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Rehabilitation

Triple arthodesis recovery

05/11/2009

Question:

I had the triple artodesis surgey in Jan 2009. I am going to physical therapy twice a week and according to the surgeon everything went well and looks good. I am concerned because even though my foot does not look swollen, when I walk it feels swollen. The bottom of my foot feels as if it is swollen every step I take. Walking without the boot is greatly encouraged but it feels very uncomfortable. Is this normal? What can I do to aid my recovery?

Answer:

You are still in the recovery phase of your care and it sounds like you are doing fairly well. The surgery you had fuses three joints and as a result changes the amount of motion you have in your foot. This can take some time to rehabilitate and it is not unusual for this process to take up to a year or more before the function is optimal. What is more important are the specific issues you have with your foot that caused you to have the surgery. During this time it is important to talk with your surgeon to see if your expectations and his/hers are the same, (for example if you expected to be able to run a marathon vs. walk in a park). Even if the surgery went well and the joints are fusing as they should you need to know what your prognosis is now, after the procedure, for the near and then distant future. We cannot predict how the individual will react to a procedure though we do know that the procedure is very effective in most, somewhat effective in others, not effective in a very few and worse in some rare instances.

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Response by:

Jeffrey M Robbins, DPM Jeffrey M Robbins, DPM
Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University