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questions on broken bones in leg/titanium plate/complications?

I have broken bones-titanium plate questions and I would be grateful for your answers and thoughts. on oct 27 I broke my tiba and fibula. Ouch. Had surgery that installed two plates titanium a week later.
The splint they put on was VERY heavy. It started immediately pulling my whole hip and knee out of joint.

A week after the surgery on November 3, they took off my stitches and gave me a boot to wear. Because there was still swelling, they wrapped the affected area including the foot in an ace bandage.

That day, before I came to get the stitches removed, I had not felt much pain at all, and in fact had not taken pain killers. But after the stitch removal and the installation of the bandage and the boot, I started feeling incredible pain. Lots of it. unbearable. I called that night. They told me that is normal. I called the next day, after much back and forth, they were essentially discouraging me from coming in, i decided to come in.

We removed the bandage and saw that everyhwere where the boot had been pushing -- all around the entirety of the foot and ankle, was a big , angry , red bruise. This had not been there before the boot had been put on. I had not even had hardly any swelling fin the ankle or foot.... Now it was very bad.

So, the saturday doc, who was not an orthopedic suergeion and I talked and we decided -- his suggestion -- to give me a light splint and to avoid the boot until the ankle/foot healed. Okay.

So, now, two weeks and some days later, it still hurts like ... quite often. there is edema, and it's not seeming to heal properly. Is it normal for this kind of thing to happen? I hvae friends who think that the foot is now affected and is also having not healing problems, and that the bones may not be healing, either...also, with the weather, it is worse- - that being, it is snowing here today.
please tell me what you think, and if you have had experience like this? What to do?
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replied November 20th, 2011
Especially eHealthy
Jackie200,

Usually, patients will gradually decrease the edema and swelling around the surgical site over time. However, since you are nonweight bearing and doing any range of motion of the ankle, the chances of swelling are much higher. So, it is important that you keep the foot elevated above the heart, and wriggle your toes, as much as possible. Moving the toes will help keep the tendons gliding so they do not scar down, but it also helps pump the blood, lymph, and edema back into the body. As will the elevation. Compression also does this. Ice/heat may be of help.

You first surgical splint was fitted directly to your contours. A fracture boot/brace is one-size-fits-all, so they do not conform to your body shape as well. As such, they commonly have fit problems. It is good that you stood your ground, and went in. There is really no excuse for a patient to develop a pressure sore from immobilization. If the splint/cast/brace/whatever is causing discomfort, it should be looked at, period.

But, that is neither hear not there now, you have to work with what you have now. Most patients will increase their swelling some when the initial surgical splint is taken off and they are more active. Mainly because they are not elevating the foot as much as they did right after the surgery.

If you are allowed to do ankle range of motion, this will help significantly in reducing the edema, in addition to making things a lot easier when you get to begin weight bearing.

If you are taking the light splint off, thats okay, but you should probably keep some compressive wrap around the foot, ankle, leg as long as you have edema. If you have TED hose (like they use in the hospital) or support hose, these also work great for edema.

Bruising, discoloration is expected after a broken bone, and it may not show up completely until about 5 to 7 days after the break. Bone is very vascular (the bone marrow is where the blood cells are made) and bleeds like stink when broken. Then all of the old blood has to be resorbed back into the body. Thus, the discoloration may last up to a month, changing colors every so often.

But, if you still have drainage from the incision or the wounds are not healing well, then you should have them looked at by the surgeon. Peripheral swelling usually affects the wound healing, but the bone is probably doing okay. The only way to know is to have an x-ray of the bone and have the skin inspected.


Keep your foot elevated as much as possible, use a compression wrap of some type, wriggle your toes, and apply ice/heat as needed. See your surgeon if you are concerned.

Good luck. Hope this heals up very soon.
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