Severe thigh burning sensation and bad cramp in calf after ORIF surgery?

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Hi there. So I recently turned 20 years old, I'm a female (if that could have anything to do with this possibly) and a few months later (June 30th) stepped on a hole and broke my right ankle. Fun, right? ( Not at all!) Anyways, I was taken by ambulance to the hospital and told I'd dislocated my ankle and broke my fibula and medial malleolus (which I believe is part of the tibia?). They realigned my ankle as best they could with the breaks and then sent me home in a cast with crutches. (Oh, how I DESPISE crutches! Thank goodness for walkers!)

I then went in for surgery (ORIF) on July 3rd (3 days after the fall), and had 2 plates and 2 screws (I think,  but I'm just going off what I heard the nurses say while I was half-out of it). The surgeon said that when they opened up my ankle the break was a lot worse than what the x-rays showed, and he said he did the best he could (comforting, right?!). Well, I've always been somewhat of a hypochondriac, and always worry about the slightest twitch and sensation in my body, so once I noticed the couple of things I have going on now, I thought I'd turn to this forum. However, I haven't read of anyone else experiencing these! sad

So, what's happening now, is that when I woke up today (I slept until 5 pm, my sleep schedule is all messed up from meds), I began to feel a tight, somewhat throbbing cramp in my calf - which of course is under my cast and I can't bend it to try and relieve it). I've tried icing it and slowly moving my leg back and forth to no avail. And also, for the past few nights (I actually noticed it the night after surgery I think, but it went and came back), I've had a super intense burning pain in my upper right thigh from the outside of it going back into sort of the buttock area. It hurts so bad when I move to reposition myself and even when lying completely still I can still feel a slight tinge of heat and burning. The best way I can describe it is if you get a rug burn or something on your leg, but it's constant and a lot more painful...

I had thought that maybe it had something to do with the nerve block they gave before my surgery? They injected it into my thigh, I believe, but I know that it wore off because I could definitely notice when it did. Could they have hit a bad nerve or something and accidentally messed it up? Or is this just one of the ways I'm healing from my broken ankle? And do you think the calf muscle cramp is something to worry about as well?

Should I contact the doctor or just wait it out? I have my follow-up in 9 days (July 17th), and I'm hoping everything will be fine then. 

And  please, please, please let me know if you've experienced these pains with a broken ankle!

Thanks so much! 

- EB

(P.S. - Has anyone felt like their cast keeps moving around? Like, I'll lay on my side a little while and then move to my back and it feels like my cast is in the wrong position. It's a plaster cast, I think, and there's a space un-plastered in the middle, and it feels like sometimes that space is on the wrong side from where it was earlier!? (It's a bit uncomfortable...)

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  • Posted

    Hey! smile I’m 20 as well and female. I dislocated my ankle and had the same breaks as you with the addition of a posterior malleolus break as well. I had surgery on May 30 to have plates, screws, and syndesmotic sutures put in. So I’m currently still in the same boat as you smile  I had 2 nerve blocks, one in the side of my knee and one in my groin area. (Ugh) I never had any burning sensations except for when they were wearing off, which was the night of the day I had surgery. I totally don’t want to scare you, and it’s most likely not this, but whenever I had my pre-op appointment they specifically told me to contact them if I had any cramps/burning in my calf specifically because that’s one of the first signs of blood clots. It is probably not that, but I just had to tell you because that is what they told me. But if I were you, to be on the safe side, I would probably contact your doctors office like tomorrow just to see what they say smile oh, and my cast did that at times, and the longer you wear it the bigger it gets. 
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    • Posted

      Oh, and I forgot, i had a burning sensation sort of thing in my hip and thigh area, when I would reposition myself it got better. It felt like my hip was coming out of the joint lol!  It was terrible, but once I started getting brave enough to bend my knee and thighs it went away!! Maybe yours will do the same :-) this whole journey sucks terribly, I’m nearly 2 months in and I’m still non-weight bearing sad  
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    • Posted

      Hi Courtney.  Wow, can’t believe you’re still non-weight bearing. This does suck. You don’t realize how much we take for granted how easy everything is when we are well.  I’m not dealing with any breaks or screws or plates, but I live in a two store house. Talk about a pain!! When I do venture downstairs I have to do things as quickly as possible, & I just got a knee scooter. Praying for your recovery. 

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    • Posted

      Uh I know it Lora. I didn’t realize how much having a “good” ankle to walk around on benefited my life lol. It will take a toll on you emotionally as well, because your so used to doing things yourself and find out that you just can’t anymore. I’m so blessed to have my mama here to help me around though. I appreciate your prayers, and I will pray for you as well, that your pain eases and you recovery smoothly and quickly :-)
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  • Posted

    Help!!!! I just fractured my calcaneus tonight and I am having SEVERE burning in my foot . It feels like I am standing in hot coals. What can I do?
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    • Posted

      What did the hospital do for you? Cast? Boot?? The burning I think is nerve pain. I get it in my ankle a lot. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Jennifer,

      When did you have surgery? I have a trimalleolar fracture and the 2nd day after surgery (at night) I had the exact same sensation. I panicked because the burning pain was unbearable. Unfortunately, I was an hour or so away from my next dose of pain meds so I killed the time sobbing, screaming, and crying. My boyfriend looked up the symptoms at the same time and found that many people had the same burning/foot in the fire sensation when the pain meds were wearing off. When the hour finally passed I downed some more meds and those sufficiently knocked me out - so I don't remember whatever happened to the pain. The following days there would be some more burning but nothing compared to what I had experienced that one night.

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  • Posted

    Wow! I’m no medical expert but the pain in the back of your thigh to your buttocks sounds like your sciatica. Maybe they hit or did something to aggravate it. I would call your doctor with the concerns you have. They might want to see you sooner than 9 days from now. Keep us posted! Praying for you!!
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  • Posted

    I was prescribed these legs inflation things to keep me from getting blood clots in my legs. But I don’t have a “cast”, I have a splint & ace bandage wrapping. I would call the doctor about the calf cramp definitely. 

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  • Posted

    Hiya

    I am injecting every day into my tummy a blood thinner to avoid clots. You best consult your doctor ASAP re the cramp in your calf so as to rule out clots 

    Let us know how you get on

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  • Posted

    About 3 weeks after my ankle surgery, I woke up to severe throbbing and the feeling like my foot was on fire. Couldn't have my foot touch anything. Passed out from the pain (the worst pain I have ever felt). Woke up a few hours later and the pain was gone. Had a surgeon that had no patient skills, so when I came in that same day he just yelled at me for wasting his time. Luckily, my brother is a surgeon as well and he was able to tell me that that was basically my nerves turning back on. Talk to your doctor, If it keeps happening over the next few days you probably want to see the doctor. Otherwise it is probably your nerves turning back on. Hang in there! Hope you feel better soon!

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  • Posted

    Please call your surgeon about the calf pain - highly likely it's nothing but it could be blood clots. I had ankle surgery April last year and was in a cast non weight bearing for 6 weeks and i had a cramping feeling in my calf from the 2nd week, it felt like it was seizing up and i also had a lot of swelling and redness. I got the cast off and 3 days later ended up in hospital with a pulmonary embolism because the pain in my calf was clots that traveled to my lungs when the cast came off. Im a young (20s), fit and healthy female.

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