Ankle Arthrodesis

An ankle fusion is the gold standard treatment for end stage ankle arthritis. It creates a painless, but stiff hindfoot.

Motion is preserved though the talonavicular joint thus allowing a gait pattern that is not grossly abnormal to observers.

An ankle arthrodesis (fusion) can be performed either open or arthroscopically.

Ankle Arthodesis surgery (Open or Arthroscopic)
Post Operative Instructions


  • You will have a splint on your ankle for 2 weeks following surgery
  • At 2 weeks a solid below knee non walking cas will be then worn for 4-6 weeks
  • At 8 weeks, you will be placed in an aircast, still non weightbearing, and a CT scan will be ordered for 10 weeks post op


  • The surgical incision has been closed with sutures
  • Do not get the dressing or wound wet for the first two weeks.
  • When showering place a bag over the dressing and secure with tape to your leg to avoid the cast and wound getting wet
  • Stitches will be removed at your 2 week appointment
  • After the stitches are removed, you may begin to shower after 2-3 days
  • Do not immerse the foot in water (bath, hot tub, pool) for 6 weeks
  • Do not apply any lotions or creams on the wound for 6 weeks

Weight Bearing:

  • You will be non weight bearing for the first 10-12 weeks while in a splint or cast
  • You will use a mobility device to offload your foot (crutches, walker, stirrup cast)
  • You will begin weightbearing in an aircast 10-12 weeks depending on fusion formation


  • Pain medication should be used regularly for the first 24-48 hours, when required for the first 1 to 2 weeks, followed by Regular Tylenol


  • For right ankle surgery you are not permitted to drive until you have completely weaned off the aircast
  • For left foot surgery, please contact your insurance company to see if you are permitted to drive
  • Driving is not permitted while on narcotics


  • Four to six weeks off from work is recommended for initial recovery
  • If you are able to get to work safely, and will be seated for the majority of the day, you may return to work four to six weeks after surgery. This is assuming you are not taking narcotic pain mediation.
  • From 2-6 weeks sedentary duties is recommended
  • By 12-16 weeks you can gradually return to full duties
  • If your job is physically demanding, return to full duties is usually possible around 3-6 months post operatively

Follow Up:

  • You will have your first appointment 2 weeks after surgery in the Fracture Clinic
  • Your next appointments will be at 6 weeks, 3 months then 6 months post operatively
  • You will have x-rays taken at these appointments


  • It is normal to experience mild to moderate pain, numbness, or tingling for the first 2 weeks following surgery
  • Please come to the emergency department if you are suffering from severe pain
  • You will get back to most of your activities by 6-12 months
  • Swelling often remains for 6-12 months
  • Residual stiffness is a normal consequence of ankle fracture