I'm a stay-at-home mom with four children. After I broke my ankle, I had to decide whether to have surgery to remove the plate and screws.
Broken Ankle Screw and Plate Removal: Is It a Good Idea?
I broke my ankle in 2007. After the orthopedic surgeon fixed the fracture with a plate and screws, I asked him if, at some future point in time, I would have to have the plate and screws removed. He said it was up to me.
On the other hand, the physical therapist told me it was a good idea to have them removed because as you get older, they will cause pain and arthritis.
I have been putting off making a decision because, let's face it, who wants to go through another surgery? I decided to do some research to help me make my decision. Read on to learn what I found out.
What I Learned
I read that, in some cases, when screws were left in the leg, one or two wormed their way out and started poking through the skin.
Some people leave in the hardware; then, the metal messes up the bones years later, causing problems.
Here is one story in which that happened: A friend broke his ankle and left the hardware there. Ten years after the injury, he decided to get it removed because it was causing him problems. Now, he is over 50 years old and can barely walk a mile. He said that the screws did eventually mess up his bones and wishes that he got it removed when he was younger.
I also read that leaving the hardware in actually weakens your bone because the screws break up the bone's mass. The bone can rely on them too much, potentially preventing the bone from growing as strong as it could. I've read this on different websites, so I don't know any of this for fact—just learning from others.
Then I read many stories of people who leave in the hardware without pain or problems. However, how long has it been? Will they stay problem free? This is what worries me. I don't want to wait and then have problems after the damage is done or when I am older and will have a harder time healing.
I think that if I had pain or irritation in the area of my plate and screws, I would have them removed. It would be an easy decision. I am not having any problems, so even though some sites recommend removing them, it's very hard for me to make that decision. I do not feel like going through the pain of the surgery. However, most sites seem to recommend it. So I feel I should talk to a doctor about having them removed. What do you all think? I added a discussion module below so that, hopefully, I can get some help from others.
Here Are Some Sites I Found Helpful—Information and Opinions on Hardware Removal
- Remove the screws from ankle, or not? | Welcome to the Homesteading Today Forum and Community!
I'm asking this for my sister, who doesn't have internet access. She broke her ankle last June, and had a plate and screws put into the bone to...
- Should I Have My Plate and Screws Removed?
This site is about a wrist fracture, but it was one of the sites I found to be helpful because it listed reasons to have the hardware removed.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Have You Had Your Plate or Screws Removed? Do You Think You Will? What Did Your Doctor Tell You? Do They Cause You Pain? Why Leave Them? Why Have Them Removed?
Gloria J Woodward on July 07, 2020:
I had a badly broken ankle and they didn't know if they could save my foot or not, but I had a great surgeon and he saved it. That was 3 years ago. For the last 3 or 4 months, it has been hurting and getting worse, but the last time I sen him he said I hope you can keep that plate and 14 screws in there as long as you live. So I was uneasy going in to see him and he ex rayed my ankle and brought the pictures into the room and said just look at this! It is perfect you can't even tell it has been broken except for and the armor it's got screwed into it and I said so what are you saying? He said let's take it out before it starts hurting worse because it will because there are three screws that have worked their way out quite a bit! BUT the best thing is how great your ankle looks and it is totally healed. So there is no reason you should keep it in there. I'm scheduled to have it removed on July 17th at 10:30 am and he said there would not be any pain after the metal was removed. If you would like I can give you an up date as how my surgery went .
Read More From Patientslounge
DG on December 03, 2019:
I broke my ankle and had a plate and 11 screws August 2108.
I was getting my wound attended to by HITH nurses and was surprised when one of them asked it I had metal in my ankle. I said yes, and she said she could see it. That kind of freaked me out a bit! The bottom 2 stitches didn't seal the wound properly.
Another nurse took a swab and it came back positive for MRSA.
I went to see the surgeon who wasn't happy I'd had it swabbed.I felt ripped off as it wasn't my fault the wound wasn't sealed properly post surgery!
I had to go for a 2nd operation in November 2108, a wound debridement, where one of the screws was also removed.
The wound could finally start healing.
Once the wound healed, I still found I had constant pain in my ankle.
I went to see the surgeon again about July 2019 and was told that some people just react to the metal and I could get the hardware removed whenever I wanted.
I had the metal removed 6 days ago. The post op pain isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I'm being good and staying off it and doing my exercises regularly. Hopefully it's healing well and the ankle will feel better once healed.
Looking forward to not feeling the metal in it!
Franca on June 12, 2019:
I had ankle surgery March 6, 2019 with 6 screws and a plate. Omg the pain is ongoing and often unbearable. Will it ever end? Is this the result of the hardware grinding against soft tissue? It’s really getting on my nerves and I’m ready to blow my brains out. How are you all dealing with the pain?
Suzy Akn on April 12, 2019:
I have seven screws and a plate in my Leg and top two screws are broken off. The Drs. Are reviewing it to decide what to do. How do they remove a screw when the top of it is broken off and the remaining part is in the bone
Nomorestilettos on March 25, 2019:
Just wanted to say thank you to Dawnsantiquesan for posting an opening for discussion as well as thanking everyone for sharing and helping others. I too am trying to decide. I had a tri pin, plate/screws in May 2017 and made a routine recovery with mobility appearing to be progressing with only some slight stiffness when getting going and slight limits being unable to jump at Zumba. I am a Nurse and was happy to go with the opinion of the surgeon which was to leave the hardware alone. However after a year I was accepting that my progress back to full recovery was unlikely but I was at least not worsening and could go about my activities of daily living without significant limitations. Increased use would cause pain in the tibial shaft about 4-6 inches up from the ankle joint itself. No pain in the joint and I’d get slight bruising overnight in the calf muscle along the lower end of the tibia with increased stiffness again for a brief spell. I could feel the end of one nail but it didn’t bother me apart from when choosing shoes so they didn’t catch. I did ask for an appointment to discuss hardware removal but was ambivalent at first. The pain has significantly worsened in the last 6 months which is impacting upon all aspects of daily living causing me to avoid activity, socials, travel and gain weight. I started to read research. Professionally divsed questionaires assess difficulty climbing stairs and omit to assess going down. I have more problems going down so it was a relief when some others identify the same. Professionals take note. Shockingly, one piece of research in 2015 identified a lack of research into the patient’s perspective about hardware removal and found 90% + would do it again and recommend to others. If the manufacturers sell the hardware products on simplicity because it can stay in, but there is a lack of research then I wonder how much suffering isn’t being researched too? I’d be really pleased to hear from anyone who’d be willing to share mores ‘outcomes’ of the “to remove or not remove” decision. Locally, we have a new Orthopaedic Consultant who has offered me an appointment so I go tomorrow. Maybe he read the research ... I’ll try to update this.
