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Internal fixation from 7 years ago, painful again.
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Internal fixation from 7 years ago, painful again.

I broke my ankle 7 years ago and I needed an internal fixation operation to attach 12 screws and 1 plate on my tibia and fibula.  Since the operation I have had a normal fuctioning ankle.  I decided to keep the metal work in my ankle as removal involves another operation and I go with the saying "if it aint broke, dont fix it".  Appart from the occasional pain, that is to be expected (in cold weather, after being on my feet for a long time etc), I have been relatievely pain free.

Over the past week or so, I have developed a worrying pain in my leg just above my ankle joint, and exactly where my metal work is.  Its a kind of pulling/tugging sensation.  Very painful!!  It is not really effected by weight bearing, as it throbs while im bed and resting my ankle.  I have not twisted my ankle or had any trauma to this joint.  It looks normal..for my ankle... no swelling, bruising etc.

It feels tender to the touch (painful when I touch that spot of my leg) and I would say "warm to the touch", in comparison to my other normal ankle.  The severe pain is unexplained.  I can hardly walk on it, its so painful.

I went and had the metal work xrayed at the hospital but everything looks normal.  Nothing has displaced. I dont understand then, what has changed and why am I in pain?  Ive been told to keep it warm and rub iburofen gel on it.

Does anyone have any ideas on why suddenly my ankle/lower leg would become so painful?
Is there any chance that an old operation site could get infected with something?
Also, is there anyone who has had their hardware in their ankle for a long time (years) before having it removed?  Please tell me if you have experienced or heard of something similar, or if you are a Dr?

Thanks x x
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1 Comment
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,
In some patients of internal fixation, metal implants can cause irritation to surrounding tissues. This may cause bursitis, tendonitis, or local irritation.This can happen immediately or long after surgery.As it is warm and tender to touch,so the possibility of an infection cannot be ruled out esp if you had any cut or scratch in the vicinity of the area in recent times.So I would suggest that you get an MRI of the area done which gives a fair idea about the soft tissue injury to the area.Then accordingly it can be planned whether the implant needs to be taken out or not.

Hope it helps.Take care and pls do keep me posted on how you are doing or if you have any additional doubts.

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