Subtalar fusion

What is subtalar fusion?

The subtalar joint is the joint that allows you to rotate your foot in a circular motion. Sometimes due to injury or arthritis this joint become painful when walking and can also make the ankle/foot unstable. In such cases, it may be recommended that you have a subtalar fusion procedure where the joint is stabilised and fused so relieving pain from that joint.

What does this involve?

The operation is usually performed under general anaesthetic and requires an overnight stay in hospital. A cut will be made on the outside of your ankle. The surgeon will then remove the surfaces of the subtalar joint, compress the joint, and the fix the bones in the correct position with two screws. The wound will then be closed with stitches and the ankle placed in a plaster cast.

When will I recover?

For the first few weeks following surgery you will need to elevate your foot as much as possible to reduce swelling. This will both make the foot more comfortable and help the wounds to heal.

After the operation, you will not be able to put weight through your foot for two weeks. At two weeks, you will have your stitches removed and you will be placed in a light-weight cast. Using crutches, for six weeks you can place about half your weight through this cast when walking. At eight weeks after surgery, you will be placed in a removable boot to walk in for four more weeks and will be able to put all your weight through this boot. At three months following surgery, you will be able to return to normal shoe wear. The swelling can take from six months to a year to completely resolve.

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