Amanda Garcia on August 02, 2018:
Hello all. I read over all the posts and they were helpful, but I wanted to tell my story and see your thoughts. I am a 28 year old female. I was ran over by a car and had Open Reduction Internal Fixation Surgery on my left medial ankle in 8/2011 which resulted in 2 screws and one plate. As a result from the surgery, I got MRSA and then had to get anther I&D (incision and drainage) sugery later in 8/2011 to clear out MRSA. An intravenous PIC line was put in where Vancomycin was administered for a month to clear out infection. This all led me to have a large open wound that I had to keep open post surgery then pack wet to dry with gauze and saline for 2 months until the tissue grew back in. Once wound had closed (which is rather large), I did physical therapy for 4 months after and got most of my mobility and range of motion back. I now have a depressed contracted adherent scar over my left medial malleolus. Althought, the surrounding tissue is supple and mobile, and my left leg peripheral pulses are full. The impression of the scar is poor quality. I saw a plastic surgeon in 2012 concerned of the location of the scar who told me that the scar was over a bony prominence that will be prone to breakdown in the future. He said that light trauma could damage the skin and result in bone exposure. He said it would be easier to remove the scar and resurface the mallelus with a proximally based rotational flap while adjacent tissue is healthy and I am young with good blood supply. Although, he did also say complicatons come with flap coverage which include infection, skin loss, and need for more complex surgery to gain optimum closure. The look of the scar is not what is bothering me. What concerns me is that it is prone to breakdown. Over the last few years there has been swelling on a regular basis within my ankle, especially after working out. I know this is common and did not bother me much until I started to get pain. In past 2 years, if standing on it for a long period of time or engaging in a very strenous activiity, I will have sharp shooting pains that only last a few minutes (which I was fine with and dealt with). I have always been somewhat active but within the past 6 months have become more active than normal. I go to Orange Theory Fitness (interval training cross fit type class) 4 to 5 times a week. I have been doing interval runs at high speeds, but only for short periods of time (anywhere between one minute and 20 minutes). Within last 2 months, I have had a dull aching pain in my ankle that feels constant and is no longer random. Now everytime I do intense weight bearing activity, it aches and then swells after. Since the pain has become so constant, I went to see an orthopedic surgeon yesterday, 3/15/16 (5 years after surgery) to get a follow up XRAY to see if there was any misplacement of hardware or anything he would see immediatly wrong. The surgeon said he does not see much movement of screws, but can feel the back of the screw through the scar, which is okay. He does not think it will puncture the skin in future but can't say for sure. He recommended that I get hardware taken out eventually if I want pain to discontinue, but said its up to me. From what I have read sometimes that does not even happen. He also suggested if I ever got the screws taken out to have him and plastic surgeon work concurrently in operating room to insure that the wound is closed appropriately for best healing because of the poor quality of the scar and all the trauma there has been to that area in the past. I don't know what to do. I am so paranoid I will have a MRSA issue again or I am scared that if I am cut open again, my wound is not going to heal correctly and then I will need more complex surgery to full closure. Please let me know if anyone has had any issue such as myself and what they think I should do. I am sure I should lay off the ankle in regards to intense physical activity, but it is extremely frustrating. Maybe if I did the bike instead of treadmill, it would help a little. But I am assuming I will still get the pain. Thank you
JanineJoyce21@gmail.com on July 13, 2018:
I broke my Ankle and both tibia and fibula in 2009 in my left leg. I have 2 plates and 15 screws. It is July 2018 now. And I haven’t had my plates removed or screws. I just broke my tibia and my fibula in my right leg this time my ankle wasn’t in this surgery. The left leg my bones were all splinter up in my ankle. This time it just the bones right above my ankle. I have 2 plates and 19 screws in my right leg. The pain was bad both times. I actually feel like it’s healing faster. But this time I had blisters everywhere all over my foot and leg. On my left leg that broke in 09. I have 2 screws backing out. Which have been for the past 7 years. The dr on my first surgery in 09 said that I needed them removed in a year. But I never took them out. From being scared. So I’m in the same situation. Not knowing what to do. Thank you so much for posting this. Also my staples are due to being taking out. And it itches so bad all over. Is there a spray or cream that is recommended. I also have been using hemorrhoid spray, because the can says that relives, itching. Burning, swollen skin. Lol but it really works for a short time. And it has 50% witch Hazel in it. I’m guessing that’s an disinfectant. Because it’s sold right beside the rubbing alcohol in the stores. Also Dermoplast my cousin brought me a spray can of it. From when she just has a baby. And it also works good also. So if anyone can. Please give me so advice to decide what I should do also. Thanks again Janine Joyce email: JanineJoyce21@gmail.com.
Laura on May 14, 2018:
Going back to the dr. in July 2018... he advises to get my screw out of my fibula. I'm doing PT myself... and it is stiff, hurts and swells if I'm on my feet for too long. Many people advising me to have it taken out. I watched some youtube videos on the surgery, its going to be in office not out of the hospital. Wish me luck! I'm going for it!
Mirtha on April 19, 2018:
I have my apt in May 3th to remove my screws after 4 months surgery with a broken ankle. I hope that a good decision. I can move on with that pain
Susan on April 01, 2018:
I had broke my ankle in 3 places.2 Plates and 17 screws on both sides of right ankle. I had them removed 9 months later bc of fever. Its been 25 years ago. Im hurting so much from arthritis. Im looking at a possibilty of ankle replacement. Ankle problems have changed me and what I enjoyed doing. Had to quit a job bc of the pain. I would recommend remocing screws and plates though. My fever stopped. Just have had an ugly ankle. Miss my cute shoes.
Mary Flatley on February 21, 2018:
I'm on list to have screws and plate removed after 2 years. dont know if it's right decision
causing me some pain.
Pat on December 16, 2017:
My advice, have your hardware out. I had both ankles with hardware, had it all out.
Darcel on December 16, 2017:
Everything I've read from people who have had the hardware removed is positive, I'm going have mine removed in a couple of weeks. Not looking forward to more surgery but so looking forward to this pain to be done with and getting back to life!
Gonfishin on December 02, 2017:
So I just had my hardware removed on Nov 10,2017.. 3 weeks ago.
All I can say is WOW...why did I wait so long. Just like that, my pain is gone.
As I said before, i broke my ankle Aug 14,2015, a bi-malleolar fracture requiring 2 long screws on the tibia and a plate and 6 screws on the fibia.
After 2 years, I would say there was always a constant pain in my ankle, almost similar to a toothache. At first my surgeon tried to urge me to not get it done, that the pain would go away.. i was quite sure it was the plate causing the pain.
Sure there's risks.. but 3 weeks after removal.. the pain is gone..and I'm looking forward to living with this plate out of my ankle..
Beverly Cameron on November 30, 2017:
My mom b4oke her ankle really bad had to have a rod and a plate pit in. Now after a year or more she complains all the time of it hurting and swelling. She has a weird feeling in bottom of her foot she explains it like a rubber ball. Should she have plate or rods removed. Constantly hurts
Charlotte on November 07, 2017:
I've had mine for 18 years, it's only now causing problems, but after two months i'm begging to have it removed. I've been told it would be classed as elective surgery. I cannot sleep, i'm in pain constantly, using crutches, can't sit for longer than 10 minutes, and they call it elective?!?!?
broke my tibia and fibula in my ankle on July 18th. on October 28, 2017:
Had an infection with stitches on the inside trying to come out. Went on Antibiotics. Then it healed and started PT in Sept 2017 and half way thru October 2017 My ankle started bleeding. This time it became an open wound. I went to a wound specialist trying for it not to get infected. A week after I saw wound specialist, she sent me back to my orthopedic dr. who was out of town and it was a Friday. So Monday I go in and he has already scheduled the OR for me to get plate removed and clean out infection. I was told I had to stay in the hospital 3 nights to get IV antibiotics. BTW Smoking is very very bad if you have an infection.
I am home now and he gave me a boot, to walk with crutches. I can walk without the boot. Was wondering how important is the boot. I had good PT in Sept! Not in any pain except at the end of the day an I take xs Tylenol is all I need.
Tracey on October 09, 2017:
I broke my ankle 10yrs ago, I am I, tons of pain daily, the plates are starting protrude from ankle, I want them removed but my regular Dr won't even acknowledge the problem..
Jason on October 04, 2017:
I also broke my ankle in 2007. Here I am 10 years later and it's starting to cause me pain on a daily basis. I know I'm going to need surgery as I'm pretty sure a screw is starting to back out. I wish I would have done it sooner. Good luck.
Monique on September 27, 2017:
I broke my ankle in 2000 and have a plate and 4 screws on my outer right ankle. Only a few times since then has my ankle ached/throbbed. And seemed to correspond with incoming bad weather. I was told that the hardware would never be removed and could possibly cause arthritis! I’m almost 50 and lately my ankle has been aching pretty badly. I’m told that hardware is fine and would have to put up with the aching; taking Advil helps. Getting old can suck!
