- What Is
What is a triple arthrodesis surgery?
A triple arthrodesis is a surgical procedure that fuses three joints of the ankle. It is used to relieve pain from arthritic, deformed, or unstable joints.
Generally, surgeons try to avoid the fusion procedure by treating the ankle joints with alternative methods. However, when the pain is so severe, a triple arthrodesis remains the only option.
Most of the time, a triple arthrodesis offers satisfactory results in the long term as well. In one study that followed patients for 44 years after their triple arthrodesis, it found that 95% of patients were satisfied with the outcome.
Why is a triple arthrodesis performed?
A triple arthrodesis is performed for patients with the following conditions:
- Rheumatoid/degenerative arthritis (severe arthritis of ankle)
- Ankle deformity
- Ankle instability
- Severe flatfoot
- Abnormal connections between bones
- Excessively high arches
- Joint instability due to neuromuscular disease such as poliomyelitis
Many of these conditions may be treated using other procedures. Only when the nonsurgical treatments fail, the surgeon considers a triple arthrodesis. After examining the patient’s condition and disease progression, the surgeon decides whether to perform a triple arthrodesis.
What is done before a triple arthrodesis?
Two to three X-rays of each foot will be taken from different angles to understand the ankle problem and how to go about the surgery.
The patient will be admitted the night before the surgery and asked not to eat or drink anything for the next 12 hours before the surgery.
What is the technique used in a triple arthrodesis?
A triple arthrodesis is performed by an orthopedic surgeon.
- The patient might be given general anesthesia that makes them sleep throughout the procedure or spinal anesthesia that numbs their entire leg. Additionally, an injection in the back of the knee or ankle joint may also be given to ease the pain.
- Next, the orthopedic surgeon makes one incision (cut) on each side of the foot.
- Further, the surgeon removes the elastic structure over the joint surfaces (cartilage), followed by the roughening of the bony surfaces and filling of the bony defects with bone grafts.
- Next, the surgeon attaches the bones with the help of hardware such as screws. This will eventually result in healthy fusion.
- The surgeon then sutures the incisions and covers the surgical wound with a bandage.
What is done after a triple arthrodesis?
- The patient is observed for several hours after the surgery.
- Analgesics are given, and the leg is elevated to reduce the postoperative edema and pain in the ankle.
- The patient is discharged after one to three days. Instructions are given about which activities need to be restricted.
- While at home, leg elevation should be continued for the next five days, and ice should be applied over the ankle around three to four times a day.
- The patient should visit the hospital after one week to change the wound dressing.
- A short leg cast is applied after the edema has disappeared to restrict the movements in the ankle joint and allow healthy fusion of the joints.
- Sutures are removed after two weeks.
What are the complications of a triple arthrodesis surgery?
- Nonunion/malunion (bones may not fuse, or they may fuse abnormally)
- Degenerative joint disease (ankle arthritis due to wearing of the surrounding structures)
- Delayed wound healing
- Nerve injury
- Avascular necrosis (Damage to the adjacent blood vessels leading to the destruction of the ankle bone)
- Lateral instability (inability to move the ankle sideways)
- Stiff foot
How long does it take to recover from a triple arthrodesis?
- The patient wears a plaster cast, wrapped around the ankle and foot, for the first 12 weeks following the surgery. Crutches can be used to move around and avoid weight bearing on the ankle.
- Gradual weight bearing is allowed until full weight bearing is reached. This usually takes around three months. The cast is removed and replaced by a removable walker boot.
- X-rays are obtained at approximately 12 weeks. If stable fusion is observed, the patient can switch from the walker boot to normal shoes.
- Physical therapy is required to restore strength and mobility in the ankle joint.
- It usually takes around ten 10 months to become pain-free and recover from the surgery.
- The patient can experience maximum improvement one year after the surgery.
Latest Arthritis News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Medscape Medical Reference
Top How Long to Recover From a Triple Arthrodesis Related Articles
Arthritis (Joint Inflammation)Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
Physical and Occupational Therapy for ArthritisPhysical therapy can help a patient with arthritis to work out stiffness without damaging their joints. Occupational therapy teaches the patient how to reduce joint strain during daily activities. Those receiving occupational or physical therapy will learn about their arthritis, be given a dietary plan if they are overweight, get foot care advice, and learn methods of relieving discomfort.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) annually affects one child in every thousand. There are six types of JRA. Treatment of juvenile arthritis depends upon the type the child has and should focus on treating the symptoms that manifest.
OA & Your JointsDealing with joint pain and arthritis? Learn why weight matters--and why NOT to stretch before exercise. See these solutions for joint pain and tips to protect your joints from damage.
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid ArthritisOsteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are chronic joint disorders. RA is also an autoimmune disease. OA and RA symptoms and signs include joint pain, warmth, and tenderness. Over-the-counter pain relievers treat both diseases. There are several prescription medications that treat RA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease. The 16 characteristic early RA signs and symptoms include the following.
- Both sides of the body affected (symmetric)
- Joint deformity
- Joint pain
- Joint redness
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Joint tenderness
- Joint warmth
- Loss of joint function
- Loss of joint range of motion
- Many joints affected (polyarthritis)
16 Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms and SignsEarly RA symptoms and signs vary differently from person to person. The most common body parts that are initially affected by RA include the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet, and the knees and hip joints. Joint inflammation causes stiffness. Warmth, redness, and pain may vary in degree.
RA Friendly ExercisesRegular exercise boosts fitness and helps reverse joint stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). WebMD demonstrates helpful exercises to get you started.
RA SlideshowWhat is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about treatment, diagnosis, and the symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes and the best medication for RA and JRA.
RA QuizHow is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Quiz to rest your RA IQ.
Famous Faces of RALearn more about the famous faces of rheumatoid arthritis such as Lucille Ball, Glenn Frey, and more.
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. ArthritisArthritis is a general term used to describe joint disease. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of arthritis in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing chronic inflammation.
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. FibromyalgiaThough rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia have similar symptoms, RA is an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome. RA symptoms include joint redness, swelling, and pain that lasts more than six weeks. Fibromyalgia symptoms include widespread pain, tingling feet or hands, depression, and bowel irritability. Home remedies for both include stress reduction, exercise, and getting enough sleep.
Steroids: for the Treatment of ArthritisSteroids decrease inflammation and may be used to treat many inflammatory conditions and diseases, such as systemic vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjögren's syndrome. Steroids are injected, rather than administered orally, to deliver a high dose of medication to a specific area. Side effects of steroid injections include infection, tendon rupture, skin discoloration, allergic reaction, and weakening of bone, ligaments, and tendons.
What Are the Four Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis?Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by pain and inflammation in joints, typically of the hands and feet. It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system of the body attacks its own healthy cells, resulting in inflammation of the membrane lining the joints and damage to joint tissue.