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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,163

    To remove the metal or not (ankle)?

    So i know i have posted before about my ankle but its nearing a year since my surgery and i need to make the decision to get my metal taken out before ski season this fall or not.

    As a background, i broke my Fibia and tore my deltoid in an unfortunate drunken accident last fall and had surgery. They put a metal plate in to secure my fib and 5 screws. I am recovering well - not complete range of motion and some stiffness but feeling pretty good. If i want the metal out i will do it in September before ski season - the doc says it will be a month off the ankle to allow the bone to heal and then i'll do a little PT and be back to my good ol' self. So my question is.....is it worth it? I'm only 23 so the thought of having metal in my ankle the rest of my life is kinda scary although it hasn't really bothered me yet. I skied late season in CO and it felt ok in the boot but i'm not sure how my planned 100 day season next year will do with it?

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    5,617
    FWIW, I have a friend who waited over 10 years to have the metal taken out of his ankle and it wound up being a much more painful ordeal than it would have been had he taken care of it sooner.

    I have metal in my hand but I don't think it was ever meant to be taken out - it doesn't really bother me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    209
    I had a metal plate and three screws in my ankle to fuse a broken/dislocated fibula to my tibia. I ended up having an infection or an allergic reaction to the metal - my skin didn't heal over it for the entire time it was in there. I had it taken out and felt SO much better. I played a gig two days later (tympani with an orchestra - had to use my feet) and felt fine with the occasional painkiller.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,163
    Quote Originally Posted by amyzilla View Post
    I had a metal plate and three screws in my ankle to fuse a broken/dislocated fibula to my tibia. I ended up having an infection or an allergic reaction to the metal - my skin didn't heal over it for the entire time it was in there. I had it taken out and felt SO much better. I played a gig two days later (tympani with an orchestra - had to use my feet) and felt fine with the occasional painkiller.
    Hmmm interesting indeed - my doc says i will need to be on crutches for a month because the 5 screws, once out will now be holes which could compress if i put weight on them before letting them heal. Were you playing tympani sitting? How long before you resumed normal activity? I am under the impression that as soon as the month is over and the cast is off, i will be good to go?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    209
    Raps, yours sounds a little more involved - I didn't have to wear a cast after the surgery. I had three screws - one of them was all the way through the ankle, but the other two were just little ones to hold the plate in place. I could bear weight right away and only used crutches for a day or two. I was sitting probably half the time I was playing, and spent a fair amount of time on my feet too. I spent a little time on the dance floor that night - that should give you some idea of how quickly I resumed normal activity.

    In any case, having the metal taken out is probably a lot easier to recover from than having it put in. Make sure you listen to what your doctor tells you, but as far as pain and recovery goes, I bet it won't be too bad.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    fart collins
    Posts
    230
    take it out, that or snowboard for the rest of your life..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,163
    Thanks for the responses guys, i think i'm definately gonna take it out then. Probably gonna schedule the surgery for mid to late september so i will be good to go come November

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    In Anchortown looking to get my career on track
    Posts
    4,846
    I have an 8" plate, 8 screws and 8 pins in my ankle. I have had it since 1997, the doc said he would recommend me to keep it rather than have it removed. The rational, from what i remember is, once a break has occured in an area which sees a high stress factor, it will be that much more likely to refracture. I have had little issues with the plate, every now and again it is sore and when the scar gets hit, it is extra sensitive compared to the other ankle when it gets hit.
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