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Burning and stabbing pains in a previously broken ankle

by Merry
(Topeka - Kansas)

Forty four years ago I broke my ankle in a car accident. I was driving and had my foot on the brake when I hit another car head on. I have pins in my ankle and have always had problem when it rains or turns cold. For the last year I have had a terrible terrible burning sensation where my surgical scar is and a stabbing pain around my ankle bone. The burning sensation I sometimes have to take an aleve for and the stabbing pain which runs up my leg makes me stop in my track when I am walking. Or my ankle gives out on me These two symptoms I have every day. Somedays worse then others. What can be done and what might be going on? My mother many years ago broke a hip and years later they went back in and took out the pins as they were causing many problems. Could this be what I need to have done or am I just going to have to live with my pain?


Hi Merry,
Perhaps the pins in the surgical site is part of the problem. Unfortunately in these types of accident situations, fixing the problem may be successful up to a point.
You need to have an xray to see what the surgical site looks like, to see if any pins have moved.
Part of your symptoms sound like you may have a nerve entrapped in the scarring and may be the reason why you are getting shooting pain up the leg.
Make an appointment with a local doctor and get a full evaluation.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Jun 17, 2010
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broken ankle
by: Jean

I had a car accident and broke my ankle due to having it on the brake when another vehicle struck me. I have constant pain in my ankle ...burning and chronic... The surgery did not allow any hardward because the bones were too shattered. The doctors do not believe that I am in constant pain!! I am absolutely out of my mind. Six months after surgery, pain and loss of range of motion. You should demand another CT/MRI and have the hardware checked out. They don't listen to us. Good Luck!

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soft lump

by Melissa
(Akron, Ohio)

persistent pain and soft lump on incision site of plate and screws after ankle break



Its been almost 3 months since I broke my ankle (tri-malleolar), dislocated it, and had surgery to insert a plate along the outside of my ankle and 8 screws put in. Although I can put some weight on it and have more movement than I did a week ago or the week previous and so on, I have pretty chronic pain on the outside of my ankle bone. The pain seems to originate from the actual knobby ankle joint and radiates around my ankle and into my foot. I am beginning pt and they said I was "behind the curve" in healing, and my range of motion is less than what would be expected. I've done all that the surgeon has advised and am becoming frustrated with the pain and constant reminded that my foot still won't turn or flex a certain way. Any suggestions or guesses to whether this is normal or if there is something going wrong with the healing process? Thanks so much!

Hi Melissa,
Without actually examining you I cannot tell you if you are behind the curve in terms of healing. However, physical therapy hopefully will go a long way in getting you up to speed. A tri-malleolar fracture is a nasty fracture and it is going to take time to heal.
Your best bet would be to speak with your surgeon just to make sure everything is healing well.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Jun 25, 2013
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Ankle Surgery
by: Jana French

I broke ankle back in 2008, it is now years later and I have a small knot forming on it and its sore to walk on. It's on my right side and had pins and screws. They were left in my ankle and doctor told me I shouldn't worry about removing them unles the time becomes a necessity. Thank you

Hi Jana,
In most cases the "knot" that forms is from one of the screws backing out. You should check with your surgeon and whether or not the screw should be removed.
Marc Mitnick DPM

Oct 10, 2009
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Tri Malleolar foot pain after break
by: Sally

Hello,

I broke my foot July 3, 2009. I too am walking with a cane and sneaker with pain at the site of plate and screws. I am however, much more mobile thna 1 month ago. I understand it takes 6 mos. to 1 year to heal with much less pain. This is of course with therapy...Sally

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Hallux Limitus and Orthadics

Hello,

I first started having pain in the ball of foot 6 months ago, and
had a pair of orthadics made which had great arch support but
started causing pain under the base of the 1st toe. I wore them for
another week thinking I needed to break them in but the pain got worse
and I discontinued using them, even though the main ball of foot pain was
gone and the pain lessened right away.

I went to a new doctor who said that I have functional hallux limtus
and that I should have a new pair of orthadics made.
After the 3days of wearing them they caused even more pain then the last pair.
It caused even more pain under the big toe joint as well as the 2nd,3nd,4th
joints as well!