Gonfishin on September 24, 2017:
Javier... Sounds like I had the same injury. I had 2 screws on the Tibia, and a plate and 6 screws on the fibia. I broke it on Aug 14, 2015 and was able to start walking Sept 28, by October 12 I was walking with a cane.
The ankle was very stiff for few months.. walking uneven sidewalks and trails were treacherous and the odd ankle twist was painful.. I'd honestly say I was walking very weak up to January.
One year later I would day I'm 90 percent.
Two years now and I'll be getting the hardware removed on Nov 07,2017. For me, the pain is always there. Hopefully the hardware removal will help.
Javier on September 12, 2017:
Hi, I'm 24 now i also break my Left Ankle 2weeks ago I had my surgery 4days after the injury the doc placed a plate and 6 screws in, I'm feeling pains can't sleep at night I still haven't remove the stitches off left with some few day, I face difficulties to rotate my leg I'm afraid my ankle will remain stiff :(, who face the same problem?
Kay on September 04, 2017:
I broke my ankle 3weeks ago I had a conpound fracture I have a plate on the right side and 16 screws it is very pain full and aches alot I got my stiches out last week,y Dr will not me put any weight on it till end of October. I,d like to hear ftom.othets this has happened too.
Samantha on September 01, 2017:
Oh also my primary physician has told me i can & should get the metal removed. They have caused pain on & off for years since 2008 especially if i do not keep 2 VERY GOOD VERY EXPENSIVE PAIRS OF (women's Hoka) SHOES TO ROTATE WEARING THROUGHOUT AN 8 HOUR WORK DAY AND THAT USUALLY ONLY LASTS 5-6 MONTHS TOPS. I swear i could've probably covered the surgery w/ the $$ I've spent on shoes for work so far;) (been at same job 5yrs) So i say yes remove them %100 when you can bc u dont want to risk waiting until its too late or something.
Samantha on September 01, 2017:
I vote you should. Iam actually in the middle of the same predicament myself & reading your story, research, & everyones comments on the subject has helped me make my mind up to go ahead & see if i can get my screws/pins removed from my right heel bone. I have an enormous amount of hardware in my foot from a crushed calcaneus (heel bone for the none medical) that occurred only 1 year after yours..2008. I spent my 21st bday in a cast & everything. Now here iam about to turn 30 having trouble so much so ive had to take a medical leave from work due to an ulser caused from pressure & friction. One of the screws underneath my ankle seems to have shifted so its rubbing up against my tennis shoes from like the inside. This gets especially painful when trying to perform my work duties. I work as a sales floor associate in the house wares dept of walmart so..yea;) It's even started bothering me when iam just at home cleaning doing laundry in my flip flops. I believe the recent pain& aggravation was brought on from a recent car accident i was involved in on 7/7/17 i was cut off while driving to work though i was lucky enough to survive with no broken bones i feel the trauma from the impact has caused me to have more issues than i normally would bc the screw has actually shifted. I say do it while your young so recovery is hopefully swift;) Goodluck!!
Miss S P Davis on August 31, 2017:
I have plates both sides of my leg and screws at ankle joint kinda joining tibia and fibia at the bottom. It's been ten years. I am 51. I get a little pain along the leg and ankle but it bearable. Ankle is always swollen. I get around but can't run. I can live with that. I don't want to risk infection from surgery when they take it all out. How long will it take to heal, will I have more flexibility after so long, how strong will my bones be. Will I still have the arthritis anyway. I think a lot depends on the severity of the injury, how old you were then it happened and your initial treatment to fix it.
Thanks ,but no thanks, I think I will keep my hardware. No surgery for me.
Wishing all the best
NWest on August 28, 2017:
I was talked into it by one dr and talked out of it as I was going into surgery. Within days the screws broke and I can't walk, I have cellulitis. I am a diabetic and very nervous about having to have my foot amputated. I vote for having screws removed. I am so nervous right now as I am going to see another surgeon.
FeelYourPain on August 16, 2017:
I'm a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom of two boys. I was in a freak accident and had a clean break in my fibula, dislocated my foot (it was dangling), and tore up all the ligaments/tendons/etc. I had ORIF surgery on my older sons 3rd birthday, (he's turning 7 in 5 days - which is also the 4 year anniversary of my surgery). They put a metal plate, 6 small screws, and a very long screw that went through my entire ankle (fibula and tibia). It was an extremely long and tough road to recovery, and just like you, I researched hardware removal and the pros/cons. I didn't hesitate to let my surgeon know that I was uncomfortable with it. I requested and scheduled the hardware removal surgery 4 months after my initial surgery. I can tell you without hesitation, that it was the best decision I ever made. With lots of hard work and determination, I was RUNNING again after exactly 1 year! I instantly felt relief when the metal was out. Now I don't have to worry about any issues in the future with the metal.
Surjit Grewal on August 11, 2017:
25 years back, my ankle was fixed with 14 screws, after one year they were removed, now my foot bothers me, standing and walking is painful. I am 72 now.
Flo on August 07, 2017:
I had my steel plate and screws Since 1999 it a long time so I think I should have them remove .
Aida haj ali on August 03, 2017:
I had two screws in my ankle five months ago and i am planning to remove them this september.it hurts when i walk n i could feel the top of the screw with my hand. The surgery as my doctor told me will take ten minutes with three stitches only. I ll post it after the surgery
Lori on July 25, 2017:
Hi everyone I broke and shattered my ankle 10 years ago and 2 of my screws started to come through my ankle so July 19th of 2017 I had all my screws and plate taken out and day 4 I started walking a little at a time and my ankle feels pretty good but empty I don't have any thing rubbing through the skin anymore so this was a good move I made by having them takin out so my advice is if it bothers you please have them takin out thank you for reading this
email@example.com on July 24, 2017:
This finally decided the question of should I take the 2 screws out of my broken ankle. I had already decided, based on an orthopedic doctor recommendation to just leave them in. But then I heard from a friend, who knows a physician who went in for surgery to have his screws removed . He got an infection from the 2nd surgery and had to have his lower leg amputated. That is the ultimate deciding factor. Do not have another surgery !!!
jbers on July 23, 2017:
My wife broke her ankle in 2008 (nine years ago) and had a plate and six screws installed. After the surgery the surgeon advised her not to have the hardware removed, so she didn't. Understandably her ankle hasn't been 100% and when the weather changed she would have pain. My wife is now 59 years old and for the past couple of years her ankle/foot has been sore all the time and more frequently she is having severe pain,to the point of crying. She recently went back to the surgeon and had it x-rayed, and found that a couple of the screws may be backing out and she has developed arthritis. She was also told that it is possible that the plate could be pinching a nerve. The surgeon told her that removing the hardware may alleviate some of the pain and the ankle would be weak until the bone filled back in, which would take a while since the hardware has been in for so long. She is very afraid to have surgery due to the normal potential complications that can happen with surgery, and doesn't want to unless it's absolutely necessary . She can't go on like this, and while I understand her fears, I'm trying to encourage her to have it removed. For anyone debating to have your hardware removed or not, I would definitely do it. Better to get it over with than to potentially go through years of discomfort and end up having to have it removed anyway.
Sam210 on July 14, 2017:
I broke my ankle in 1993 I had 10 screws two pins and a plate holding it together. I ask the surgeon how long do they stay in and he said until they became symptomatic. Well 7 years later I felt some discomfort one day and Looked down to see blood on my sock. I went to the hospital and had them removed. For the most part I have been fine but every once and I while I get a flare up and it swells up making it difficult to walk. I take Motrin and ice it up and the pain subsides after about a day or so. Mostly this happens I Day or so before a really bad rain storm.
