Physical Therapy Rehabilitation for Ankle Fusion

An ankle fusion is a surgical intervention typically performed in cases where the ankle joint experiences deterioration and pain due to a condition known as degenerative arthritis, also referred to as ankle arthrodesis. The primary cause of degenerative arthritis in the ankle comes from a previous ankle fracture. Over time, following a significant fracture, the joint may undergo wear and become painful. Similar to how an imbalanced piece of machinery experiences accelerated wear, a joint that remains unbalanced after healing from a fracture is prone to faster-than-normal degeneration. This gradual process may span several years.

Additionally, various forms of arthritis can contribute to developing a painful ankle joint. For instance, rheumatoid arthritis has the potential to damage the ankle, resulting in joint pain. Recovering from the ankle fusion can be simple.

Immediately After Surgery

After undergoing ankle fusion, it is essential to master walking with fluidity and without any noticeable limp. The recovery duration varies from patient to patient, with an ankle brace generally replacing a cast after eight to 12 weeks. Your surgeon will take regular X-rays to monitor the fusion progress of the bones. During the cast-wearing period, the use of crutches is likely necessary. As the fusion strengthens, you will gradually increase the weight-bearing on your foot while walking.

Special Adjustments to Prepare for Therapy

After the complete healing of the fusion, certain physical therapists might recommend customized shoe adjustments to facilitate walking. One beneficial addition is the SACH foot insert placed inside the shoe, achieving a more natural walking pattern. This insert features a heel cushion that compresses under the foot’s weight, enabling a smoother rolling motion during each step. Another helpful shoe modification is the rocker sole, which is rounded from the standard flat sole. This design allows your foot to roll more naturally while progressing through each step.

Role of Physical Therapy

Your healing journey involves a blend of education, supportive relationships, and a keen understanding of your needs within a comfortable setting. A licensed therapist provides personalized, one-on-one physical therapy and rehabilitation for patients of all age groups in an environment tailored to individual requirements. Recovery from an injury poses both physical and mental challenges, and the combination of staff and patient camaraderie, coupled with our expert clinical knowledge, contributes to a pleasant and highly effective healing process.

State-of-the-art equipment is at your disposal to facilitate your recovery journey. Clinic exercises, designed to push your limits, leave you with a sense of accomplishment after each session—particularly when complemented by the at-home activities prescribed by our therapists. While recovery times may vary, consistent effort will likely lead you back to your usual self in a relatively short period!

Established by Dr. Eung Kwon Kim, Kim Chiropractic & Rehab and First Imaging Center stand as the most enduring chiropractic practice in the Washington metropolitan vicinity. With offices situated in Rockville, MD, Columbia, MD, and Centreville, VA, Dr. Kim’s clinics have been serving the community for over 22 years. His initial clinic in Rockville, MD, opened more than two decades ago, driven by the aspiration to ensure the well-being and pain-free lives of his local community members.