Avatar universal

Tibial rod, knee pain, removal... So many questions!

Hi everyone,

I'm a 37 year old who broke her right tibia & fibula a year ago yesterday and had a tibial rod fitted, I'm not sure if it's titanium or stainless steel.  I was blessed with a quite quick recover and a few weeks ago even stepped my exercise regime up a notch to high cardio workouts at the gym.

Ever since the rod was put in I have frequent had knee pain.  Not quite constant but there most of the time.  It's worse after exercise, even walking.  I can't do lunges at the gym or I end up in some serious pain.

I also have a lot of discomfort where the screws are fitted.  If anyone touches this area it's so uncomfortable I can hardly bear it.

My specialist indicates that rod removal is something I really should decide on in the very near future.

I've been looking around on the internet trying to make my mind up but I feel just as confused as ever.

I feel like I have so many questions and no really clear answers.

What are the risks of leaving the rod in? Things like avascular nerosis, rebreak complications and similar are scary but what is the likelihood of them happening? What are the real risks later in life if the rod is left in?

If the rod is removed how likely is it that my knee pain going to improve? What's the likelihood of removal helping my knee problems?  And will I really be up and about almost normally in a week?  I have a 1.5" scar where the rod was inserted, how big is this likely to get with removal?  What could go wrong if I get the rod removed?

I'm guessing the discomfort around the screws will go away with their removal.  Is screw removal without rod removal an option? And what would the risk of that be?

I'm sorry to dump so many questions here.  It's just really confusing and scary. I wish someone could just tell me what to do.

Thanks in advance for any advice or experiences anyone can share.

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Avatar universal
I had a rod and screws put in the top and bottom after a nasty break to my tib and fib. I discovered the screws in my Ankle were coming loose so had them removed as I couldn't walk. they offered to take the rod swell but I didn't feel strong enough at the time. however, 6 months after what was a simple surgery, my ankle is still painful, I am sometimes needing crutches and I am having steroid injections, very worried for when these have to stop as they dont seem to have any other solutions. I am now getting knee pain which I didn't before, however, does anyone know if this is worth it? will the pain remain like it has in my ankle and what is the recovery.
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Avatar universal
I fractured my tibia and fibula in December and it felt like I would never get better even after they put a rod, plate and screws in there.  
I had the screws that held the rod in place taken out because I had some pain walking and that really helped.  The incision above my knee to put the rod in the tibia bothered me for a long time and the knee hurt all the time which I didn't expect.  I do think it has gotten better and it has been 9 months since surgery.  I will always feel pains in my ankle and area of the tibia where the fracture was I guess especially when it's raining or cold out.  My other knee has been bothering me a lot lately now also and I wonder if it's because I put more weight on that leg when I was limping.  I can't run yet without some pain and I wonder if it's the rod.  Will this always feel this way?  I exercise and do everything I should be doing to get better.  I wish I felt back to normal.  Is this it?  Could be worse I guess.  :)
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I have an IM rod in my right leg I broke both bones and had to get a plate put in as well. I broke mine the year of 2011 and it's taken many years of continuiously working on it to achieve small steps to having no pain. Although I have not been able to keep with physical therapy I got interested in yoga. Today for the first time in about 2yrs I am hurting so bad I can't walk on it. I did get the removal of the 2 screws on the right side of my knee and on the lower left side of my ankle. I still have IM rod in place thoe  the pain is hard to manige, there are good days. ps. always keep a Cain nearby.
Avatar universal
I have pain at the site of the top screws by the knee.   Did removal of the screws help your symptoms at all?   I am an athlete and I am having pain from the site of the proximal (top) screws up into the back if my knee/ hamstring tendon (inside part behind knee).  Wondering if the screw removal helped you?   I'm 5 months post op.  my bone is healed  I am squatting heavy again, jumping (not very good tho)  Thank you
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I am 14 months post op after tidia rod insertion (spiral fracture) i have had much pain following and struggle with exertion and end up hobbling later in the day if  i do much physical
I have had physio all the time (private thru work luckily) but still have sore places where some of the screws are and tightness/ pain by the side of knee/ hamstrings too
When will it settle down and is it worth having screws removed ?
Avatar universal
I had this surgery in 2010 and it ruined my life.

Constant pain in my knee and ankle.

Orthopedists need to WAKE UP and TELL their patients about the REAL RISKS of these procedures:

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I had a IM rod and 4 screws inserted after a motor vehicle accident in 2005 (i was 17) to help a compound fracture of my left tibia (fibula was fractured but didn't need assistance) and I have had knee and ankle pain since, in my X-rays it looks as though they have allowed for extra growth because of my age at the time of the operation. I had the screws removed after a year of an intense pinching pain at the site of their install. Unfortunately it looks as though I don't have the option of removal. I would have opted for it as well. I would rather have a few extra months recovery than this constant discomfort or pain when exercising. ( so intense I cannot run/ jog or jump)
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Avatar universal

I am a 58 year old woman who suffered a compound fracture of the tibia in my right leg in 2008 as the result of a motor vehicle accident.  I had the titanium rod and plate removed from my leg and ankle after several months and made a full recovery.  My ankle was also freed up during the removal operation and my mobility increased as I had a pinched nerve in my leg from the rod so it was quite a relief.  I then responded much more positively to physio and exercise.  I still have some nerve sensitivity in my ankle and down my leg but it is not intolerable.

Unfortunately in May 2010 I slipped and fell near my swimming pool and sustained tibial plateau fracture of my left leg.  7 months on after having 7 weeks in a wheel chair with non-weight bearing, several months on crutches, I am now dependent on a walking stick but moving much better.  I am having weekly physio sessions and have returned to my personal trainer for strength training.  However, to this day I am still suffering from severe pain in my knee and down my leg where the rod is and wonder if I should have it removed earlier than the 2 years predicted by my surgeon.  I also suffer from low back pain, hamstring and and tightness in the gluteus maximus.  I have adhered to all the stretching exercises prescribed and try to walk as much as possible as sitting is not good for tight glutes/ham strings.  I also work out in my heated pool and go to the beach so I can relax in the salt water.  I regularly take glucosamine tabs, magnesium for cramps and have regular epsom salts baths.  At the moment I am very disillusioned about my recovery but am not one to give up.  

I am considering approaching my surgeon to remove the rod and plate, however, prior to my car accident and fall, I underwent chemo and radiotherapy for breast cancer so have low bone density and am concerned that removal of the rod will put me at risk for further fractures!

Any comments or advice from your personal experiences would be gratefully appreciate.

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