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Ankle Surgery Plate And Screws

Truths About Life After Foot And Ankle Surgery

Should you have your plate and screws removed after your ankle fracture heals?

July 10, 2015 By momcafe

If you are facing or recovering from foot and ankle surgery- You landed in the perfect place.

I recently had another foot surgery. Yeah, I know. Im all about these surgeries, arent I? If you read one of my previous posts about the bulging screws causing pain in my foot, then I bet you can guess what happened next

The lovely surgeon took them out. Because they HURT. The swelling had finally gone down in my foot for these little suckers to be sticking out. So, things werent going to be getting any better.

Lets review-


Ive re-entered the post-surgery malaise of pain and elevation and icing and meds.

It shouldnt take too long to get back up and around, so they say. Im waiting it out with bated breath because lets be real for a minute.

It sucks.

Seeing as I already wrote my Ten Tips for a Woman in a Leg Cast, I thought I would fancy myself in writing a bit more to encourage the poor souls who suffer through such a trial. Ive found that piece is still reaching many, so I decided with this new refresher course I am currently taking- it was a worthy road to revisit. Life surely isnt easy when you only have one leg to stand on.


And when you are a mom of two kids?

Dang. Its hard.

Why Might I Need An Ankle Fracture Open Reduction And Internal Fixation

Certain medical conditions may make fracturing your ankle more likely. For example, osteoporosis increases the risk of fracture in many older adults. Motor vehicle accidents, tripping or falling, contact sports, and twisting your ankle are some of the more common sources of injury that can lead to an ankle fracture. Smokers and overweight people are more likely to fracture their ankle and have increased difficulty with healing.

You might not need ORIF if you fracture your ankle. Many people dont. If possible, your healthcare provider will treat your fracture with more conservative treatments, like pain medicines, casts, or braces.

You probably wont need ORIF unless there is some reason your fracture might not heal normally with these conservative treatments. You are more likely to need ORIF if:

  • The pieces of your leg are significantly out of alignment
  • Your broken bones punctured your skin
  • Your bones broke into several pieces
  • Your ankle is unstable

In these cases, ORIF can place your bones back into their proper alignment, increasing the chance that your bone will heal properly. You might need ORIF for a fracture that occurs anywhere along your ankle.

How Long Does It Take For A Broken Ankle With Screws And Plates To Heal

When will I know the results? It can take up to six weeks for the bones in the ankle to heal after surgery, but can take several months to a year of healing to regain full motion in the ankle. Before surgery, the doctor and surgeon will help you develop a plan for recovery.

Should I have the screws removed from my ankle?

These results suggest that routine hardware removal after ankle or distal tibia fracture could ameliorate hardware-related pain and improves daily activities and patient satisfaction even when the hardware-related pain is minimal.

Do bones heal faster with plates and screws?

Implanted metal can help broken bones heal in proper alignment. While these implants do not help the bone heal faster, they can help to hold bones in the proper position while healing takes place. Implants may include metal plates and screws, pins, and intramedullary rods inserted into the cavity of a bone.

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Here Are Some Sites I Found Helpfulinformation And Opinions On Hardware Removal

  • 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 authors 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.

Data Synthesis And Analysis

Hill Junkie: May 2010

In the event of the search strategy yielding two or more comparable randomised studies, a meta-analysis will be conducted.

For non-RCT studies, we will use descriptive statistics to summarise characteristics and findings of the included studies.

The quality of evidence for all outcomes in the included studies will be graded using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation working group methodology. The GRADE score is based on study quality, inconsistency of result, indirectness of evidence, imprecision, publication bias, large magnitude of effect and effect of plausible residual confounding. The final GRADE score is divided into four categories reflecting the quality of the evidence.

If important data are missing attempt will be made to contact the corresponding author.

If we need to amend this protocol, we will give the date of each amendment, describe the change and give the rationale. Changes will not be incorporated into the protocol.

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How Do Ankle Fractures Happen

Most people break their ankles after taking a direct hit on their ankle. They might fall hard, or be struck by something that caused their ankle to break. Here are some ways that an ankle fracture can happen:

  • Being in a motor vehicle accident.
  • Playing sports, particularly sports where you are likely to be hit on your ankle or you make sudden moves that twist your ankle.
  • Falling from a significant height.
  • Tripping and falling.
  • Taking a misstep and rolling” your ankle.

