Batistuta, speaking in a television interview in Argentina, said the pain suffered after retiring in 2005 became so intense that he "urinated in bed with the toilet only a few steps away. I couldn't move."
Batistuta said he visited a doctor he knew, who turned down his request.
"He looked at me and said I was crazy," said the 45-year-old former striker. "I insisted. I couldn't take it anymore."
He said that doctors have placed screws in his ankle, which now help him get around.
"I have no cartilage, no tendons, nothing," he added. "I have 86 kilos (190 pounds) supported by legs."
Batistuta played 78 games for Argentina and appeared in three World Cups, scoring a team-record 56 goals — including 10 in the World Cup.
Known as "Batigol" for his prolific goal scoring ability, he played for River Plate and Boca Juniors at club level in Argentina before moving in 1991 to Italy, where he spent the following 12 years.
Batistuta scored 168 goals in 269 league games for Fiorentina before joining AS Roma in 2000, helping the capital club win the Serie A title and scoring 30 goals in 63 league games.