Hello Carole Atherton,
I am happy you are taking care of yourself. You want to be cleared by your doctor for exercise. Then you may want to ask for physical therapy. After that you may continue with a personal training program. A personal trainer will know how to progress you properly.
I prefer getting full range of motion before adding external resistance.
NAPS 2 B Fit
So, you’re asking what exercises to do in order to get fitter, in spite of a joint fusion, rather than how to move your ankle, correct?
Given the choice between a resistance machine and free weights, my choice is typically free weights, as they make you stabilize your spine and trunk, thus contributing more to overall fitness and calorie burn.
Have you thought about swimming? That doesn’t take a lot of ankle mobility, and can give you an overall workout plus calorie burn.