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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Could treatment by an osteopath help foot pain? If not who could?

    Related Topic
    I have pain and stiffness also numbness in my foot 4 years after a triple arthrodesis. This was done because of a ruptured posterior tibialis tendon. Physio has helped to increase movement in my ankle somewhat but has not helped with pain, stiffness and numbness.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Anthony Short

    Podiatrist (General)

    Anthony Short BAppSc(Pod) MPod hold both Bachelor and Master level degrees in podiatry, and works in private practice, hospital and educational positions within Brisbane. His ... View Profile

    If you have had a triple arthrodesis, then -as you know - all of the joints in the back part of the foot have been surgical fused. Therefore there should be no movement at all in the back part of the foot, under the ankle. Because of this, there is a tendency for more stress to move to the ankle over time, and for some symptoms to occur here also.

    Numbness is common in the foot after a major surgical procedure of this nature, and is probably unlikely to improve further after four years, unfortunately.

    I would advise seeing a podiatrist to organise an x-ray of the ankle, with view to a Richie Brace or an AFO, as it is likely you need some better stability in the ankle for weight-bearing activities. Perhaps return to the surgeon who did the orginal procedure for a follow-up also.

    Sometimes further surgery or bracing is required for this troublesome condition.

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  • Dr Simon Zilko

    Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Dr Simon Zilko - Foot & Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Simon Zilko is a locally and internationally trained consultant orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in all ... View Profile

    Anthony has provided great advice with regard to the possible need for a Richie Brace or AFO.

    The stiffness in your hindfoot is of course the sequelae of having the triple fusion, but it's likely that adjacent joint arthritis (eg in the ankle joint) can be accelerated after a fusion. In this respect, you should probably see your orthopaedic surgeon again to assess your ankle and the rest of your foot. It's important to determine where your pain is coming from (eg the ankle joint above the hindfoot fusion; the midtarsal joints below the fusion; or possibly from malalignment of the hindfoot secondary to the fusion).

    If your ankle is worn out, an ankle joint replacement may be a possibility which retains motion above the hindfoot fusion.

  • Dr Simon Zilko

    Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Dr Simon Zilko - Foot & Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Simon Zilko is a locally and internationally trained consultant orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in all ... View Profile

    Anthony has provided great advice with regard to the possible need for a Richie Brace or AFO.

    The stiffness in your hindfoot is of course the sequelae of having the triple fusion, but it's likely that adjacent joint arthritis (eg in the ankle joint) can be accelerated after a fusion. In this respect, you should probably see your orthopaedic surgeon again to assess your ankle and the rest of your foot. It's important to determine where your pain is coming from (eg the ankle joint above the hindfoot fusion; the midtarsal joints below the fusion; or possibly from malalignment of the hindfoot secondary to the fusion).

    If your ankle is worn out, an ankle joint replacement may be a possibility which retains motion above the hindfoot fusion.

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