2 week Post-ORIF; Got cast off and boot on, now I'm having BURNING pain!

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi there! I'm 20, and broke my tibia and medial malleolus fairly badly on June 30th. I had surgery on July 3rd and was put in a plaster cast. I just got back from my 2-week post-op appointment to see how I'm progressing. The x-rays looked good, and they removed my staples (ouch!). Thankfully, I didn't have to get a fiberglass cast or anything, and they just moved me into an air-boot (I think that's what it is, I mean, it has an air pump thingy built into it?) Well, everything was going fine until I got home and sat/lay down. The incision sites are covered with a few strips of tape, but they are burning/stinging like NO OTHER. It's almost worse pain than when I broke the ankle itself! Is this normal? And does it subside after awhile? 

I'm still NWB and will be for a few more weeks, but I'm allowed to take the boot off to shower and just while laying around to do light ankle exercises (like moving my toes up and down and moving my ankle back and forth). I have to sleep with the boot on though, of course. 

But the burning/stinging pain in my ankle where the incisions are is almost unbearable! It makes me wince and literally makes my leg/ankle muscles spaz (which doesn't help!) I've tried deflating the boot and also putting as much air in it as possible, but neither one is better.

Has anyone else experienced this much pain with a boot? Will it go away and if so, when?! This is terrible! sad

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    I don't think when I had that it was most excruciatingly like you're talkin but it did feel like a bug with stinging me and I would actually feel it moving and everything but I don't know what it was but everybody says it's normal but the pain I have now is way more I feel like I broke my ankle again and I don't know what to do

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    • Posted

      Thanks for responding! Yeah, I think I might be a little over-dramatic with describing the pain, but it really hurts none the less! And oh no! Maybe try calling in to your doctor and letting them know you're worried you broke your ankle again, I'm sure they'd be understanding and help you! I hope everything goes well! smile

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  • Posted

    Yes, unfortunately, burn and burn. In cast and boot I had that sensation. I don't think there is a time frame for it to stop, but it's normal.  I'm 14 weeks and all of a sudden at times I get a sharp sting, but the constant burn did fade many weeks ago. If you have pain meds, I would take them. I know for me ibuprofen and Tylenol didn't touch my pain at the time. I'm sorry, it sucks, hard to endure pain like that.

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    • Posted

      Aww, I was hoping it would be just a 24-48 hour thing, but I guess not! Oh well, it could always be worse! I have some Oxycontin and Percocet left but I haven't taken either of them for a little over a week now since I haven't needed it. I might try some Ibuprofen or Tylenol just to see if it helps, and then go from there. Thanks for responding! (:

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    • Posted

      I know I was off pain killers, then things would get bad. I haven't had any in quite a long time, it does improve with time! And ice pack helped pain so much, even if u just open the boot and let it rest inside, lots of relief. :-)

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  • Posted

    I had the exact same issue about 18 hours after I started wearing the boot. Excruciating pain, burning, stinging. Hurt worse than getting recast or breaking my ankle! And this was supposed to be the thing that helped me get better! I couldn’t keep it on. We tried every kind of cushion—a sock in half over the incisions, gel cushions, etc. finally what worked was a doubled up gauze of put on with medical tape. 

    It will get better as your incisions heal, or at least mine did. I kept the boot off as much as possible (which meant I didn’t move much at all—spent two days just in bed with my bare ankle elevated, only putting the boot on when I had to go to the bathroom) and then finally with my incisions healed more and the cushion of the gauze I was able to wear it on the third day and have been able to for the two weeks since.

    Good luck! It only gets better from here. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks for responding! Yeah, I've thought about maybe taking it off and just airing it out for awhile (the boot is also really hot and heavy and my foot is sweating!) but I worry I'd move wrong and mess my ankle up again or even get an infection! I might try to take my ankle out here in a little bit to see if it helps. Hope everything goes smoothly here on out for you! (:

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    • Posted

      Yeah, I was definitely terrified to take the boot off for the first time (totally sobbed about it) but I had to because it hurt so much pressing on my incision. I slept in it for the first couple nights and then as I got more confident that was out the window too. Now I have it off any time I’m sitting or laying around and it allows me to work on my RoM. At this point (3 weeks from the switch to a boot) I can wear it without much discomfort at all. You can do this! 
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  • Posted

    I had some nerve and sore pain. But I had a dry dressing to cover wounds until really healed. Are you wearing to internal sock, white fleece thing? It may be hot but it protects. The boot has foamy nylon lining and you do get hot in it which makes it feel worse. It will get better. Take mild painkillers no need to struggle. Once the pain subsides enjoy the time in your boot. You can do masses and it is protected. Keep in touch.
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    • Posted

      Yes, they put a little nylon "sock" thing on my ankle, it goes up to a little under my knee. But boy, oh boy, it is hot! I will take a painkiller to see if it helps, and I might try just opening up the boot to let it air out a bit. Thanks for the help! (:

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  • Posted

    Oh the burn!!!!!!!

    Yes, I still feel it but not as bad.  Mine had a lot to do with elevation.  If I elevated my leg as much as possible it helped alleviate the burn.  But pain meds really do help. Don’t be ashamed to take them.  Especially if you need sleep.  Also the lining of the boot was synthetic and would catch and pull on my stitches.  It also pulled off that useless tape they put on me when they removed my stitches.  My doc let me sleep without the boot but that is me, I wrapped ankle in ace bandage and elevated it. Alternating with the other ankle (I broke both) take care! I just posted ideas and tips for non weight bearing folks! Feel free to read and add to it.

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    • Posted

      Oh gosh! I can’t imagine breaking BOTH ankles! You must be so strong (emotionally and physically!). But yes, I’ve been elevating it whenever I lie down and that seems to illeviate some of the pain (I think, haha). I’d really like to ice it but I worry I’ll mess something up with the wound (I’m paranoid, lol). Thanks for the suggestions! (:
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    • Posted

      The ice is hard to do.  My daughter mixed a bag with 1 part rubbing alcohol and 2 parts water.  It froze into a slushee type mixture.  This conformed to my ankle better but I still needed to wrap an ace bandage around it to keep it in place. 10-15 min every 4 hours.  It helped but was a lot of trouble.  You could try putting it on the side opposite your stitches. Just an idea.  Take care of yourself. 
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