It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Foot & Ankle Problems Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 01-19-2010, 06:14 AM   #1
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 34
Trixie1966 HB User
Dr does not want me to clean the external fixation and pin sites

I had surgery for a first metatarsal fracture and my surgeon used an external fixation with four steel pins. Four days post op and I quit using my Percocet yesterday but noticed soreness in the arch of my foot where the fixation device sits. I called my surgeon and he asked me to come in but not to remove the bandages as he wrapped the foot in a specific and supportive way but to come in and he would check things out. After the bandages came off I saw my Sci-Fi looking wounds and stitches but also noticed what looked like globs of petroleum jelly around the steel pin sites. The surgeon dabbed some of the jelly around the rods and said "look there is still antibiotic gel around your pin sites and the sites look good and healthy." After this he simply rewrapped my foot and said to see him in 2 weeks to have stitches out. Shouldn't he have told me to clean the sites daily as I see all over the web? My husband seems to think the surgeon wants it left untouched and wrapped. My worry from the start of this foot fracture nightmare has always been getting a bone infection and the funny thing is the surgeon knew my major concern from the start. i am a capable person and certainly competent enough to clean the site - do any of you recall not cleaning the pin sites?

 
Old 01-19-2010, 01:48 PM   #2
Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Brunswick Maine USA
Posts: 329
Janesfoot HB UserJanesfoot HB UserJanesfoot HB User
Re: Dr does not want me to clean the external fixation and pin sites

I was told not to clean the sites and to not allow them to get wet, and to keep it wrapped. If you keep the site wrapped, I believe the chance of infection would be less than exposing them to the elements. I have never heard or read of anyone who was told to clean the sites. When my pins were removed, my doctor told me to wait 48 hours before taking my first shower due to the risk of infection. He also told me no bath for an additional couple days until the site had healed over. With the pin in, the hole is a direct pathway to your bone.

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 01-19-2010, 03:11 PM   #3
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 34
Trixie1966 HB User
Re: Dr does not want me to clean the external fixation and pin sites

Thanks so much for the reply. The thing is I worried s when I went to show my older children the nasty bracket on my foot there was a how to on daily cleaning of the pins. Having pins drilled into my bones frightens me to no end - I am a control freak when it comes to issues of health but on the flip side I definitely trust my surgeon. I phoned him after I inquired on the board here and he clearly feels covered and left alone is the way to go. Thanks again for the help.

 
Old 01-19-2010, 09:45 PM   #4
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 177
jane806 HB Userjane806 HB Userjane806 HB Userjane806 HB User
Re: Dr does not want me to clean the external fixation and pin sites

Trixie - My surgeon told me the same as Janesfoot. He also told me that there is good bacteria that helps in healing, and as long as there aren't signs of infection (warmth, puss, pink skin), then leave it alone. You don't want dirt getting into the wound, so keep it covered.

~ Jill

 
Old 01-20-2010, 05:46 AM   #5
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 34
Trixie1966 HB User
Re: Dr does not want me to clean the external fixation and pin sites

Did either of you unwrap the foot to see if there were signs of infection? My surgeon doesn't even see that I need to do that but what concerns me is that I stopped all pain meds on day three and had a great day four but now on day five there seems to be an increased amount of pain. My husband said he figures the increased pain has to do with healing going on but I wonder if checking once every few days isn't the prudent thing to do. Ofcourse that exposes the pin sites to a greater chance of germs. How did your pain go as far as the first two weeks - I also have two insicions as he said a large part of my bone had been reduced to sand and he needed to enter from the side. How much pain is involved in the bones mending together? I was told I will be NWB for the full 6 weeks and that the ex fix device may be left in place for 8 to 10 weeks - doesn't this seem long for a first metatarsal break?

 
Old 01-20-2010, 08:04 AM   #6
Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Brunswick Maine USA
Posts: 329
Janesfoot HB UserJanesfoot HB UserJanesfoot HB User
Re: Dr does not want me to clean the external fixation and pin sites

I can only relate to you my experience. I over did the walking after the stitches were removed ( bunionectomy on first and fifth metatarsals with osteotomies and pin through each ) I still had the surgical shoe and pins, but could stump around on my heel. I guess I was so happy to be mobile that I over extended my self and ended up in excruciating nerve-like pain. I was ordered nwb for a week. The bone healing didn't seem as painful as the wound healing to me, except on the fifth metatarsal side, which I have come to learn is much more difficult to heal. My first met side healed quickly and easily in comparison. When I over did it I irritated the pin sites. They were the cause of almost all of my discomfort. You will feel weird sensations as the nerve endings heal. I encourage you not to move around too much until the pins are removed. I know it is tempting to look at the wounds, but I think the doctor's recommendations are sound.

 
Old 01-20-2010, 11:53 AM   #7
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 34
Trixie1966 HB User
Re: Dr does not want me to clean the external fixation and pin sites

Thanks for letting me know how your personal recovery went. The most unnerving part of this whole experience is all the big unknowns - I had an accident 10 days ago, met and dumped a couple of really scary surgeons and then agreed to a plan with the third solid behaving surgeon. The plan was that he would put me under and hopefully manipulate my broken bone into alignment but if this failed a minimal surgery with k wires would be done. I woke several hours later and he promptly advised me that he had to over ride our plan as my bone was like "sand." As a result he used cement to fill in the gaps of two breaks and used four steel rods and an external fixator to secure and lengthen the broken 1st metarsal. I think I mentioned in my other post that I am a relatively healthy 43 yo woman with a solid diet but I felt like I was ailing and 80 coming off the anesthesia. I had a uterine rupture back in 2000 after a botched vbac and do you know this foot surgery hurt way, way worse. Before surgery he had said a 4 to 6 week recovery after what he called a very straightforward problem. After I came to it had changed to an 8-12 week recovery with caution on "rushing things." The seriousness of recovering fully and well hit me hard last night. I love being active with my four kids and honestly retirement for me in 20 years hopefully involves heavy walking around Europe with minimal if any worldly possessions to get in the way of the fun and freedom. I had a panic attack last night where I pictured myself sedentary and in poor health living out my end days in Florida. No offense to Floridians but we are stuck here curreently due to my husband's employment and this is not what I want for long term. Sorry for the vent but where else than on a message board frequented by others laid up with foot problems! I get that the poor victims in Haiti would kill for visits to an air conditioned Drs office with access to a comfortable sofa for recovery, but I am so bloody scared of how this new unknown recovery will play out. Have you heard of any board members with a severe foot break to the 1st metatarsal that actually returned to an active lifestyle? I figure you have spent more time on these boards than I have and a search of the internet hasn't yielded much in the way of credible info.

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
Pain from external fixator r2larson Foot & Ankle Problems 2 09-12-2009 07:22 PM
external fixator or cast? jerod76801 Foot & Ankle Problems 2 06-18-2008 08:26 PM
What does a tomogram show? luvtocamp Bone Disorders 371 05-12-2008 03:44 PM
Does It Ever Change? coder Addiction & Recovery 10 06-30-2007 05:56 AM
I Want To Know Honestly - Is This My Fault? GypsyArcher Relationship Health 17 06-02-2007 06:52 AM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Sign Up Today!

Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

I want my free account

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:14 PM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!