Duration Of Surgical Realignment For The Foot Or Ankle Recovery

  • Some patients can go home after surgery, while others may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two.
  • You will be fitted for a splint or cast to wear during recovery. You also may need crutches to get around.
  • Avoid putting weight on your ankle until your doctor has cleared you.
  • Recovery time depends on the severity of your injury and how complicated the surgery is.
  • Your surgeon will likely recommend physical therapy to help you regain your strength and ankle range of motion.
  • The metal plates or screws used in surgery will remain in your ankle. If they cause long-term pain, you may need to have them surgically removed.

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Tips And Tricks For Real Life And Living With An Ankle Fracture

As I wrote in a previous post with much more detail , I fell off a mountain and broke my ankle in three places, then managed to break a bone in my 5th toe on the other foot. This meant that my right ankle was in a hard cast for 6 weeks and I was 100% non-weight bearingbut this was challenging because the foot meant to be my stable base for crutching or knee scootering was often pretty wobbly and in a lot of pain.

Other advice for the return to weight-bearing:

If youre like me, youll switch back to weight-bearing accompanied by getting out of your hard cast and getting a walking boot of some sort. If you can, ask your ortho/doc in advance what kind of boot theyll put you in. Its often cheaper to get the boot yourself. Perfect example: my ortho didnt tell me what kind of boot I would need, and I looked at various boots online and saw they ranged $50-100 on Amazon. At my appointment he asked if I brought a boot and since I didnt, theyd provide one..and the paperwork I signed stated the price would be $427 if the insurance didnt cover it. Insurance negotiated down to $152 for me to pay out of pocket for since I havent hit my deductiblewhich is still 2-3x more than retail cost. UGH. So, if you can, buy your walking boot via retail. it may be cheaper to buy it new through Amazon/elsewhere than getting a medical purchase that goes through insurance and/or trying to do a rental.)

Other equipment that has come in handy:take a video

What Is An Ankle Fracture

How does a plate and screws help a broken bone heal?

An ankle fracture is a break of one of or both your ankle bones.

An ankle fracture is usually caused by a twisting injury to your ankle, resulting from sports or a simple fall or trip. There may be a break of the bone on the outer side of your ankle , the inner side , or both sides.

There may also be damage to your ankle ligaments.

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Popular Choice For Many Patients For Surgical Screw

A surgical screw is used to secure broken bones in the ankle. These screws are usually made of titanium or high-grade surgical stainless steel. They span from 1.5 mm to 7.3 mm, and they do not set off metal detectors. In addition, they do not pick up radio waves, which means they can be safely used during MRI scans. Additionally, they do not need to be removed before surgery. These factors make them a popular choice for many patients.

A surgeon may choose to insert screws in ankle fracture surgery when it is necessary to stabilize the fractured bone. This procedure is called open reduction and internal fixation. An incision is made over the fibula and a plate is inserted with screws to fix the fracture. The surgeon can also fix any ligament damage or additional fragments of bone. Depending on the severity of the fracture, the surgeon may use titanium or stainless steel screws in the repair.

Screws in ankle fracture surgery, also known as open reduction and internal fixation, involves making an incision on the tibia and inserting a plate with screws to fix the fracture. A second incision is often made in the medial ankle. A surgeon may use additional screws or plates to fix additional fracture fragments and ligament damage. Ankle surgery can involve the use of titanium or stainless steel screws. Surgical techniques may vary depending on the type of surgery and the location of the screws.

Is Hardware Removal Recommended After Ankle Fracture Repair

Dong-Oh Lee


The indications and clinical necessity for routine hardware removal after treating ankle or distal tibia fracture with open reduction and internal fixation are disputed even when hardware-related pain is insignificant. Thus, we determined the clinical effects of routine hardware removal irrespective of the degree of hardware-related pain, especially in the perspective of patients daily activities. This study was conducted on 80 consecutive cases treated by surgery and hardware removal after bony union. There were 56 ankle and 24 distal tibia fractures. The hardware-related pain, ankle joint stiffness, discomfort on ambulation, and patient satisfaction were evaluated before and at least 6 months after hardware removal. Pain score before hardware removal was 3.4 and decreased to 1.3 after removal. 58 patients experienced improved ankle stiffness and 65 less discomfort while walking on uneven ground and 63 patients were satisfied with hardware removal. These results suggest that routine hardware removal after ankle or distal tibia fracture could ameliorate hardware-related pain and improves daily activities and patient satisfaction even when the hardware-related pain is minimal.

1. Introduction

2. Patients/Materials and Methods

Patients were interviewed at the clinic by one of the authors who used a custom-made questionnaire to evaluate the functional changes in daily activities after hardware removal as shown as follows.

