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Ankle fusion and the impacts

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Joined: 29 Jul 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:22 pm    Post subject: Ankle fusion and the impacts Reply with quote

Just been told that I have to have an ankle fusion due to arthritis in the joint, its quite bad and forced me to stop running 2 years ago and now struggle to walk a mile. I have been doing AquaBikes and DNFing the run in Triís.

So my question has anyone had this done or know of someone who has, interested in the impact on the swim and bike after having it done

Thanks all

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Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 7447
Location: Chester

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I'm going to be in the same boat soon so feel your pain and uncertainty.

My right ankle was badly smashed in a rock climbing accident in 1990 - given how bad it was, I'm still surprised how much running / tri I was able to do over the years but pain got the better of me in 2014 and now I just cycle.

I had a bone spur removed in 2014 and the surgeon told me I'd basically got very little cartilage left so I should prepare myself for fusion. Unlike you, things seem quite stable right now and stopping running has probably delayed things somewhat ... anyway I digress.

I was working for BUPA at the time so did some research on ankle fusion and ankle replacement. To deal with the latter first, the technology is a long way behind hip / knee replacement and I don't think it's a goer for anyone who wants to be active.

Things I know / think / have been told about ankle fusion:
- Two orthopedic surgeons told me that having a fixed ankle means that bones in the foot will naturally become more flexible so the overall range of motion won't be as affected as you might suspect
- Neither commented on running specifically other than to reiterate the previous point. My take, having already got a very stiff ankle, is that a shuffling, mid-foot gait will probably be easier to adopt than I feared initially
- Pain should be greatly reduced
- I searched for but was unable to find, any stories of people doing sport after ankle fusion. I guess it's a pretty niche topic. However, given that people with far worse injury are able to compete, it probably depends more on motivation and expectation than anything else.

My thoughts on swim & bike ...
- My feet are pretty rigid swimming, many have commented on this over the years; I suspect you will see little change (I'm guessing you don't have flipper like feet if you need this op)
- Cycling will depend on how much foot movement you have during the pedal rotation ... my thinking is that it should just be a small saddle height adjustment at worst.

Good luck, I'll be very interested to hear how things go given my own situation Smile
Almost back to being an athlete in 2016 Shocked
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Joined: 29 Jul 2014
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow thanks I have read very similar things and like you have on info on sports after.

I am quite a good swimmer so should be interesting what it will be like with a break on and one foot pointing to the floor. Might be an amusing rudder action so will have to improve sighting.

I think that by next season I would get more movement in it, well hereís hoping.

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