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Fracture/Dislocation/Arthritic Ankle (hardware)..HELP


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Old 12-19-2008, 05:38 PM   #1
ravens20
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Fracture/Dislocation/Arthritic Ankle (hardware)..HELP

Hi everyone, I just joined the board and this is my first post.

In the summer of 2005, I fractured the lower part of my fibula and completely dislocated my ankle. I had surgery and a plate was inserted to hold the bone in place, along with 7 screws. My surgeon was a complete moron and didn't advise me to do any post-op PT. I had never experienced such an injury before so I didn't know any better. Anyway, for the past 3 years, the pain has gotten progressively worse and the arthritis has set in. I can't walk for any longer than 10-15 minutes before the pain is almost crippling. I have asked for 2nd and 3rd opinions on removing the hardware and they seem to think this wont alleviate the pain at all. Being an athlete growing up, this injury has robbed me of being able to play sports.

I'm here to ask if there is anything anyone would recommend or if they have a similar story to share? Thank you.

 
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:16 PM   #2
janewhite1
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Re: Fracture/Dislocation/Arthritic Ankle (hardware)..HELP

Several questions:

How old are you? (It matters.)

By arthritis, you mean post-traumatic osteoarthritis, growth of bone spurs, loss of cartilage, etc, diagnosed on an x-ray? If so, removing the hardware probably won't help, although there's a chance that cleaning the joint surgically (debridement) will.

Have these specialists included an orthopedist who is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon, preferably one with a good reputation?

If the arthritis is in an early stage, debridement can help. Also, if a lot of your pain is due to soft-tissue adhesions it can help. If it's more advanced, to the point that you have a major loss of cartilage, then an ankle replacement or fusion might be the best way to relieve your pain. Neither would allow you to run marathons, but either, if successful, would let you walk more comfortably.

If you have a recent x-ray or MRI report, you can tell us what it says.

 
Old 12-20-2008, 01:37 PM   #3
ravens20
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Re: Fracture/Dislocation/Arthritic Ankle (hardware)..HELP

Thank you for your reply.

I'm 23.

From what I was told by the ortho specialist, he said the cartilage is basically not there anymore and the osteoarthritis is whats causing the pain. I've had so many x-rays done in the past 1-2 years and it's always the same thing...
'the bone has healed but you can see theres arthritis forming' and I believe last time he said there was a bone spur. I am actually going to see another surgeon in the next week or so to see what he has to say. I just can't believe that this injury has been so crippling and the pain is lifelong.

Is microfracture surgery an option to spur some fibrocartilage growth? It seems that it has been successful in helping those with significant knee injuries.

 
Old 12-20-2008, 03:49 PM   #4
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Re: Fracture/Dislocation/Arthritic Ankle (hardware)..HELP

My understanding is, microfracture works well if there is an area of damaged cartilage, not so well if most of the cartilage in the joint surface is gone.

We've now left the area of stuff I know well, but we had a lady here, username of Happyfoot17, who was in a similar situation, severe arthritis following a broken ankle. You might want to look up her posts.

There are some possible procedures to deal with loss of cartilage, including cartilage transplant and something called distraction. Both are great if successful, but often they fail. Otherwise, you can replace or fuse the joint. Trouble with fusion is that it doesn't move, and you might then start getting problems in your knee, arch and toes. Trouble with replacement is that the artificial parts last about 20 years if you are careful and lucky, and then you need a new option.

Best I can tell you is to find a really good surgeon who has experience with cases like this. Do you live near a major metropolitan area with a teaching hospital?

Last edited by janewhite1; 12-20-2008 at 03:50 PM.

 
Old 07-04-2010, 08:28 AM   #5
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Re: Fracture/Dislocation/Arthritic Ankle (hardware)..HELP

Hi, I am amazed at how many people have this same story. I too had a trimalleolar ankle fracture and dislocation, The surgeon put in one plate and 9 screws. After three months he said I could walk on my own and he was done with me. Did not reccomend PT either. He said if I felt it would help he would prescribe it! I did insist on the therapy which did help, However, I am still in pain and it swells daily. I went for a second opinion and now have post traumatic arthritis, and non-union which means the bones did not heal together, they are held together with scar tissue. Some of these surgeons are complete jerks. Mine refused to sign for a disability tag so that I could get through the winter without slipping on the ice again! So now I am facing the possibility of ankle fusion or ankle replacement surgery. I am going to spend time readig these posts to find similar stories to ours. Take care...Erink58

 
Old 07-05-2010, 11:11 AM   #6
dianelev
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Re: Fracture/Dislocation/Arthritic Ankle (hardware)..HELP

Sorry to hear about your injury and complications. In Feb 09, I had a bimalleolar ankle fracture and dislocation. In the ER, one of the ortho docs said that this kind of injury frequently leads to arthritis down the road because of damage done to the cartilage. Like you, I had surgery with hardware to restabilize my ankle. I was fine for a few months, but then had more and more pain. I was diagnosed with a lot of subtalar arthritis (subtalar is part of the ankle joint) and ended up getting a subtalar fusion last month. I did have a lot of pt after my injury and I still ended up with arthritis. It sounds like once you dislocate your ankle, there is often underlying damage done to the cartilage. I am confident that the fusion will help with the pain, but unfortunately, it does restrict ankle joint motion.

Good luck in your recovery.

Diane

 
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:19 PM   #7
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Re: Fracture/Dislocation/Arthritic Ankle (hardware)..HELP

Hi, You sound exactly like me, I had trimaleolar fracture in 2004 and is now causing me more pain and discomfort than it ever has. Really don't know what to do with myself sometimes. Just had another x ray, doctor said nothing significant shown up, apart from bone still not healed but had calcified around it. The inevitable arthritis had set in. My physio said the ankle and foot seem ti be collapsing. Still no offer of help!! Just had total knee replacement done in April, need other one doing too. So feeling a little down right now. But won't let it beat me. Nice to know of someone else in similar situation. Good luck keep smiling Clarrie xx

 
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