2.1. Statistical Analysis

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What Are The Different Types Of Ankle Fractures

Because the ankle joint comprises three bones, there are numerous types of ankle fractures. Doctors think of the ankle as having three sides and a “roof,” and fractures can occur in each of these areas or in combination.

The lower portion of the tibia forms the roof and medial of the ankle, while the lower portion of the fibula forms the lateral and posterior of the ankle.

Nutrition Is Vital To Recovery


While eating a healthy diet is important throughout your life, a well-balanced diet is especially vital for ankle surgery recovery. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Zinc can help your body to repair tissue damage, fight infections, and keep your skin healthy. Vitamin A is in animal foods and some brightly colored vegetables and fruits. Many vegetables and fruits are high in vitamin C. Zinc deficiency has been associated with delayed wound healing, reduced skin cell production, and reduced wound strength. Some dietary zinc sources include red meat, fish and shellfish, milk products, poultry, and eggs.

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Mri Procedure To Repair

The screws are made of high-grade surgical titanium and stainless steel and are used to repair broken bones. The screws will not pick up radio waves or set off metal detectors. They are safe for MRI tests. They will not cause radio waves or trigger metal detectors. They will not interfere with MRI procedures. The screw will remain in the foot and ankle for a long time. The procedure will allow the patient to walk again.

In addition to screws, there are two other types of plates that are used during ankle surgery. The first one is used for fibula fractures. The second type is for medial fractures. The screws in this type of surgery are used to stabilize the bone. The screws are made from stainless steel and titanium. During this procedure, the bones are cleaned and placed in a stable position. The surgeon inserts a plate and the screws in the other.


How Do I Get Ready For Ankle Fracture Open Reduction And Internal Fixation

ORIF often takes place as an emergency or urgent procedure. Before your procedure, a healthcare professional will take your health history and do a physical exam. Youll have an image of your tibia and fibula taken, with either an X-ray or a CT scan. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter medicines like aspirin. Also, let your healthcare provider know the last time you ate.

In some cases, your healthcare providers might do your ORIF a little later, so the swelling in your ankle can go down first. You might need to have your ankle held immobile while you wait for your surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to get ready for the surgery. Ask if there are any medicines you should stop taking ahead of time, like blood thinners. Youll need to avoid food and drink after midnight the night before your procedure.

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What Should I Expect From Ankle Fracture Surgery And Recovery

Your ankle fracture may not require surgery read more about that here. But if it does, here are a few things you should know.

How can I prepare for ankle fracture surgery?

First, the best thing to do is to minimize swelling by not walking on the ankle and by elevating your ankle. Decreased swelling helps control pain and aids the incision in healing.

Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about post-operative protocols. You also want to let your primary care physician know you are undergoing surgery, in case pre-operative testing needs to be completed. You may want to obtain items to help in your recovery, such as crutches, walker, knee scooter, and/or a shower chair.

What are surgical treatments for ankle fractures?

There are many different ways to surgically fix an ankle fracture. The orthopedic surgeons at Southwest Orthopedic Group individualize surgical care for ankle fractures based on the type of fracture and medical comorbidities.

Ankle fracture surgery is known as open reduction and internal fixation. In general, an incision is made on the outside of the ankle , and a plate with screws are used to stabilize the bone. If the medial ankle is also broken, a second incision is made on the inside of the ankle, and additional screws and/or a plate can be used. If there are any additional fracture fragments or ligament damage, they are also fixed at this time. The plate and screws can be stainless steel or titanium.

What are the risks of ankle fracture surgery?

What To Expect Following The Procedure

Resetting My Broken Ankle / “Provisional Reduction” at North Memorial Hospital

After ORIF, doctors and nurses will monitor your blood pressure, breathing, and pulse. Theyll also check the nerves near the broken bone.

Depending on your surgery, you may go home that day or you might stay in the hospital for one to several days.

If you have an arm fracture, you may go home later that day. If you have a leg fracture, you might have to stay longer.

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What Are The Types Of Ankle Surgery

Surgeries can range from minimally invasive arthroscopy to ankle replacement surgery. You will need local anesthesia or general anesthesia, so you sleep through the procedure.

Recovery times vary depending on the surgery. However, you should expect time on crutches followed by a period wearing a cast or walking boot.

Signs You May Need Surgery

Most ankle fractures dont require surgery, but if the ankle is unstable or the bones arent positioned correctly, it will need to be repaired surgically. And if theres a portion of your ankle bone sticking out of the skin, this is an open fracture that will require surgery. Also, if your ankle feels unstable, the bones are probably shattered and youll need to have them surgically put back together with pins or screws.

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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.

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