What can be causing all my toes to jam back into their sockets?
This only happens when I wear orthadics.
Is it possible that the arch supports are too high elevating the toes?

Thanks
A.O


Hi A.O

Assuming a proper diagnosis was made, there is a real possibility that the orthotics that have been made for you are no good and of course without seeing you and the orthotics, it is just a guess on my part.
If your first pair of orthotics were relatively new they probably could have been adjusted to add the components that the new doctor wanted in an orthotic.
The only thing you can do is go back to the second doctor and tell he or she that the orthotics hurt too much to wear and have them adjusted.
If you are using a quality doctor this should not be a problem.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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ankle foot pain

by jonathan
(Louisiana)

hi. I work on a drilling rig in the gulf of Mexico. I have 2 week on and off schedual. When I am at work my left ankle will hurt about an hour after I start my tour, and will hurt until I get off. The pain usually starts on the interior of my ankle and over time will spread to my foot, my entire ankle, and sometimes up to my knee. It will get to the point where I can hardly use it because of the pain and the weakness. It never swells and once I get off work and go to bed it feels fine after some rest. I have been to get an x-ray and nothing was found to be abnormal. I am 26 years old, weigh 245 lbs, and am 5'10".

Hi Jonathan,
Well obviously you are a big guy at 245lbs and if nothing else you are putting a lot of pressure on the ankle and foot, especially standing for long periods of time at work.
Have you had any treatment. If not, I would suggest you have some treatment, if you have had treatment and are no better I would suggest an MRI.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Oct 27, 2008
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treatment
by: Jonathan

the only treatment I have had is wearing an ankle brace, but that hasn't helped. My doctor was supposed to have me start physical therapy but I haven't recieved any info about that yet.
I thought about asking for pain meds but the x-ray didn't show anything and when someone my age comes in and asks to be taken on my word alone I think they asume I just want to get pain pills.

Jonathan,
There are pain meds and there are pain meds. Your doctor could give you an anti-inflammatory agent that should help the pain and is non-narcotic, so do not be afraid to ask. Also, push the office to get you set up for physical therapy, because the longer you wait, the less effective the physical therapy will be.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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bunion surgery

by Patty
(Rome, New York)

Hi,I read your comment and have had the hardware removed last Friday, Oct 10. I have a big staple, screw and a smaller staple removed. Only a small staple is in the big toe. Stitches come out in 1 week. I am in the velcro shoe. The podiatrist said the screw was irritating the tendon. I will keep you posted as to whether pain goes away after I am in my sneaker again.

Hi Patty,
It sounds like you had a lot of hardware in a very small area and certainly that could have been the reason why your foot was still hurting. Hopefully, you will now do better.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Jul 29, 2009
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pain and stiffness
by: patty

it's been many months since my removal of the hardware of my bunion removal. i till feel pain and stiffness in my foot in the surrounding area of my toes. is this something that will pass in years to come (if so whats the time frame) or is this just normal?

Oct 24, 2008
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Hardware out - foot stiffness
by: Patty

Hi Doctor,
Thanks for both of your responses. I am now two weeks out from getting the hardware removed in my foot. The only thing I have is a small staple in the big toe (akin procedure). I am currently out of the velcro shoe after the stitches removed on Tuesday. I am in my sneakers (Wide New Balance walking shoes with my recently made orthotics) and am experiencing a great deal of stiffness. Is this normal after hardware removal? I see my surgeon again in 2 weeks. Thanks!

Hi Patty,
If you are having stiffness I would recommend you ask your doctor about some additional physical therapy, you might not want to wait the 2 weeks, but should consider calling him sooner.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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hardware-related pain in ankle

by Stephanie
(Sun Prairie, WI, U.S.A.)

Before and After

Before and After

On Jan 19 2010, I broke and dislocated my right ankle. After my doctor reset my ankle and then performed O.R.I.F. later that evening which resulted in two long screws in my tibia and a plate with 7 screws in my fibula. It has been 5 months since my surgery, but I have been having sever pain in my ankle for several weeks. The pain is only where the hardware is located, I can literally press on the heads of the screws to alleviate some pain for like 30 seconds but it comes right back. So far nothing has helped relieve the pain, for instance: NSAIDs, using an ankle brace (3 different styles), arthritis creams (aspercream, bengay, mayoflex, biofreeze, icy hot), arnica gel, and the R.I.C.E. method. All my doctors have told me is that the pain is normal and that if it is truly bothering me that I can have the hardware removed late Oct of this year. Any suggestions to relieve the pain or exercises that might help would be appreciated.

