A fusion operation is oftentimes performed to limit painful movement at a certain area or joint. When the joints underneath the ankle are the areas that have degenerated, the type of corrective surgery used to fuse the area is known as a triple arthrodesis or hindfoot fusion. Below, we answer some common questions about why and how the procedure is performed, and what recovery entails.

What is an Arthrodesis Procedure?

Arthrodesis is another word for fusion, so in other words, this is a triple fusion procedure. During the operation, the surgeon will remove the degenerative cartilage from the joint surface and create a bone bridge across the joint. This new bone growth limits movement at the joint, so while the area won’t be as flexible, it’s movement that tends to cause pain, so this procedure helps to limit discomfort.

Which Joints are Addressed?

In a triple arthrodesis procedure, the talonavicular, the subtalar and the calcaneocuboid joints are fused together to create enhanced stability under the ankle.

When is a Triple Arthrodesis Procedure Necessary? 

Because it’s a complex procedure, surgeons don’t typically jump at the opportunity to perform the triple arthrodesis. It’s typically reserved for cases of severe arthritis, hindfoot instability or foot deformities that cannot be corrected with conservative treatment. Foot conditions and malformations that are caused by neuromuscular disorders may also be corrected by a triple arthrodesis procedure.

What Happens During a Triple Arthrodesis?

During surgery, the surgeon makes a small incision on either side of the foot and maneuvers to each joint. Damaged cartilage is then removed, rough surfaces are smoothed out, and defects are addressed as needed. From there, hardware and bone grafts are inserted to stabilize the area and hold it in place while the new bone grows and fuses the three joints together.

Who Should I Choose for my Triple Arthrodesis Procedure?

If a foot deformity or severe arthritis has made you a candidate for a hindfoot fusion procedure, trust your care to a surgical team with a wealth of experience helping patients find a solution to their foot pain. To learn more about what we can do for you and your feet, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today to schedule an appointment.

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