— Not an actual patient/physician

Joint Replacement Myth #8: Foot or Ankle Joint Fusion

In this mini-article, Dr. Lee discusses patients concerns about having a limp after a joint fusion in the foot or ankle.

Myth: Fusion of foot or ankle joints for arthritis causes a permanent limp.

Response: Foot and ankle arthritis often results in a joint requiring fusion (where 2 or more bones are united). There are simply too many joints in the foot and ankle to have adequate replacements for each joint. However, because the foot has so many joints, fusing one joint often allows the motion to be compensated for through another joint. 

When joints are fused together, the greatest factors that affect a person’s gait are the position the joint is fused in and whether or not a solid fusion occurs. However, there are other factors that could lead to a subsequent limp. Discuss these factors with your doctor.   

Even in cases of severe ankle arthritis, the patient has already learned to walk with the loss of motion in the ankle joint prior to joint fusion.

The goal of these procedures is to repair the joint so that people are able to resume pre-operative activity levels after their fusion while minimizing the risk for continued pain or limp. However, in cases where it’s not possible to restore optimal ankle position, a patient's gait (the way you walk) may be affected and result in a 'limp'.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. Talk to your surgeon about the risks associated with your procedure. You can also find information by clicking one of the links below.

Please let us know how useful this article was to you

Thank you for rating this article.

Here's more you can do

Share Your Story

People like you need to hear that they're not alone. Your story can make a difference in their life.
I Want to Share My Story

Be Informed. Be Prepared!

Sign up for personalized article recommendations in your email.
Get Updates

About Us

Learn more about who we are and our mission of helping patients find balance in their lives.
About Us

Find a Doctor

Search by speciality, location and more. Find the right provider for you.
Find a Doctor