Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

When I was a child my right ankle was fused to treat a case of severe flatfoot. Now I have ankle pain. Would a brace help me?

Answer:

Fusion to treat a severe flatfoot deformity is called arthodesis. The bones are line up in a good position and screws, staples, and/or bone graft are used to hold it in place until fusion takes place.

The exact procedure depends on which bones are affected and how far away they are from the normal position. Bracing with an orthosis is usually designed to keep a joint from moving. With a fusion, the joint is already immobile.

The first thing to do is find out what is the cause of your pain. An X-ray will show the status of your fusion. It's possible the fusion has failed and motion is occurring at that site. This could lead to arthritis and may be the cause of your painful symptoms.

In that case, you may be a good candidate for medications, activity modification, or even a joint injection. A custom made orthosis to help realign the ankle and prevent motion may also be helpful. Surgery is a final option if conservative care isn't successful.

Make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist. The first step is having an evaluation and getting a proper diagnosis. Treatment can be decided on the basis of the underlying problem. Yu-Chi Huang, MD, et al. Effects of Ankle-Foot Orthoses on Ankle and Foot Kinematics in Patients with Subtalar Osteoarthritis. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. August 2006. Vol. 87. No. 8. Pp. 1131-1136.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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