removal of hardware - still painful

Posted , 8 users are following.

3 years ago I broke my ankle tibia & fibula. Surgeon put in 7 screws plate and pin. A couple of the screws had loosened and were protruding, so another surgeon took them out. It's been a week ago Thursday, and I am still in alot of pain, no special instruction from surgeon except to wear walking boot when walking alot. But I can't because it hurts, pressure on incision. Does anyone know how long it will hurt or why it hurts so much.

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    I fear you are on the wrong site.  This forum deals with PMR.

    Sorry you are having so much trouble, but I am sure you will get more help from the "bones" forum (assuming there is one that deals with this sort of query).

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  • Posted

    As constance has said - wrong forum for this! I'll report it for you and maybe the moderator can put it somewhere better suited.

    However - I will tell you my experience which may answer your question anyway.

    When you have an operation they cause damage to nerves in the skin when they make the incision. Damaged nerves hurt! It isn't just the line of the scar, it spreads into the surrounding skin which has also been pulled about - which results in bruising. Bruising hurts too and can take some time to heal. 

    Did you just have the screws removed or the plate as well? Removing hardware from a break is at least almost as traumatic as having it put in at the time of the break and I suspect that the nurses and physios would have provided more warning about the pain than the surgeon did and it was they who told me the fact that often it is worse than having it put in! Don't think I remember seeing the surgeon when mine was removed but I suppose I must have. When you had the break I imagine they provided you with considerable pain relief and you wouldn't have been walking and weight-bearing on it at this stage either. That makes a big difference too.

    Before I went into hospital to have the metalwork removed I started taking arnica globules - to please a friend who was sure it would help. It did - according to the physios and nurses on the orthopaedic ward they had never seen anyone with so little bruising post op . Don't ask me why, I was very sceptical but the result spoke for itself. Maybe I'd have been like that anyway, but I doubt it somehow. That might be something you could try - it's alternative medicine but perfectly harmless. Taking the globules would be fine - whether using arnica cream close to a not-yet-healed scar is a good idea is another matter. But once it is fully healed arnica cream is a good way of reducing the bruising, it is a traditional remedy and does work. You may not be able to see much bruising but it will also be there along with swelling below the surface. I bled when I had my flu jab, the doc caught a blood vessel - and it was nearly 5 weeks before the bruise had gone. I didn't use arnica as it didn't hurt but I should have.

    I still have shooting pains in my knee if I try to kneel on it where the scar is - and that is after 20 years! There is also a numb area where the nerves were damaged and haven't healed fully - nerves don't always regenerate after being cut and can remain irritable. I do know people who have to have the lining of ski boots cut away to relieve pressure on an old scar when they have them tight enough to ski in.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much Eileen, your advice has beem enlightening, I forgot about nerves and bruising even if you can't see the bruising, Im sure the bone is bruised as well as the screws had been in for over 3 years. I just didnt expect this. I tore my achilles tendon on other foot, they repaired it in sept. and told me what to expect, I fromed my own expectations on this one. Thanks again
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    • Posted

      You have been in the wars haven't you! I spent 9 months on crutches because of an inflamed achilles, with a boot for a lot of the time, to minimise the risk of tearing it - I really didn't fancy THAT! But having both feet out of commission is a bit greedy - make sure you are waited on now! The holes where the screws were take a few months to fill in - I think my surgeon said 6 months to full strength. I was told I could ski with the plate in but not until it was all healed after it was removed. 

      It'll be fine by the summer! Behave yourself though!

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  • Posted

    Well, my dear, it will be along time.  The feet take ages to heal.

    i had 2 failed Arthrodisis on my right foot and the aftercare the first time was wrong and I weight bore way before time, and the second time, I did exactly as told by a diff surgeon, and my foot was improved but it will never be good. It still swells up and has the most nerve damage and the pain with it. And that goes back quite a few years, like 7-9 somewhere there.

    i don't think the advice about "walking a lot" is good, I would have said lots more rest

    I spent 6 months in a wheel chair both times, and got overweight which I still struggle with because of inactivity, mainly.  I am on elbow crutches permanently, rather than having the right foot amputated above the knee replacement,......what the... No way, I can live on sticks. And I do much more than any able bodied person, stubbornness takes me a long way.😇

    i hope you recover faster than my suggestion, but don't try to rush the foot area, you'll come out worse. 😟

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    • Posted

      I understood Gina's break to be tibia and fibia - so not actually in the foot but the leg, immediately above the ankle, which would be a very different kettle of fish to your ankle fusion where you do have to not weight-bear for a long time.

      My break was also tib and fib but a bit higher up and I was light weight-bearing after a couple of months with the original break. When they removed the metalwork after 15 months though I was weight-bearing immediately. The original break was completely healed and the only problem then is for the screw holes in the bone to heal. That also takes a few months to heal fully and in the meantime the bone is fragile, being effectively thinner than normal. But there is no reason not to walk on it immediately with care and in fact walking on it speeds up the formation of new bone.

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    • Posted

      My break was exactly as you describe yours. Tibia and fibula.  I just had hardware removed 11 weeks ago and I very little pain right after and then no pain and all of a sudden about a week ago I had lots of pain and swelling or I guess pain from the swelling?? I called my doc and the nurse kind of yelled at me and told me just because he released me and told me I could do anything I needed to take it easy and wear my compression sock, ice it and elevate.  I didn't think I was really over doing it???  So I have been doing as instructed with little relief????  I am having lots of pain and it is swelling!!  I'm doing the ice and elevate and if I do not wear the compression sock it kills me to walk.  I'd like to know if this sounds normal???  I'm wondering if I need to see the doctor again???  Thanks for any help.

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    • Posted

      I didn't wear a compression stocking or ice and I just got on with normal activity. How strange. I used arnica - the homeopathic sort - before and during the surgery, had no bruising at all nor pain on mobilising. The nurses were amazed and did tell me that sometimes taking the metalwork out is worse than having it put in!

      But how rude of the nurse - no doubt she has more direct experience of post-op patients than the doctor but still! there is no cause to react like that to a patient. I have to say - I would ask the doctor, because this happened a week after and there may be another problem.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Tam, i am new to these forums but, desperate to find answers to why i am still in so much pain after im rod removal 4 months ago. I broke my tibia and fibula over a year ago and they put in nail and screws at ankle and knee. It eas constant unbearable pain and i had to beg to get first the screws and then the rod removed, so 2 separate surgeries and month long recoveries after each. Pain still really bad on bottom of foot and ankle whether i am walking or even just sitting. I can't seem to find anyone with similar pain specifically in foot and ankle and am worried this is permanent. I wondered if you are in less pain now and if anyone else has a similar situation? Any stories or suggestions would be appreciated. 😂

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