Rachel Foxton on July 09, 2017:
I dislocated my ankle and shattered the ends of my tib and fib in May. Two screws one side and a plate with ten screws the other. Had my cast off on Thursday and completely discharged with no boot and no physio. I'm completely bewildered as to how to go about getting back on my feet. Any suggestions?
I've already decided that I want to have it removed when it's feasible. The screws on the inside damaged some nerves and has left half of my heel completely numb.
Gonfishin on July 07, 2017:
I broke my ankle Aug2015.. and am looking for info to remove my hardware.. I had a bi-malleoler fracture on my tib and fib and had a plate with 8 screws inserted..
So right now I always have a slight pain when I move my ankle in stretch in certain positions.. I feel the same pain when I walk through loose terrain... such as loose sand..
Will this pain go away with hardware removal?
Or should I learn to live with it?
Kannan3003 on June 27, 2017:
My crural leg main bone was broken in 2011 and the doctor kept one plate with 2 screw to set the bone perfectly, but still (6 yrs) I haven't removed it out. I don't have any pain or irritation. Please advise, is there possible to remove this plate now? It should be removed? Some of my friends telling it is dangerous in older age...
donna on June 23, 2017:
i broke my tib and fib ,had a plate and 8 screws inserted, took 3 months to heal,leg just never felt normal though, got pain if i jumped or exerted myself, got my plate and screws removed 18 months later, felt wonderful, felt normal again. would recommend getting hardware removed and letting your body fix itself again
Jessica on June 20, 2017:
I broke my tibia when I was 14. I was in a car accident. My hard ware broke inside of my bone. I haven't had any issues with it. I think it makes that ankle stronger and hope less prone to breakage. Sometimes when it gets cold and i can feel it. I recently broke my other foot ankle and i need to get a scrue put in. Now that i'm older ill probably get it removed.
Marya on June 19, 2017:
I broke my tibia and fibula about 4 1/2 years ago. I was in a car accident which banged my leg about 8 months later. I was thinking about removing the hardware before the accident but was unsure. The pain after the accident made up my mind and I had the 30 screws and 2 rods removed. The leg feels lighter and the the range of motion is 100 times better. Walking is much easier without the screws in the ankle. I still have good and bad days depending on the weather and activity level of the day. Removing the hardware was the best thing I did especially if you have more than a few screws.
Michele on June 15, 2017:
I had posted earlier that I was going to have my hardware in my left ankle removed. Found out that I had 8 screws a clip n a plate removed. It went well and I can actually walk on my foot now. Yeee Haa. Don't have to wear a boot. I do use my crutches for light weight pressure on it.
Donna gilner on June 12, 2017:
I broke all three bones in my ankle 13 screws two plates. Surgery was on April 25th . I was extremely active and now I cannot do anything. I am out of the cast in the boot and have been on PT now twice a week for at least a month. It hurts so bad. I did not even know until after surgery that people even had hardware removed. As I read all the stories I just feel like giving up.
Can anyone tell me how they feel after having it all removed ? I would have said a month ago I would never go through that surgery again but now I just want them out on my year anniversary of the surgery .
I feel the doctor should have told me all this but he did not I had to ask after reading stories.
Julie Penny on June 12, 2017:
I broke my ankle in January 2017, 6 weeks of a non weight bearing cast, 6 weeks of a boot followed by 4 sessions of physio therapy, recently saw the consultant who advised against taking the metalwork out next year as it would take the same amount of time to take out as put in. I have read that prolonged metalwork in ankle can lead to rhematoid arthritis.
gardener on June 06, 2017:
I found this NIH survey of ppl w hardware removed. About 300 interviews w ppl whose main complaint was pain or reduced https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC45286... motion, 96% pain removal.
After 13 years, I'm leaning towards removal due to pain. After first year, it improved except on cold days. Now that I'm trying to be active w 10k steps/day, it's hurting more, with swelling. Seeing doc soon
Jessie on June 04, 2017:
I have a dislocated ankle and broken fibula,tibia and went in for operation in April. Plate and 5 screws put in to help hold the ankle and heal the broken bone together again. I really want to walk but cannot because I have the big screw on the ankle that pushes me back. Going for my review this month on the 19th.
Michele kougias on June 03, 2017:
I broke my tibia and fibula and the Doctor put 3 pins n 1 screw n plate in my ankle. It has been 5 months and I have problems walking n the screw and plate bottom is poking out of my ankle. I recently saw the Doctor and the breaks are healed so I am having it all removed on June 12th so I can walk again on my left foot.
Maddie on May 29, 2017:
I'm getting mine removed in 30 days and counting. I broke. H fibula and tibia last year June 2016. Still off work can not do much walking my ankle still swells I also get so much pinching on the left where I have the plates and screws! I did not want to have to go through surgery again but I am beyond excited do it as I hope to be back to normal again!
Dennis walker on May 29, 2017:
Hello, I had 3 pins put in my left hip and 2 in my right hip when i was 13 I'm now 68 years old and still have them in. I have severe arthritis now in my left hip. My Hospital Doctor say's he can remove them, or give me steroid injections .
I should've had them removed 5 year's are so after the operation ....not 55 year's on !. I have no bone growth and no muscle growth in my left hip and it's been like this all my life. For me it's always been embarrassing to say the least, i have never wore shorts went swimming etc.. Never undressed in front of a female....always with the light's off !.
This is the first time i have ever spoke about it !
Joy on May 23, 2017:
I had 7 screws and a plate removed today .I broke my ankle in two places in Aug 2016 ,everything was great until about two months ago I started having a pinching and pain in site of screws and xray showed that 3 were backing out . Only a small bit but thatcall it took to cause pain. My doctor said"it all comes out" . Surgery was about 40 minutes and not near as to big deal of placing it all in . So I recommend removal . Im happy I did .
Jon doe on May 22, 2017:
I broke my tibula and fuibula right above the ankle bone the doctors put rods and plates in and today i jard my leg pretty hard its been a little over a week since i had my surgety should i be worried
Sheena, New Zealand on May 22, 2017:
Reading your posts after removal of metalware 12 hours ago! I heard similar stories of potential problems, issues longer term. I broke my ankle 16months ago, Jan 2016. I had two screws that were prominent through my skin, they were not only unsightly, but uncomfortable when touched and lying on in bed, or wearing boots. I Also felt that the plate and screws were causing increased pain when weather colder/wetter. Pain not great, but my physio and podiatrist both recommended having them out. The pain post op? Yes, it's a bit sore...well, rather sore as it 3am and I am unable to sleep! However, all you who have undergone such trauma and pain in the first place of injury...it's nothing like that! Of course, discuss with your specialist but where possible around family and work commitments, I wouldn't hesitate!! In fact, I decided from fairly early on that I would go through the surgery. Minimum time recommended is 12months. Saw surgeon around then and it's taken a few months to organise. Now I've written this, pain easing somewhat!! Lol! I know I won't have any regrets having metal wear removed, but I think I would have done, had I not! Hope thats helpful! 'God is my strength and refuge, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore, I will to fear for He is with me.'
Splunky on May 19, 2017:
I had a compression fracture of my ankle, tibia, and fibula a year ago. I have two plates and twelve screws. Luckily I didn't need cadaver bone. Next week I'm having all the hardware removed due to pain it is causing me. Because of my size you can see and feel the hardware on my ankle and leg. Hopefully after the surgery I'll be pain free and be able to walk without limping. I really didn't want to go thru another operation but, hopefully, to be pain free will be worth it. I have less than a week till my surgery. I'm nervous very nervous but I will not be backing out. I need to be pain free. My surgeon told me it should only take about an hour. It took three hours to install the hardware.