Hi Stephanie,
Unfortunately the end result will probably be having the hardware removed later on down the road once your surgeon is satisfied that the fractures have all adequately healed.
In these situations you have to experiment around until you find something that will make you more comfortable.
The only other thing that I can think of that might help would be to wear a walking cast which would help take the strain off the hardware and the healing fracture.
Obviously, there is a good chance this too may not help, but it may be worth a try.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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bumps on the side of my foot

by kara
(grandrapids, michigan, us)

skin rash on foot

skin rash on foot

i went ice skating and the next day i had one or two itchy bumps on the side of my foot, when i scratched it, it hurt really bad. the bumps hurt to touch. the area is red and irritated, the bumps have enlarged a bit and there is now three of them in a row. the area feels swollen as well, the middle the biggest bump looks kind of clear like its full of liquid or just empty. do you know what this is?

RESPONSE
Hi Kara,

My first thought would be that it is some kind of irritation from the skates you were wearing. By just looking at it from a picture I do not know exactly what it is but the treatment would be the same.
That treatment would be to incise each bump and drain them. After draining them I would start applying betadine solution in an effort to dry out the lesions. The quicker the lesions dry out, the quicker your problem will go away.
Obviously I have to suggest you let a doctor drain them as the biggest problem becomes the possibility of a bacterial infection if they are not drained properly.
The other option is to treat the lesions topically with a topical cortisone cream or possibly a topical antifungal cream (if it happens to be athletes foot) but in either event this will take longer to resolve the problem.
Your other issue will be future eruptions when you ice skate again, so you will have to figure out a way to avoid this situation again.
My suggestion would be to see a foot specialist in your area and let the doctor decide the best course of action.

Marc Mitnick DPM
DISCLAIMER


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broken fifth metatarsal

by Mary
(Milledgeville, Georgia )

I broke my foot on July 28th. It was displaced in 2 places an eighth of an inch. The doctor put me in a cast for 2 weeks. I then went into a walking boot for 4 weeks. Went back and had it x-rayed again. The little girl that took the x-ray said how did you break your foot. I knew then it had hardly healed. I was very disheartened and upset because it looked no different than the way it looked on July 28th. When my doctor came in he knew I was upset. He told me to continue to wear the walking boot for 2 more weeks. Then I was fitted for this lace up supportive boot that I can wear inside a shoe. My concern is that I have not walked on my foot since July 28th with no physical theraphy. I just have a gut feeling it is not healing properly. It was done at work so workman's comp. made me an appt. with the doctor they had on the list. When I went to the emergency room the dr. there told me pins and surgery. The P.A. at the doctor's office said I needed pins, plates, and surgery. I have not had any physical theraphy at all.

Hi Mary,
Fifth metatarsal fractures depending on where the "break" is can be very hard to heal.
Physical therapy is of no value right now. If the gap between the bones is not too large, you can ask your doctor about a bone stimulator which is a device that creates an electrical current across the fracture site to heal the fracture, it can be very rewarding. If however the gap is too great then unfortunately you are looking at surgery. It is just a shame you have wasted so much time with this injury.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Jul 03, 2011
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Accupuncture
by: Anonymous

Hi,

I had the exact same thing you did with no gap, and got a boot the same day and crutches three days later. Three weeks later, I had a gap, 2mm, because I had little pain so walked around with an ace bandage. The doc said it was going to be 3-6 months and wanted me to do a $4,000 stimulator. Instead, I started going for accupuncture twice per week. They also gave me herbs to cook and soak my foot daily, also herbs to stimulate healing internally, and pain patches to put on the spot where the break was overnight.
I stayed off it as much as possible, and after 3 WEEKS,it had healed 50%!! It is still stiff but no pain, and for the most part, I am trying to still stay off it so it can completely heal. My guess is that with the next xray in three weeks it will be completely healed. WEstern medicine hands you a boot and crutches and you are on your own, good luck! Accupuncture helps you to heal it from the inside out plain and simple. Mine is from China where you have to be an MD for several years before you can be an accupuncturist. Thank God for her,and for her partner! Good Luck, I highly recommend this in addition to your Podiatrist.

