What is Subtalar Joint Fusion?

Summary: Subtalar joint fusion is a surgical procedure performed to treat chronic pain and instability in the subtalar joint, which is located in the ankle. The procedure involves merging or fusing the bones of the joint to create a solid, immobile structure. This eliminates any movement or friction between the bones, relieving pain and improving joint function.

Who needs it: Subtalar joint fusion is typically recommended for individuals who suffer from severe arthritis, trauma-related injuries, deformities, or chronic instability in the subtalar joint. These conditions often result in significant pain, difficulty walking, and decreased quality of life.

During the procedure: The surgeon will make an incision near the subtalar joint and carefully prepare the joint surfaces. They will remove any damaged cartilage and align the bones properly. To achieve fusion, screws, plates, or bone grafts may be used to hold the bones together. Once the procedure is complete, the incision is closed and the foot is immobilized with a cast or a special boot.

Procedure duration: The duration of subtalar joint fusion varies depending on the complexity of the condition and the surgeon's approach. On average, it can take about 1 to 3 hours.

Benefits: Subtalar joint fusion can provide several benefits. By eliminating joint movement, the procedure helps reduce or eliminate pain in the ankle and foot. It also improves stability and restores normal walking patterns, allowing individuals to engage in daily activities without discomfort. In some cases, it can also prevent further joint damage.

Risks or complications: As with any surgery, subtalar joint fusion carries certain risks. These may include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, blood clots, or an allergic reaction to anesthesia. Additionally, there is a possibility that the bones may not properly fuse, leading to ongoing pain and the need for revision surgery.

Recovery: The recovery period following subtalar joint fusion is typically a long process. Patients will need to keep weight off the foot and wear a cast or special boot for several weeks. During this time, physical therapy may be recommended to help improve strength and range of motion. As the bones gradually fuse together over the following months, the patient's mobility and activities will gradually increase. It can take up to six to twelve months for a full recovery, depending on various factors.

It is important for patients to follow their surgeon's post-operative instructions, attend follow-up appointments, and practice patience during the recovery period to optimize the outcome of this surgical procedure.

Symptoms for Subtalar Joint Fusion

Subtalar joint fusion is a surgical procedure performed to treat severe pain and instability in the subtalar joint, which is located below the ankle joint and connects the talus bone to the calcaneus bone. This procedure aims to permanently fuse the joint to reduce pain and improve stability.

Common symptoms that may warrant a subtalar joint fusion procedure include:

1. Persistent pain: Patients often experience chronic pain in the foot and ankle, particularly in the lateral (outer) side of the foot. The pain can be sharp or dull, and is typically aggravated by weight-bearing activities or walking on uneven surfaces.

2. Swelling and inflammation: The affected area may become swollen, tender, and red due to inflammation in the subtalar joint. This can restrict the range of motion and make it difficult to perform daily activities.

3. Instability and difficulty walking: Subtalar joint instability can cause a feeling of the foot giving way or a sense of instability, making walking or standing for extended periods challenging. This may lead to an altered gait pattern and an increased risk of falls.

4. Reduced flexibility and range of motion: The range of motion in the ankle and foot may become limited due to pain and joint damage. This can make it harder to perform simple movements like walking up/downstairs or bending the foot.

5. Crepitus or a grinding sensation: As the joint surfaces gradually wear down due to arthritis or injury, patients may experience a grinding or popping sensation (known as crepitus) during movement of the subtalar joint.

If these symptoms persist despite nonsurgical treatments such as medications, physical therapy, or orthotics, a subtalar joint fusion may be recommended. It is important to consult with a medical professional to receive a proper diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment for your specific condition.

How can a Cash Pay Health Care Marketplace help with Foot/Ankle like these in Altus, Oklahoma?

Foot/Ankle like Subtalar Joint Fusion can be very costly procedures. Our members can save up to 90% on outpatient elective procedures.