I cannot advise someone that do this or not. This is something that needs to be decided between you and your surgeon. I do recommend doing all the research you can. Talk to your surgeon, physical therapist, family doctor. Most of all feel comfortable with your decision.
Sharon Johnson on May 18, 2017:
I'm in the same bout. I have a metal rod. The doctor told me it should have been remove before I was walking. I also have a galeon cysts on the top of my Foot. Which I read on line that was caused from a trama. I also have mental plate, screws and cadaber bone in my Foot. Help me I'm having surgery soon and not sure if I should all of it taken out. I'm 63yrs old.
Linda Reil on May 10, 2017:
I had surgical hardware placed for broken ankle six years ago and now the pain is worse and hardware is poking through. Cannot walk far hurts really bad.
Sam on May 10, 2017:
How many days should have take rest to remove plate and screw in legs
Roberta on May 04, 2017:
I broke my ankle Friday the 13th May 2017. I broke it in two places. I have a plate and 6 screws in the fibula . It's coming up to a year now , Itrying to make the same decision?
It's very uncomfortable and harder for me to walk now . Went through tons of physical therapy. After telling the doctor about my discomfort he did suggest to take the hardware out.
Yet I just had neck surgery and decided to wait a while. I do believe I will be having it removed in the next 6 months.
Good luck to you ,I hope it all works out.
Green on April 27, 2017:
I shattered my heel in 9 pieces, 3yrs ago May 2014. I had 7screws and a plate put in. I was told to stay off it for months, said it wouldn't heal right if i didn't. I rested and kept off it for the first two weeks. I am a self employed window cleaner and would of lost practically everything. I ended up just giving it hell. Was a tough 4 months. Ended up taking my boot off for my brothers wedding in Sept 2014 against my doctors advice. Went back for my check up after the wedding. Told them I felt fine walking on it. Also told them i never really rested at all. I was walking and putting pressure on it a month after surgery. They were all amazed that I didnt need physical therapy. The reason being cause i never stopped using it. Told them they did a fantastic job with the surgery and it wasnt nothing personal as far going against their orders to stay off it and rest. I did lose some mobility as with how far i can bend my foot. Although it doesnt stop me. I can still ski, run, climb ladders, roofs. Only time It feels a little locked up, during winter months. I assume its cause of lack of movement. I still have all the hardware. Im reading some of the other posts and i hope i never have problems. Screws walking out, or breaking. Sounds like a nightmare. When i got the surgery i was told it couldn't be removed cause the shatter to my calcaneous was so severe. Anyone having problems good luck.
Buttons on March 08, 2017:
Yes I broke my ankle several months ago still having problems healing the screws are already backing out and yes I have a lot of pain when the weather changes
Thomas J Stephenson on March 02, 2017:
After I have had plates, pins and screws implanted in my ankle, I not only have them backing themselves out, but I find myself depending much more on my other leg. Now I am in constant pain and cannot sleep at night, without some type of pain medication. I am in a bad position as I am on Medicaid and cannot to afford to have them removed. With all the other health issues I have to deal with , it seems that just have to(suck it up). However the pain becomes so intense at times that I cannot sleep, and would like to know how I should deal with this. It has been 20 years since the surgery but now the screws are threading out through my skin. As I stated earlier, I find my gate being changed and it throwing off my ability to walk without being in constant pain. So I would (if I may) like to get some input as to what I should do?
Elizabeth on February 06, 2017:
I broke my fibula on the 18th of Dec and had surgery on the 23ed of Dec. Today is the 6th of Feb and I am in alot of pain still bout every thing looks good. Most of the pain is from the plates and screws it is extremely sensitive....will this get better and when did you have hardware removes
Jessica Hinton on January 22, 2017:
I have 8 screws and a plate extremely athletic... its been 2.5 yrs and I am calling the dr tomorrow to have them removed. For months I have watched my foot change colors and it is still 2 times the size of my other ankle. My primary dr wants it out and the oaun I am having TODAY can only mean bad times in the future if I keeo them in. It feels like my plate could rip away from the bone, my screws feel as though they could break my leg at any moment and the twitching, discoloration... I just don't see how he wouldn't want to take it out. Im a bit tired I hope that made since... it foreign to your body... ditch the hardware... My BIG delay has been infection... What IF I get mrsa or Staph??
Sessy on January 18, 2017:
I would like to know if I should get my Metal plate removed I got surgery around 12 now an I'm 18 it's been 5 years since I had this plate but it's been bothering and hurting more and more please reply if you know any thing about this or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
that guy on January 07, 2017:
I'm 25 and I shattered my ankle and fractured my fibula simultaneously nearly nine years ago. I have two large screws in my ankle, wire, and eight small screws in my fibula. My leg has never been "normal" since, and still suffer from significant swelling, pain, discoloration, and now developing spider veins along the bottom of my foot and ankle. The veins and discoloration have been gradually getting worse over the past few years. I can also feel and slightly see one of the screws in my leg. Also note that I do weigh more now than I did when I originally had surgery, but I'm unsure whether how much that matters.
Anyone else have these same, or similar, issues? Know anything to help?
The swelling goes down once I rest or sleep and wake up the next day, the discoloration and veins improve as well. I know I should probably have the hardware taken out, but I also don't want to take a lot of time off from work.
Any advice would be much appreciated!
Chris on January 06, 2017:
I had a pretty nasty tib and fib fracture back in 2005. A plate and 5 screws along the fib and the plate was shaped round my ankle. Plus 2 screws through the ankle to secure the dislodged ankle/tib on the opposite side.
I have obvious restricted movement, but more recently I'm getting pain after exercise, particularly any impact stuff. Thing is, the pain feels more like soft tissue issue and less to do with the hardware. I get some swelling which is relieved with a small dose of Brufen. That said, I continually live with the nagging thought - "should I have the hardware" removed ?
Not to keen to go under the knife !!! Eek
Pat on December 03, 2016:
I broke my right ankle over 20 years ago they placed 10 screws 3 on the inside and 7 on the outside and a 6 inch plate . At the time of the surgery they told me they didn't know how long I could leave them in maybe forever but now I have issues with pain and tenderness .
I do pipeline inspection for a natural gas company I'm always standing on on even sometimes very steep terrain . Today as I write this I am debating whether to start seeking removal of the screws and plate .
Annie on November 07, 2016:
Glad to have found this site and the feedback from those who have had metal removal, I am due to have mine removed in four days, I think that after reading all the comments that it points to the following; If you are still having problems after a period of time then removal is helpful, everyones injury is different and hence recovery will also differ, only a couple of people reported adverse affects such as infection, thats great to hear! The bottom line seems to be to give yourself sufficient rest periods, not over do it and dont rush your recovery, listen to your body, you know when you need to rest up. I am obviously nervous about my plate removal, my ankle has never been right, told by the physio that the bone was not set completely straight after 6 months of physio but of course, the Ortho denied this was the case, but it is clearly not straight, Im just concerned that this will affect my healing process,also I read that malalignment can create cartilidge problems, they are going to do keyhole surgery too, to see why my ankle is not flexible at all, cant even bend my leg after 20 months, oh well, her is hoping for a trouble free surgery, thanks for the imput from everyone.
Sandra on November 04, 2016:
A little over 16 yrs ago I broke my ankle, I have 2 screws in there. I have decided to leave them in there. My Doctor/surgeon, who is awesome told me it's my decision to keep or remove them. After talking to my grandmother who had hers removed said it was the worst thing she could have done, she was in chronic pain all the time. She recommended I leave mine in. I have pain from time to time and my ankle does give every once in a while but not to the point where I fall. I was 18 when the accident happened and I'm almost 35 now. I healed quicker then my doctor thought/said and didn't have to do physical therapy. Accident happened in 2000, in 2003 or 2004 I feel 6ft from a rooftop landing all my weight on my right ankle (which has the screws) went to the hospital just to make sure everything was ok and it was. So like I said I had an awesome doctor/surgeon.
