A fusion is where two or more of the bones in the foot or ankle are joined together using surgery. This is usually achieved with surgery by removing the cartilage from either side of a joint and compressing the two bones together. This is then held using metal devices such as plates and screws.
Fusion is a well established technique for relieving pain from an arthritic joint. Fusions may also be useful if your foot shape is deformed such as in a very severe flat foot.
Common fusions performed by Mr Dawe include: ankle fusion, subtalar fusion, talonavicular fusion, calcaneocuboid fusion, midfoot fusion, tarsometatarsal fusion, naviculocuneiform fusion, pantalar fusion and triple fusion.
Some fusions are achieved using 'open' surgery where a traditional incision is made on the foot/ankle whilst others are performed using keyhole techniques such as arthroscopic ankle fusion.
Doesn't that mean my foot won't move?
No. Your foot will still move, as there are numerous different joints in the foot which helps it move normally. If you have severe arthritis, the joint in question may only be moving very slightly. Fusion will not increase the movement in your foot but the aim is to stop you suffering from the pain of arthritis.
Is this the only option?
No. There are always different ways of treating conditions such as arthritis, including changing your shoes, injections and sometimes other types of surgery such as a cartiva implant or ankle replacement.