Re: HELP - Calcaneus Hardware removal. 2 years post-op
Your difficulties could be due to many causes starting from an improper gait, scar tissue, tendon problems, joint angles being off and of course the hardware. While I'm sure that the hardware always contributes to some degree I would recommend first trying the least complicated and invasive options and then trying to be as certain as possible that it is the hardware before contemplating surgery. My bias is that my hardware is going into its teen years and it's staying put. There have been those who did benefit from removal but in most cases it was with their docs agreing on the prognosis.
I would start off with the cause most often overlooked and most easily solved. Many Heelies are so happy when they become mobile that they forget that physical therapy should be ongoing. You can get around quite nicely without realizing that you are using a peg leg on one side making the other do all the work. Then you can wonder why there's a problem when putting demands on it. I personally made up for weak ankle muscles by keeping my leg muscles stiff. Then over a distance either those muscles or the foot (still being weak) would complain. So the number one thing to do is make sure that you make that foot do its share of lifting, turning, balancing, the works.
Next is shoes. I'm one of many who do just fine so long as I wear sturdy shoes. A lot of us can no longer wear just any old thing or we soon realize we've made a mistake. You might need to find out just what keeps your foot happy. I found that my feet take a few days to adjust to any change in foot wear, so I stick with the same until they wear out.
If the structures in the foot have changed it might only take a shoe insert or a custom orthotic to alleviate the problem. Figure that there could be a tendon with too much stress on it, one a bit loose or a joint out of position just enough to be irritating. Some trial and error here would be less risky and expensive as surgery.
Taking the right approach might allow you to avoid surgery and increase the chances that it will help by eliminating other possible causes first. And will make you feel better about the decision and outcome (good or bad) because you explored all the options first.