Denice on October 28, 2016:
I broke my ankle in 3 places around 14 years ago. I've been in pain ever since. I have a plate and 10 screws. 2 screws are broke and inside the bone. I have one screw that goes from the inside of my ankle through the bone and attaches to the plate on the outer side of my ankle. This is the screw that has been causing me terrible pain since it was put in. I've debated whether or not to have the surgery because my original surgeon told me the break was too bad to ever remove the hardware. My ankle was also dislocated so he told me that I would have to live with the hardware for the rest of my life. Now I'm wondering if that is true. I saw a podiatrist and he told me that he doesn't see why I can't have the hardware removed. I'm in a lot of pain and it seems to get worse and worse as I age (I'm 45 now). My ankle is also tender to the touch in some areas and I have a lot of swelling still. I'm so sick of the pain and want this pain gone. I just don't know if surgery is right for me.
Natalie on October 24, 2016:
I rolled and fractured my ankle stepping off a step in 2011 it is 2016. I still have plate and 5 screws, I did initial PT and am 100% on ankle, no swelling, play sports, run, jump, no swelling. No pain. I live in Arizona so weather has no effect. The only problem with hardward is if I hit it - it zings me and shoots pain to my toes. I have since almost rolled my ankle twice and feel the hardward kept it from breaking again. But just this week the ankle is bothering me above the plate - tender. I am now considering removing hardware after reading all of these posts.
Teena on October 23, 2016:
Hi thanks for bringing this topic up. I'm 41 in 2006 I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my left ankle. I had emergency surgery with plate and screws. Thank God I didn't break my neck. Anyhow 5 months of physio to relearn how to walk. Physio three times a week plus physio at home. I recovered fairly good I was determined but depressed too. Went back to work after 5 months I work in Health Field very physical work. I love my work. Than a month back to work I got a bad case of strep throat. My ankle swelled up red and pain to walk. Went back to my surgeon and he put me on high doses of antibiotics. Streptococcus strain invades weakened parts of the body. Since the hardware is abnormal in the body the strep went there. He also said if the antibiotics don't work we need another surgery to remove. Luckily they did work. He also said it would be a good idea to remove the hardware anyway because your younger and you don't have the best flexibity in that ankle. I couldn't afford to be off again I have a son bills mortgage and struggling. Now I can always tell when it's going g to rain I do have arthritis in it but not too bad. Always afraid of stairs now lol. So I always favoured my stronger leg my right one and than in June 2014 I fell at work in the am got back up sore but keep working than I fell again in pm at work now I was limping after work my co worker said I'll drive you home you can't take a bus got home fell again. I called a friend to drop me off at hospital. The ER doctor said you need surgery. Holy deja vous. I couldn't believe it this was happening again. I had surgery 1 month later back ACL reconstruction used my on hamstring to reconstruct meniscus repair and scraped bone out of knee cap. This was more painful and longer recovery than previous surgery. I kept reinjuring it I tore my hamstring graft so I had to heal longer my blood pressure was way too high I had to try several kinds of anti hypertensives to lower blood pressure because physiotherapy wouldn't let me co ntinue rehab until it was controlled. Now it took over a year with physiotherapy also due to my previous surgery on my left leg it was more differcult learning how to walk again. This time I was more determined than ever I was very depressed when things kept going wrong and than I went to private physiotherapy CBI the best team ever. I also talked to a social worker. My depression diminished I kept working so hard at physio and I did it. I had to leave previous job of 20years scared shitless how I'm I going g to support my son and myself . Yes I'm in alot if debt with credit cards had to pay the bills but I had inner peace and strength such a great feeling. Alot of faith too. Alot of traumas have happened in my life not just physical as the one I'm writing about. But thats life made me grow and learn. Too be very honest after leaving my job after 20years after 2nd surgery I got 2 new jobs my dream job working at the school board with children as well working with seniors in the community. My legs will never be 100 percent yes I have pain all the time but who doesn't. Im blessed I'm able to walk. Enjoy each day to the fullest . Life is a gift and when the going gets tough I get going .
El on October 23, 2016:
I broke my ankle and leg when I was 17, I am 30 in a few months. I had plate and several screws put in on the outer and a longer screw on the inside. Been 17 and stupid at the time I decided to not bother with a PT, I've always walked with a slight limp and the outer screws have always stuck out on the outside and inside since the swelling went down, I learnt to live with it, having 4 children and been a carer to my partner has always had me putting off having screws removed, I've never been able to wear shoes that touch the ankle as it rubs and causing sores where the screws try to come through the skin. Been to the hospital and doctors a few times over the years just to be told they haven't moved (never said they did, the problem was the screws rubbing and aches in the ankle with weather changes) over the past two days my ankle has swollen up that much that I can not actually see the screws anymore, I fear a screw may have sheared or finally snapped as it causes a sharp pain when I bear weight on it. Gp tomorrow in hopes they can offer some helpful advice this time. Worried after 13 years that removal will cause more problems with ankle, I was told they were in for life as it was a bad break all the way across the ankle (lucky to still have the foot according to doctors) hoping that if removal is necessary that they agree to do it under local as the last general I was under (emergency csection) was particularly scary and I can't do that again.
Starr on October 22, 2016:
I had 1 plate and 9 screws removed. If your just getting screws removed, recovery will be no sweat! Like 2 days... its the plates that require more cutting to remove. Its been 7 days so far, and walking around, in abit of pain but not taking any pain meds.
So far happy with my decision too.
Margo on October 22, 2016:
Plate with 5 screws removed from one side, 2 longer screws removed from other side 2 days ago. Quite tender with quite a few stitches in same position as previous stitches. Recommended by surgeon to have removed as well as strong recommendation from my naturopath. Happy with my decision.
Kaz on October 19, 2016:
I had my ankle hardware removed 2 days ago: 1 plate and 6 screw on the outside bone and 2 big screws on the inside bone. I broke my ankle 2 years ago and decided to go ahead with the operation while I am young enough to recover well and strengthen the bone again - didn't want trouble later on. (I am 55.) Also didn't like feeling it just under the skin. I found there were different opinions regarding removal - some say leave it in until there is a problem but my orthopaedic surgeon said he recommends removal, particularly if you want to be active and run and cycle. So here I am, foot up on a pillow and taking it easy for a couple of days. Remember that? I had a one night hospital stay after surgery with a spinal block and something to make me sleep. The ankle was painful the first night and all the discomfort of my broken ankle experience came rushing back - i.e. Not being able to walk, the pain etc. Howdver 48 hours down the track it's not feeling too bad and I'm using crutches to hobble around. Doctor said only 60% weight-bearing until my check in 2 weeks time and then on to full weight. Luckily I have a very quiet schedule for the next 2 weeks and have great friends and family to help out, especially with transport. This is nowhere near as awful an experience as the original broken ankle - my foot is barely swollen and not much pain this morning. Looking forward to getting back to normal quickly and getting active again.
Libby on October 12, 2016:
I broke my ankle a year ago and just had the two screws removed a week ago. The surgery was easy, not that much pain. It is still swollen and the incision is still sore but getting better every day. I could feel the screws when walking which was uncomfortable, and i'm glad i made the decision to have them removed. The Dr. made me wait a full year.
Kel on September 25, 2016:
I shattered my ankle in 6 places when i was 17 and was told the hardware was staying in for life! I got a plate, pin, 6 screws. It has always restricted me from doing certain activities but I learned to live with it and i am VERY active. However, in the last year - my ankle began to bruise, swell up, pain etc
I went to the docs, got an x-ray and one of the screws had fallen out!! Went to the surgeon and he said, time to remove it as it was irritating my ankle and tissue.
