Posted 22 May 2011 - 05:30 PM
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Posted 23 May 2011 - 08:24 AM
I am sorry to hear that your ankle is bad enough to need a fusion. Can you tell us which ankle joint is being considered as needing fusion - the joint that allows up and down movement or the the joint that turns the foot in and out?
What does the xray/MRI report?
What doe the surgeon say about running?
As far as running is concerned, in my experience, I know no runners with a fused major joint in their ankle. Not saying it is impossible, but... Correction, I just thought of a guy I used to run with who had a club foot with the subtalor joint fused. (But he did prefer to mountain bike though).
Posted 23 May 2011 - 11:09 AM
About 3 years ago I was diagnosed with having a fibrous coalition (a fusion caused by soft tissue) between the talus and calcaneus. The fact that it was fibrous gave the joint a limited amount of mobility and meant I was able to run on it with minimal impact. I say minimal in that it didn't directly impact on the area itself, but rather in making slight changes to my gait to what my foot was designed for, resulted in referred pain in other parts of my foot. Throw in the fact that I have very flat feet, it meant the problem wasn't properly diagnosed for a long time. I was born with this deformity in my foot, and the sports doctor said it's not as uncommon as we'd like to think mainly due to misdiagnosis. For me, rolling my ankle badly sent me seeking advice from a sports doctor. It was fortunate that he'd seen this kind of thing before and realising my aches and pains weren't just fallout from my flat feet and reluctance to wear shoes providing a large amount of motion control (they feel like running in bricks to me). He was able to confirm his suspicions with MRI scans.
As far as I know, there are 2 surgical procedures: one to totally fuse the joint, thereby making it rigid, and the other one that attempts to remove the fibrous coalition. I believe I am waaay passed the age (childhood to early adolescence) where such interventions result in success, the reason being the wear and tear at various other parts of the foot caused by the fibrous coalition when one is older would continue to cause pain even when the joint is returned to full mobility, or is made rigid.
I suspect the operation you're thinking of will result in a rigid fusion. I believe it's a very different case to the sort I have (fibrous) so I can't say how it will affect your running. For me, it's been with me all along and I've been able to run a fair bit with it. I'd certainly say that when I was running well, it wasn't the foot that was holding me back! Now, however, I have more issues with the foot, most likely as a result of the fibrous coalition. I still do run but do much less weekly mileage and avoid high intensity speed workouts. I'll still do tempo runs, but keep away from the faster stuff. I do plenty of stuff on the bike (mountain and road), and it's lucky that I really enjoy cycling. It's not the same with the running in that it's hard to see myself setting PBs from here, and I've had to be very conservative with training. However, I'm still trying to figure out what works for me in terms of run/cycle balance and intend to continue running for a while yet!
So I've had to reassess my running goals and expectations but still grateful that I'm able to be active. If I were to do anything different, it would be to have contact with a sports doctor (I haven't followed up on the diagnosis 3 years ago!) to see if there is anything that can be done and also to make sure I'm not doing further damage to myself. I hope all goes well with your operation and future running!
Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:26 PM
Can't find one page of the MRI report but the last page with the conclusion says 1:Evidence of previous trauma. 2:Very substantial osteochondral lesions involving both distal tibia and talar dome with surrounding abnormal marrow signal consistent with bone bruising. 3: Quite extensive scarring is seen around the joint capsule particularly anteriorly.
It is the subtalar joint that would be fused and from what I understand this will allow me a tiny bit of up and down movement.
What does the surgeon say about running??? Of course no!!! I know your condition is not the same, Ernie, but you have given me some hope!! r2w you have also given me hope, thanks.
Posted 23 May 2011 - 10:04 PM
I am wondering if you need more time before deciding on surgery, unless of course you have given it plenty of time and cautious and carefully graded attempts at weight bearing exercise such as walking, faster walking, slow jogging etc. And maybe you have already been down the ankle joint manual and exercise therapy 'road' to no avail; you have not said. Maybe you have had several opinions from different professionals in the field.
I am not saying you would not benefit from a subtalar joint fusion, but maybe surgery is the last resort when everything fails. That could be an overly negative view of surgery, especially since I work as a physio.
Any of the patients I have had over the years who have had ankle fusions (and that is not many) have not been interested in running, mostly older people who want to get a little more mobile.
As a matter of interest I 'googled' ankle fusion running and got not alot, except that running might be possible but it would take a long rehab process.
Posted 24 May 2011 - 09:41 AM
It is not something I will rush into but I am getting sick of being in pain and at this stage the idea of being pain free seems very nice!