surgery, the plaster will be changed for a walking cast which will be retained for a further 6 weeks.
  • The risks of surgery include infection, bleeding into the wound, nerve injury resulting in altered feeling along the foot, failure of fusion and persisting discomfort. The chances of complications are small, the majority being in the order of less than 1%, although the risk of the fusion not joining would be approximately <10%.  If this were to occur you may need a second operation.
  • You will be seen at three months after surgery when the cast will be removed and an X-ray will be taken to check on fusion.  Assuming all is satisfactory, you will mobilise with more normal shoe wear but occasionally a removable walking boot may be helpful. An orthotic (insole) may be required. You will need ongoing physiotherapy to help with your rehabilitation.
  • The overall time period for recovery will be approximately nine months but the last three months you will be independently mobile with few problems.