So - i am booked in next Thursday to have it removed (took me a year to finally set a date) but I am glad to get it out! I am 34 now, so it's been there half my life and I have mostly heard good stories from other people who also had them removed.
I am hoping recovery is quick so I can get back to my usual active self!
I will let you know how I go, just in case there are some out there unsure as to what to do......
Cheers Kel :)
Alison on September 22, 2016:
Broken leg 2006....all fine until 2016 then one heck of an infection -no obvious reason why - cpr 235 - very high temperature - plate removed hopefully infection drained. Seven weeks on penicillin ...still feel feeble (22 September)
Tom on September 14, 2016:
When I was 30 I had a transverse distal fibula fracture. It didn't heal properly causing a non union fracture where cartilage grows between the gap in the fracture instead of bone. I had a plate and 5 screws. A year and a half later one of the screws started backing out. I had the hardware removed. AnKlein has been fine for 14 years. If it's causing pain and the doc says the bone will fill in the holes then go for it. If it's not bothering you then don't worry about it.
Dixie on September 10, 2016:
On May 5, 1997, when I was 37 years old and 2 months pregnant, I fell down some stairs and broke my ankle and my tibia. I had to have surgery immediately, since my foot was backwards. I had 8 pins put in my leg. My other ankle was sprained. Having two other children to take care of, and having morning sickness, I didn't feel up to having the pins removed. My new baby was an emergency C-section. So that basically was another surgery within that short time. So I decided not to have them removed until I had the time to do it. Now my baby is 18 years old and I still have those pins in my legs. They haven't given me any problems and I walk a lot every day.
Katie on August 28, 2016:
Five years ago I shattered my left leg breaking it in nine places as well as having a compound fracture. To repair my injury my broken bones were screwed to a plate and I had 2 huge pins placed through my ankle to hold in place. I had continueous pain ever since, particularly when the weather is cold and wet. I just had surgery for the removal of the pins from my ankle. Aside from tenderness at the incision sites, this is the first time I have been pain free. My orthopedic surgeon had told me that in a majority of cases, a patient finds they get relief from pain, but it is not an absolute.
Daughter of Annonm. on August 11, 2016:
My father at 81 years old had surgery in May of 2016 for a bad fall from a tall ladder. Broke his tibia in half and crushed his ankle bone in 3 places. Initially had first surgery to install the external brace for 3 weeks to let the swelling go down from the break. After the swelling went down in 3 weeks, had the 2nd surgery which was the installment of 3 plates and screws. My father complains of numbness and twinges of pain that occurs periodically, but not on-goingly. Another thing that bothers him is his leg gets a little jumpy like the nerves are causing his leg to vibrate and cause some pain from time to time. No one has ever suggested removal of screws, but at his age, I don't know if it would be worth it unless the screws were the cause of his pains because healing at his age is much slower than for a young person. The accident only happened about 2 months ago, and he is currently going to physical therapy. I don't know how completely he will heal, but he is walking without crutches already with 100% weight bearing. I must say, I am surprised at how fast he has recovered at his age. I will try to give another update a few months from now if I can.
Brad on August 08, 2016:
I'm 18 and when I was 13 I broke my ankle and shattered my growth plate. They put 5 screws and a plate in and I healed rather quickly. Around 16 I started having pain from the screws. I could feel them at the surface of my skin and anytime I bumped my ankle on something it was very painful. I had surgery 5 days ago to remove all hardware and the doctor said I should be able to put some weight on it the same day and it would be a quick recovery. I'm at day 5 post op and I still have a lot of pain and I cannot put any weight on the ankle. I have 11 staples closing it up and I go back to the surgeon in 8 more days to have the staples removed but I'm really worried that I am still having so much pain and cannot walk on it. Anyone else have these issues after hardware removal???
Unknown on August 05, 2016:
I fractured my ankle in high school . I had screws and plates place in my ankle. My ankle is constantly sore if I walk to long . I have to wear a brace just to walk. I am 37 now and I have been wondering if I should have the plates and screws removed. I am going to talk with my Dr.
DMN on August 05, 2016:
Hi, I broke my left ankle last year in May. First they put an external fixation until i was able to get the second surgery where I had 2 plates and 16 screws put in and wasn't able to walk for 4 months! I didn't plan on removing the hardware and just like you making the decision of getting ANOTHER surgery was not easy!! I gave it a few months after therapy but I always had pain and during bad weather it was worse. I finally decided that removing the hardware would be the best choice so I went in for surgery number 3 last week. Now here I am today 8 days post-op and I honestly still feel that it was the best decision I made. I am already walking on it and the pain this time around was nothing like the other times. Don't get me wrong it is still ANOTHER surgery and there is still a recovery process but as the days keep passing by the incision is healing and i am progressing on walking normally without a limp. I still haven't had my stitches removed and I am a little afraid to see exactly what the mobility of my ankle is now since it's still sore. Overall I'm just happy that I am walking and that things were way different this time around. I hope this helps.
Gladys on August 04, 2016:
I had plate & screws in my knee srewes in ankle & femure when I was 32 I am now 76 . I had my knee plate taken out when I was 37 because it caused me irritation my leg was always bleeding from scratching. The others still remain no problem . Even tho I have osteoporosis. Hope this helps you in some way .
Janie on August 01, 2016:
In April 2013 I had 6 pins & 2 plates put in my right lower leg due to tib % fib fracture. I had no physio apart from that of my own making ..lugging myself around the house, leg raises & stretching..and walked onto a plane in June of the same year! Now in 2016 I'm considering having the hardware removed as it causes the odd twinge & I'm pretty sure its moved down. After so little hassle I'm wondering whether its worth disturbing it? Thoughts most welcome
Doris on July 27, 2016:
Hi, Last Feb I broke my tibia and 2 places in the fibula and dislocated my ankle. I had 3 plates and 15 screws implanted. After a lot of physical therapy my therapist went with me to my next post surgical appt. Both he and my Dr. recommended removing the hardware. That was done last Monday. The only discomfort I've had post surgery is what I believe to be from the staples at the incision sights. As painful as it is (and controlled somewhat with Tylenol) I believe having the hardware removed was the right decision. Yes, surgery is always a bit scary, but the thought of doing nothing was not an option for me. I want to do whatever I need to in order
to get as close to 100% as I can!!!
Scott on July 19, 2016:
I fractured my fibula badly and had it plated with 6 screws some 19 years ago. The advice then was that if I was going to be fairly active afterwards it would be best to have the plate removed later on. After about 7 months I started to feel the difference in flexibility between the plated area and the rest of my leg when playing soccer and it began to ache there after matches. For that reason I had the plate removed after about 12 months - was on crutches for a couple of weeks as the screw holes repaired and about 6 weeks before playing soccer again. It was a lot better without the plate and I played soccer weekly for the next 13 years with no discomfort/aching in the leg at all. A knee injury finally stopped me playing but the fibula is all good.
HEATHER on July 16, 2016:
I crushed my heel bone 5 years ago still have hardware allways swelling and light pain last nite it started swelling and hurting bad ankle and foot size of a cantlope lol any body got any suggestions what I need to do you get shitty treatment when your old and on medicade
Sarah on July 13, 2016:
I shattered my ankle on 3 sides in April 2014. 10 days later, I had surgery to fixate the ankle with plate and 14 screws on both sides of my ankle. In October 2014, I had the syndesmotic screw removed. Fast forward to March 2016, planned removal of all hardware. Surgery went fine, complications with recovery - swelling wouldn't subside on inside of my ankle. We tried antibiotics and drainage, and as last resort, on June 1, I had an incision and drainage surgery. Initially it felt great, but started leaking fluid. I've been not allowed to swim, go to the beach, ride a bike, workout, etc in an attempt to heal the wound. It didn't leak for 2 weeks and leaked again today. I fear that the next step is plastic surgery to secure the wound. Dr says he's never seen this in 30 years of practice. I trust him, he's the chief of orthopedics at a respected hospital. I don't know what to do anymore. Has this happened to anyone?