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burning and swelling of toes and metatrasal area

by vstyle1
(columbia, s.c)

6 months ago i had surgery on removal of bone spurs from four of my toes including bunion removal hoping for relief of burning and painful foot after standing and walking all day long. on my first visit i was told that i needed foot surgery on both of my foot. this has been the worst mistake i believed i made. today and every minute of the day i suffer severe pain in the foot and now today i was told that there was no idea of whats wrong with my foot. I have choronic swelling in four toes and more than before extreme burning. Wearing shoes is impossible for closed in shoes. I had an MRI that showed edema and bone spurs as well as prutrusion that still exist. the metatarsal and sesamoid bones has swelling. I am more than just fed up with this problem I am totally mentally distrubed about this. someone please help. I need answers.

Hi,
Foot surgery is NEVER the first treatment for bone spurs. There are certainly more conservative treatments available which should always be tried first.
You unfortunately went to a knife happy doctor. I cannot help you from this distance, but I what I would recommend is that you seek a second opinion and certainly do not consent to additional surgery until less invasive options have been explored.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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May 12, 2009
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Related to foot surgery
by: Anonymous

Thank you Dr. Mitnick for your comment on my surgery. I continue to have pain when walking thoughout the day which is very minimal, My fifth toe seams to have bone fracture after seeing the x-ray as well as protrusion on the fourth toe I wonder what this doctor was trying to do by causing problems to my foot that i did not have in the first place all my toes look deform and there are notice of keloids scars on the top of my foot where he removed thread you i mean thread the first 11 day of my surgery which was not about to be heeled. I am really out of [atience with this doctor cause he is not concerned about what really is wrong and my secound opion dr. will not take the time to tell me what is really wrong. Here is a picture of what my foot looke like after the surgery.

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After Bunion Surgery I ached in every Joint in my body

Hi Dr., 6 yrs ago I had Bunion Surgery. 3 months after the surgery I called my Dr to complain about pain in all the joints in my whole body. I asked him why I was experiencing this type of pain now when I never had it before the surgery?
He proceeded to tell me that it wasn't a Bunion after all. It was a pocket of Arthritis, and once that pocket is cut open, the Arthritis will spread through ones body like wild fire. Still, today I have alot of joint pain. I read all of your blog and all of your web pages but couldn't find anything about this type of thing. Is this normal or frequently happen? Is a Bunion and an Arthritis pocket easily mistaken for each other and the Dr won't know until after surgery which one it is? Do you know what the name for this type of arthritis is and the best way to treat it? Every time I have mentioned it to my MD, they just smile at me like I made a joke and I can't find another Dr in my small town who will take a 47 yr old with Medicare. Thank you for your time, Annette

Hi Annette,
I understand why your MD smiles; I have never heard of anything like that before. Osteoarthritis which is the most common cause of arthritis does not "spread" like a virus or infection, just like getting a flat in one of your tires does not spread to the other tires to cause a flat.
Initially I would have thought that perhaps you had a reaction to anesthesia but 3 months after the surgery is too long a period of time.
My best guess would be that you did have an arthritic flareup of some sort but it was probably not related to your bunion surgery; it was more coincidence than anything else.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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burning pain in the balls of my feet

by Cathy
(California)

For the last few years I have been experiencing foot pain that is hard to describe. The pain is like a burning, stinging pain that radiates into my toes. It started out only happening when I wore high heeled dress shoes and progressed to constant pain. I even woke up at night due to the severity of pain. After having a cardiac ablation procedure, the pain went away. The doctors stated that it had to be completely unrelated.

Now, a year later, the pain is returning and progressively worsening. My GP doesn't have any suggestions and the podiatrist couldn't find anything wrong. The pain is real and it is starting to inhibit my daily life. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Hi Cathy,
I agree with your doctor, they are unrelated. Read my section on Morton's neuroma; that would be the first condition that would come to mind. If you are having pain in the ball of the foot that is radiating into the toes then it is probably nerve irritation. If the nerve itself is not irritated then there may be pressure on the nerve causing similar pain.
An MRI with contrast might be a good idea if your podiatrist cannot make a diagnosis.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Mar 18, 2009
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burning pain in ball of foot and toes
by: Anonymous

I have been seeing an accupunturist. It may sound odd but after two visits the pain is dramatically better.

