67 yr old with left club foot – now facing fusion

I am 67 yrs old. I was casted for first 10 years, and at age 13 and 18, I had an achilles lengthening and planters release surgery (failures). At age 34, I had a radical osteotomy (failed).

Until age 34 and my radical osteotomy, I was able to jog, walk, shop and wear 2” heels. I did have handicap parking because many times, my ankle would swell up and I could not walk any distance.

Even after the osteotomy, I was able to hike and exercise. However, after five months of strenuous daily hiking up hills, my ankle gave out on the mountain. I had no more cartilage in my ankle. I was lucky that my husband was with me that day – he had to carry me home.

Since then, I have tried everything from bee stings, prolo therapy, and platelet therapy to my ankle. Massages, acupuncture, gait treatment, yoga – nothing has helped.

Twenty years ago, my lower back gave out. Don’t know why, but it was probably due to my leg length discrepancy – the constant “up and down movement of my left leg” puts so much stress on the back. They call it a “facet syndrome”. I had prolo therapy and that seemed to help.

More recently, my right hip hurts most of the time. I saw the best hip doctor in LA – and he said my hip pain is also due to the 2 ½” leg length discrepancy (constant up and down movement) from the. But, he did not suggest surgery to relieve the constant pain there.

I have seen a doctor in Long Beach who strongly urged me to have a leg lengthening surgery. That was rejected immediately – my husband explained the pain and that I was not a young person and would not heal as well, etc.

I saw the top ankle replacement doc in Oakland (also in New York and LA), and they all say I am not a candidate because I needed to have had a normal ankle that was injured.. The NY specialist warned me that the downside risk of a failed ankle replacement is amputation – therefore, if I was ready for amputation, then, I could try an ankle replacement..

About 10 or so years ago, I started using a cane in everyday life, and a wheelchair as needed. I now use a walker everywhere, and am limited to a few steps.

I am now mostly bedridden – I am seeing surgeons who all recommend a fusion. They don’t know on the extent of the fusion. One well trained doctor at Cedars wants to fuse the ankle at 90’, and move my tibia and fibula back an inch.

I don’t think that will work for many reasons – first, I haven’t walked with a 90” for 30 years. Secondly, I don’t have an adult shaped heel. It is tiny, and I doubt it can hold the weight if he moves my leg bones backwards. Thirdly, why would I change my entire gait at age 67?

After reading these blogs, I am so scared about a fusion. It looks like it won’t help me, and only cause a lot of pain, and additional future pain in different places.

Your advice?

2 thoughts on “67 yr old with left club foot – now facing fusion”

  1. I had my L ankle fused at 12. Don’t know why. No one explained then to children. I don’t know if it’s like the one you expect. I can’t move it sideways or up & down-no problem.
    I wish you well. Your experience is so different from mine. I hope you find an exceptional MD & am helped to walk again. Can’t imagine why this happened to you. I use a walker to for rheum. Arth., very bad back, osteoporosis, curvature, little support. Still walking.

    1. Had a fusion last year and one in 1990 both on the right foot. Glad i did. I could hardly walk before the fusion, afterwards i was running,weestling, etc. My ankle was much stronger and less painful afterwards.

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