Russ Brown on May 24, 2016:
Crushed my foot in 2008. In 2014 I had plates and screws put in my foot to fuse some joints. And to keep my big toe from bending. Six months after the surgery I found out that two of the screws had broke. Almost a year later the doctor did surgery to repair the broken screws. I found out today that two more screws have broken. When the weather is cold or it is about to rain my toe and foot hurts bad. I am 60 years old and I do not want another surgery. But if these screws are going to continue to be a problem I rather have them removed than to take the chance of them doing further damage.
Annie on April 29, 2016:
Tibia broken June 14 2015, ORIF on June 16 two screws 7.2cm length each. Perfect surgery but delayed bone Union till 6 months later. April 27 2016 screws removed. Risk was or is : nerve damage as the anaesthesist couldn't find the correct nerve, result was he used five times more narcose as needed while the cut area still nerve active. The surgeon used spray which last few mins after the screws were out, then I had the stitches done with wide awake active nerves at the wound area. After about 20hours the foot was dead except the wound area with pain. Although I voted yes to metal removal, the risks are there, such like a warm hearted but incompetent anaesthesist ... Or wound infection which is more under our own control by keeping the wound try and clean...hope this I for help those who have similar problems and questions...regards.
ang98765 on March 16, 2016:
Hello all. I read over all the posts and they were helpful, but I wanted to tell my story and see your thoughts. I am a 28 year old female. I was ran over by a car and had Open Reduction Internal Fixation Surgery on my left medial ankle in 8/2011 which resulted in 2 screws and one plate. As a result from the surgery, I got MRSA and then had to get anther I&D (incision and drainage) sugery later in 8/2011 to clear out MRSA. An intravenous PIC line was put in where Vancomycin was administered for a month to clear out infection. This all led me to have a large open wound that I had to keep open post surgery then pack wet to dry with gauze and saline for 2 months until the tissue grew back in. Once wound had closed (which is rather large), I did physical therapy for 4 months after and got most of my mobility and range of motion back. I now have a depressed contracted adherent scar over my left medial malleolus. Althought, the surrounding tissue is supple and mobile, and my left leg peripheral pulses are full. The impression of the scar is poor quality. I saw a plastic surgeon in 2012 concerned of the location of the scar who told me that the scar was over a bony prominence that will be prone to breakdown in the future. He said that light trauma could damage the skin and result in bone exposure. He said it would be easier to remove the scar and resurface the mallelus with a proximally based rotational flap while adjacent tissue is healthy and I am young with good blood supply. Although, he did also say complicatons come with flap coverage which include infection, skin loss, and need for more complex surgery to gain optimum closure. The look of the scar is not what is bothering me. What concerns me is that it is prone to breakdown. Over the last few years there has been swelling on a regular basis within my ankle, especially after working out. I know this is common and did not bother me much until I started to get pain. In past 2 years, if standing on it for a long period of time or engaging in a very strenous activiity, I will have sharp shooting pains that only last a few minutes (which I was fine with and dealt with). I have always been somewhat active but within the past 6 months have become more active than normal. I go to Orange Theory Fitness (interval training cross fit type class) 4 to 5 times a week. I have been doing interval runs at high speeds, but only for short periods of time (anywhere between one minute and 20 minutes). Within last 2 months, I have had a dull aching pain in my ankle that feels constant and is no longer random. Now everytime I do intense weight bearing activity, it aches and then swells after. Since the pain has become so constant, I went to see an orthopedic surgeon yesterday, 3/15/16 (5 years after surgery) to get a follow up XRAY to see if there was any misplacement of hardware or anything he would see immediatly wrong. The surgeon said he does not see much movement of screws, but can feel the back of the screw through the scar, which is okay. He does not think it will puncture the skin in future but can't say for sure. He recommended that I get hardware taken out eventually if I want pain to discontinue, but said its up to me. From what I have read sometimes that does not even happen. He also suggested if I ever got the screws taken out to have him and plastic surgeon work concurrently in operating room to insure that the wound is closed appropriately for best healing because of the poor quality of the scar and all the trauma there has been to that area in the past. I don't know what to do. I am so paranoid I will have a MRSA issue again or I am scared that if I am cut open again, my wound is not going to heal correctly and then I will need more complex surgery to full closure. Please let me know if anyone has had any issue such as myself and what they think I should do. I am sure I should lay off the ankle in regards to intense physical activity, but it is extremely frustrating. Maybe if I did the bike instead of treadmill, it would help a little. But I am assuming I will still get the pain. Thank you.
a123 on March 16, 2016:
Hello all. I read over all the posts and they were helpful, but I wanted to tell my story and see your thoughts. I am a 28 year old female. I was ran over by a car and had Open Reduction Internal Fixation Surgery on my left medial ankle in 8/2011 which resulted in 2 screws and one plate. As a result from the surgery, I got MRSA and then had to get anther I&D (incision and drainage) sugery later in 8/2011 to clear out MRSA. An intravenous PIC line was put in where Vancomycin was administered for a month to clear out infection. This all led me to have a large open wound that I had to keep open post surgery then pack wet to dry with gauze and saline for 2 months until the tissue grew back in. Once wound had closed (which is rather large), I did physical therapy for 4 months after and got most of my mobility and range of motion back. I now have a depressed contracted adherent scar over my left medial malleolus. Althought, the surrounding tissue is supple and mobile, and my left leg peripheral pulses are full. The impression of the scar is poor quality. I saw a plastic surgeon in 2012 concerned of the location of the scar who told me that the scar was over a bony prominence that will be prone to breakdown in the future. He said that light trauma could damage the skin and result in bone exposure. He said it would be easier to remove the scar and resurface the mallelus with a proximally based rotational flap while adjacent tissue is healthy and I am young with good blood supply. Although, he did also say complicatons come with flap coverage which include infection, skin loss, and need for more complex surgery to gain optimum closure. The look of the scar is not what is bothering me. What concerns me is that it is prone to breakdown. Over the last few years there has been swelling on a regular basis within my ankle, especially after working out. I know this is common and did not bother me much until I started to get pain. In past 2 years, if standing on it for a long period of time or engaging in a very strenous activiity, I will have sharp shooting pains that only last a few minutes (which I was fine with and dealt with). I have always been somewhat active but within the past 6 months have become more active than normal. I go to Orange Theory Fitness (interval training cross fit type class) 4 to 5 times a week. I have been doing interval runs at high speeds, but only for short periods of time (anywhere between one minute and 20 minutes). Within last 2 months, I have had a dull aching pain in my ankle that feels constant and is no longer random. Now everytime I do intense weight bearing activity, it aches and then swells after. Since the pain has become so constant, I went to see an orthopedic surgeon yesterday, 3/15/16 (5 years after surgery) to get a follow up XRAY to see if there was any misplacement of hardware or anything he would see immediatly wrong. The surgeon said he does not see much movement of screws, but can feel the back of the screw through the scar, which is okay. He does not think it will puncture the skin in future but can't say for sure. He recommended that I get hardware taken out eventually if I want pain to discontinue, but said its up to me. From what I have read sometimes that does not even happen. He also suggested if I ever got the screws taken out to have him and plastic surgeon work concurrently in operating room to insure that the wound is closed appropriately for best healing because of the poor quality of the scar and all the trauma there has been to that area in the past. I don't know what to do. I am so paranoid I will have a MRSA issue again or I am scared that if I am cut open again, my wound is not going to heal correctly and then I will need more complex surgery to full closure. Please let me know if anyone has had any issue such as myself and what they think I should do. I am sure I should lay off the ankle in regards to intense physical activity, but it is extremely frustrating. Ma