Triple Arthrodesis Treatment

The Foot & Ankle Center
at Modern Orthopedics of New Jersey

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#207, Parsippany, NJ 07054

Triple Arthrodesis is a surgical procedure that fuses together three joints located at the back of the foot. It is typically used to treat severe arthritis or other end-stage foot deformities.

If you are experiencing ongoing pain, swelling, and stiffness in the back portion of your foot (hindfoot) that hasn’t responded to non-surgical treatments, it may be time to discuss with your doctor the Triple Arthrodesis surgery. Learn more about this procedure below.

Understanding Triple Arthrodesis

Triple Arthrodesis surgery is not usually a first-line treatment for hindfoot pain but can be an effective option for more serious cases of joint deformity. As a fusion procedure, it does ultimately reduce the overall range of motion but can provide relief from foot pain when other treatment options are not viable. It is however still a significantly functional fusion that allows for pain free walking once completely healed. 

The Anatomy of Triple Arthrodesis

Made up of 26 bones that come together to form 33 distinct joints, the human foot is a incredibly complex structure. Three joints at the back of the foot, the calcaneocuboid joint, the subtalar joint, and the talonavicular joint, are responsible for side-to-side and up and down movements of the foot.

When these joints are affected by arthritis or other conditions, severe pain and other symptoms can result. Triple Arthrodesis surgery can provide pain relief and improved level of functionality in cases where more conservative approaches have proven ineffective.

Indications for Triple Arthrodesis

Triple Arthrodesis surgery may be indicated in cases where arthritis or foot deformities have caused severe loss of cartilage and soft tissue structures in and around the subtalar, calcaneocuboid, and talonavicular joints. Persistent symptoms that have not responded to non-surgical treatment options may include:

  • Severe pain, swelling, and stiffness in the back of the foot that impacts daily activities and overall quality of life
  • Inability to walk comfortably
  • Joint instability where you feel your limb is about to give out on you


Diagnostic Procedures for Conditions Requiring Triple Arthrodesis

To determine whether or not a Triple Arthrodesis may be the best treatment option for your particular situation, your surgeon will carefully consider your medical history and the outcomes of any other treatment approaches you have already tried. Patients with severe arthritis, foot deformities, or joint instability as a result of neurological conditions are often candidates for the procedure.

To get a clearer picture of your joints’ condition, your surgeon may also order X-rays or a CT or MRI scan.

In some cases, a diagnostic block assessing the specific joint of concern may be of important pre operative planning.

Surgical Approach to Triple Arthrodesis

Triple Arthrodesis surgery is performed under local and/or general anesthesia. Your foot surgeon will make two incisions in order to access the joints, remove damaged cartilage, realign the bones, fuse them with bone graft, and fixate them with screws and/or plates. In some cases, a Double Arthrodesis or isolated procedure may be sufficient.


Frequently Asked Questions

When Is Triple Arthrodesis Necessary?

Triple Arthrodesis foot surgery may be necessary if hindfoot pain is severe and ongoing and other treatment approaches are unviable or have been ineffective.

What Is the Recovery Process Following Triple Arthrodesis Surgery?

Following a Triple Arthrodesis procedure, you will be placed in a splint or special boot and may need to use a knee scooter or crutches for a period of time. You will be required to rest and keep your leg elevated, and your surgeon will prescribe or recommend pain relievers to manage post-operative pain.

What Is the Timeframe for Healing After Triple Arthrodesis?

The total healing time after Triple Arthrodesis will depend on a variety of factors. Usually, patients can return to work between 12-14 weeks after surgery and will continue physical therapy for several more months. Full recovery and rehabilitation spans somewhere between 6 months and 1 year.

What Are the Risks and Complications of Triple Arthrodesis Surgery?

Complications of Triple Arthrodesis surgery can include infection, nerve injury, and non-union of the fusion site. Speak with your foot and ankle surgeon for more details.

Consultation with a Foot & Ankle Specialist for Triple Arthrodesis

Ready to address chronic hindfoot pain and instability? A world-class Foot & Ankle Surgeon at Modern Orthopaedics of New Jersey is ready to help. Call our clinic today to book your initial appointment!

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