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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM

Skin discoloration

by Wendy
(Texas)

Six months after ankle surgery and there is skin discoloration




I was wondering if you could help me.. my husband has had four different ankle surgeries over the past 18 months on his right ankle after he broke it at work. It started out that they put a plate and pins in to correct the break, then took one pin out so he coule start PT, then in 10/07 he had a reaction to the remaining pins and plate so they removed those. He went back to work, but still had a lot of pain and swelling that he delt with along with some discoloration around the scar. Then in July 2008 a different doctor went in and removed part of the nerve saying that part of it was caught in the incision and was causing his pain. But since then he still has had a great deal of pain and swelling in his ankle, hardly able to work because he can not stand for long periods of time, and he is always getting cramps in the calf of that leg. Can you give me an idea of what is causing the brownish discoloration and the cramping? he also has had a lot of muscle loss in that leg.
He is 42yrs old, and his weight now thanks to this injury is 280 lbs and he is at 5'8 1/2". He tries to walk what he can using the ankle brace and cane, but it is not much due to the pain.
I am not sure if the picture will help much.
Thank you.

Hi Wendy,
The brownish discoloration is known as hemosiderin deposits which is nothing more than bleeding under the skin. It is pretty much permanent and it is harmless.
The bigger problem is your husbands ability to walk. In general the more surgery a person has in the same area, the greater the liklihood there is going to be problems later on. As far as your husband's ankle goes it sounds like the "Perfect Storm". He broke his ankle, had it repaired, had to have hardware removed, then had partial nerve resection, etc.
Since I do not have the luxury of examining him I cannot accurately predict the future for your husband.
Of all his doctors pick the one that you have the most trust in and have a very specific conversation on what can be done at this point to make your husband more functional.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Jul 14, 2015
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Post surgery
by: Betty L.

I had foot surgery on March 5, 2015 on L ankle. Tendon was torn and after x-raying they found a bone had 'moved' and needed to be fused/pinned. Since then my foot will not heal and they have to 'go back in'. My question is, when I DO try to take a few steps on it, the pain is severe and my foot turns 'orange'. What is that? Anything to worry about? It just gets bright!

RESPONSE
A change in color generally means a problem with circulation; either the blood coming into the foot, or blood trying to leave the foot.

Not so sure about the color orange as I have never seen that, but this issue needs to be brought to the attention of your surgeon.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Dec 12, 2010
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skin discoloration on ankle after surgery
by: Anonymous

hello i am a 36 year old male from toronto I am worried about the skin discoloration around my scars as i broke my ankle a year ago and still fairly dark where the staples where on both sides of my ankle how do i know when there is a serious problem and should i worry thanks email me at shanetor@hotmail.com with any remark s comments advice etc. thank you

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Mayo Clinic

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Columbia University Department of Rehabilitation

ScienceDirect

Stanford Health Care

Illinois Bone and Joint Institute

Mount Sinai Hospital

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University of Florida Health

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University of Maryland Medical Center

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