Triple arthrodesis is a surgical procedure performed to correct deformities in the ankle joint caused by arthritis, ankle injury, or certain genetic conditions. This procedure is indicated when all other nonsurgical approaches have been exhausted. It is also used to correct severe cases of flatfoot, high arches, and joint instability due to neuromuscular disease, among other more serious conditions.
The triple arthrodesis surgery involves a fusion of the three main parts of the back of the foot, the calcaneo-cuboid, talonavicular, and subtalar joints, using screws, plates, or staples. After the procedure and the recovery period, a patient experiences significant pain relief and improvement of foot stability.
The procedure begins by positioning the patient in a way that all sides of the foot are clearly visible and accessible to the podiatric surgeon. After that, an anesthetic is administered, and the area is thoroughly cleaned, sterilized, and prepared for the incision.
Triple arthrodesis generally requires two incisions, one on the outside of the boot below the ankle, and another on the inside of the ankle. The joints are examined, cartilage is removed, and any misalignment is corrected. Once prepared, the joints are stabilized into place with hardware, such as screws, staples, or plates. The space between the bones is packed with bone graft where needed. All of this enables a healthy fusion of the three joints over time.
While the patient is still in the operating room, a podiatric surgeon will confirm the proper positioning of the bones with an X-ray scan. The last step of the procedure involves a closure of the incision with sutures or surgical staples, and adequate bandaging. The ankle may be placed in a brace, or a half-cast. During the short hospital stay, the foot will be kept elevated with no weight on it. A walking cast may be required afterwards. Full recovery usually takes up to ten months.