Mar 17, 2009
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foot pain
by: lisa

im having the same pain in my right foot i can't bend my toes and the ball of my foot,toes and the top of my toes hurt and burn really bad i thought it was these boots i was wearing but with soes no matter what kind or no shoes at all it still hurts really bad my dr. told me it was because i had a callous he remove the callous and it hurts worse now than before i think the callous kind of protected it do anybody have any suggestions please thank you

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ANKLE PAIN & GROW SOMETHING LUMP

by TRACY
(READING ,PA IN BERKS COUNY)

LEFT ANLKE

LEFT ANLKE

I HAVE METAL ON MY LEFT ANKLE AND IT GREW LIKE A WATER BUBBLE AND MY LEG IS TURNING BLACK FROM IT,COULD IT BE FROM THE METAL INSIDE? IT PAIN FULL AT TIMES , IT FEELS LIKE THE ARE STABBING ME WITH A NEEDLE SOMETIMES. SHOULD I WORRY CAUSE IT DOES HURT MOST OF THE TIME?

Hi Tracy,
Yes, you can assume it is from the metal in your ankle and yes you should worry because it hurts all the time. Go see your doctor.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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big toe toenail pain on both feet

by Cindy Muller
(neptune nj usa)

I was hiking three days ago on a steep rocky trail. On the way downhill the big toenail on both feet began to hurt. My toenails are a little above the end of my toe and i think they got pushed in, they are attached and look healthy but the area at the base of my toenail is swollen and red and I can't put even light pressure on my toenail

Hi Cindy,
By walking downhill and having nails that may be too long, the nail gets jammed back into the toe and usually the back part of the nail (proximal nail fold) will become red and inflamed, there is also the chance that it may become infected.
The smart move would be to see a podiatrist and have the nails evaluated.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Aug 14, 2010
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big toenial pain both feet
by: Anonymous

I have this happen after hiking with gym shoes on a very simple trail that is paved. This happens whenever my feet are in close toed shoes. The shoes are the right size and I want to walk for my daily exciercise. What do I do?

Jul 01, 2010
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Big toe tonail pain on both feet
by: Anonymous

Hi, it's summer, I wear sandals or go barefoot. I'm having horrible toenail pain a lot like what you've described except for the redness and swelling. Nothing has changed in how my toes and toenails look, it's just the pain, is's horrible. I also have ultra hard callouses on the side of both big toes. I shave with pednail which is great but the callouses come back within a few days but the pain is constant. I have already been dx with sensorymotorpoly neuropathy from spinal cord damage. Could this be yet another symptom? Any idea what I can do for the pain? For the callouses? Thanks

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bottom of the foot pain (all over)

by Michael
(Barrie, Ontario, Canada)

I have a kidney transplant, type 2 diabetes as a result of the transplant and high blood pressure. About a year ago I was diagnosed with plantar faciitis. At this point the pain is reduced but is all over the bottom of both feet. I have found a help for this condition lately that does help for a while but has to be repeated every couple of days. I roll a golf ball under the bottom of my feet with some pressure. All the sore spots seem to go away. I have never found this condition documented on the net. I am beginning to think it may be a drug interaction. I take anti-rejection drugs, calcium bicarbonate because my blood is acidic, blood pressure medication and prostate medication. I was wearing store bought orthodics, but my feet feel better in the long run without them or even shoes. My doctor seems to be confused, but stated that it is likely still a plantar problem. What do you think?

Hi Michael,
Without the luxury of being able to examine you but based on your "story" I would agree that you still have plantar fasciitis and that is the source of your pain.
One treatment for fasciitis that physical therapists do is deep tissue massage in an effort to loosen up the ligament and increase the blood flow to the foot.
I would argue that your golf ball rolling is accomplishing the same thing. I see no harm in continuing with the exercise.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Jan 03, 2009
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Statins
by: Mistergas

Any complaints of burning / (severe) load bearing pain (1.5 years) in both feet following EXTENDED statin therapy?

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