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Old 10-10-2009, 10:08 PM   #1
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John Tree HB User
Exclamation HELP - Calcaneus Hardware removal. 2 years post-op

Hello ~

It's been almost 2 years since I had bilateral calcaneus surgery. I have plates and screws in both feet. Rehab has gone well and I'm able to walk around fine, although I cannot run without stiffness and pain.

Every morning my ankles are stiff and achy for around 10-15 minutes until they stretch out. The back of my ankle and calf around the achilles tendon are frequently stiff. If I walk or hike long distances I'm in pain.

I am considering having the hardware removed. Has anyone had this done? Did it help?

Do other people experience the same stiffness and pain 2 years after the injury?

I REALLY need advice from someone who has had their hardware removed.

thanks

john

 
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:00 PM   #2
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desross4 HB User
Re: HELP - Calcaneus Hardware removal. 2 years post-op

John:
I had my hardware removed about 5 weeks ago after a calcaneus/STJ fusion. So far, I have a bit more ROM. Pain level is about the same. I had two 3 inch screws running from the heel into the subtalar joint, so my hardware is a bit different from yours. I have healed well, was WBing right after the screws were removed. Just a bit of discomfort while wearing a bandage. I know of one other heelie who had part of her plate and 2 small screws removed a couple of weeks ago. She's doing fine. Don't know yet about the long-term results.

desross4

 
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:21 PM   #3
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coop2008 HB User
Re: HELP - Calcaneus Hardware removal. 2 years post-op

John,
I went into surgery to remove a plate and eight screws nine months after I broke my right heal into seven pieces. The surgery didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped. Two of the screws were cold welded to the plate so they could only get six screws out. Had they tried to cut and drill out the screws there would have been debris that would have caused more pain than what we were trying to alleviate. But even getting out what they could made the pain go away. It's been three years and I am pain free 99.9% of the time. Very occasionally I will have a sharp pain on the outside of my foot near the plate that radiates up to the front of the ankle.
Oddly in the last two days I have had lingering soreness from a day of experiencing that sharp pain about 6-8 times. That's why I am looking in on the board again.
Just the same I would highly recommend having the hardware removed. I can do almost everything I used to do.

coop2008

 
Old 11-24-2009, 08:19 AM   #4
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tchair HB Usertchair HB Usertchair HB Usertchair HB User
Re: HELP - Calcaneus Hardware removal. 2 years post-op

John,

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.

Tim

 
Old 06-18-2010, 04:46 PM   #5
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johnpainter1 HB User
Re: HELP - Calcaneus Hardware removal. 2 years post-op

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Tree View Post
Hello ~

It's been almost 2 years since I had bilateral calcaneus surgery. I have plates and screws in both feet. Rehab has gone well and I'm able to walk around fine, although I cannot run without stiffness and pain.

Every morning my ankles are stiff and achy for around 10-15 minutes until they stretch out. The back of my ankle and calf around the achilles tendon are frequently stiff. If I walk or hike long distances I'm in pain.

I am considering having the hardware removed. Has anyone had this done? Did it help?

Do other people experience the same stiffness and pain 2 years after the injury?

I REALLY need advice from someone who has had their hardware removed.

thanks

john
John, I am 9 weeks post op. from having my hardware removed. My first sugery was Aug 4th 09. I had a wound issue on the first surgery, and am currently on a wound vac to close the wound from this sugery. My joint is inflamed and I have "good" foot days and "bad" foot days. I am making progress but it is slow. My advice is, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. I HAD to have mine removed. I talked to an old friend today that broke his in a head- on collision. He told me it takes about 5-6 years to truely get better. Most of us that have had this operation will have problems the rest of ou lives.

 
Old 11-30-2010, 09:38 AM   #6
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cinny HB User
Re: HELP - Calcaneus Hardware removal. 2 years post-op

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Tree View Post
Hello ~

It's been almost 2 years since I had bilateral calcaneus surgery. I have plates and screws in both feet. Rehab has gone well and I'm able to walk around fine, although I cannot run without stiffness and pain.

Every morning my ankles are stiff and achy for around 10-15 minutes until they stretch out. The back of my ankle and calf around the achilles tendon are frequently stiff. If I walk or hike long distances I'm in pain.

I am considering having the hardware removed. Has anyone had this done? Did it help?

Do other people experience the same stiffness and pain 2 years after the injury?

I REALLY need advice from someone who has had their hardware removed.

thanks

john
I SHATTERED MY LEFT CALCANIOUS I HAD A TITANIUM PLATE, PIN AND SCREWS AUGUST 2007.... LIVED WITH SEVER PAIN AND DECIDED TO HAVE HARDWARE REMOVED THIS YEAR IN JUNE 2010.... I STILL LIVE WITH PAIN AND ALWAYS I THINK THE STIFFNESS WILL BE THERE.... I WAS TOLD THAT WILL NEVER GO AWAY... I STILL HAVE MY ROD IN MY RIGHT TIBIA AND HARDLY EVER NOTICE IT IS THERE... AS FOR THE CALCANIOUS IM SURE U HAVE HEARD IT IS THE WORST INJURY BECAUSE YOUR CALCANIOUS SUPPORTS YOUR WEIGHT... I USE TO FEEL LIKE A ROCK WAS ON MY BOTTOM OF MY HEAL WHEN I WOULD WALK ON IT...WHICH WAS ALWAYS THAT WAS MY MAIN REASON I HAD IT REMOVED....I ONLY LIMPP WHEN I WALK ON IT TOO LONG A CONSTANT WALK.... HAVING IT REMOVED HAS HELPED SOME ITS ONLY BEEN 6 MONTHS I AM HOPING NEXT YEAR THIS TIME IT IS MUCH BETTER.... LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME FOR ME AND PAIN IS MY MIDDLE NAME.... I WISH U LUCK IN FINDING THE ANSWER I HOPE I HELPED IN SOME WAY... I MEET A MAN THAT TOLD ME TO HAVE IT REMOVED BECAUSE HIS SON HAD THE SAME INJURY TO THE CALCANIOUS AND HIS SON IS IN LESS PAIN AFTER HAVING HARDWARE REMOVED.... THAT WAS WHY I DID IT AND I AM GLAD I DID... SO YES I THINK U WLD HAVE LESS PAIN BUT AT TIMES THE PAIN IS AS BAD AS IT WAS W THE HARDWARE IN...OVER ALL I WOULD SUGGEST REMOVAL.... GOOD LUCK

 
Old 12-18-2011, 01:02 PM   #7
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Przy HB User
Re: HELP - Calcaneus Hardware removal. 2 years post-op

Hi John,

I just had my hardware removed 5 days ago. I broke my heel and wrist 14 months ago and have not been able to walk right ever since. I have had a lot of pain but I believe that removing the hardware will help me. I am not in much pain after the surgery and only take pain meds. at night. The recovery is supposed to be quick. I am optimistic and am so glad I got the hardware removed even at this point.

Przy

 
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