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Author Topic: Sharp pain in calf when weight bearing  (Read 3250 times)

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Offline Skiier Jo Jo

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Sharp pain in calf when weight bearing
« on: March 01, 2011, 01:45:48 PM »
Just wondering if anyone had sharp pains in the calf after having upper tibia fracture, eg, tibial plateau fracture or similar?  I have a plate and 10 screws and my surgeon thinks the pain could be a screw poking out through the bone, but is there anything else it could be?

I cannot quite pinpoint the pain, although it feels like it is in the calf muscle just behind where the tibia and fibia meet.  Pain meds (paracetemol and anti-inflammatories) don't seem to make any difference.  The pain is always there when I weight bear, although the intensity comes and goes.....tends to ease slightly after a few steps.  Is worst in the morning.

It does feel like a sharp tugging pain.....indeed as if someone is sticking a nail into my leg.....but don't want to go through hardware removal if that is not the cause.
Skiier Jo Jo

Aged 33
Fractured tibial tubercle (plus other bits sloughed off!) and displaced meniscus on 24th Dec 2010
Emergency surgery - Zimmer plate and 10 screws (8 permanent). Straight leg brace
Physio started on day 6. 
Feb 2011 - almost fully straighten leg, with up to 85 degree bend

Offline jpalen

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Re: Sharp pain in calf when weight bearing
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2011, 06:23:07 PM »
Hi Jo Jo,
I had my TPF on October 3 2010 and was in an external fixator for 14 weeks while my insurance shopped for a cheap surgery. The time for bone manipulation came and went and no surgery was ever done so I never got the plates and screws I was supposed to have. I did get major atrophy in the muscles and as they build back up I do get pain in the calf while weight bearing. I was attributing part of it to a shrunken achilles tendon, but part is just below the knee in the back of the leg and when I use the stationary bike with resistance set high it burn and aches like crazy. I don't have any feeling of anything poking or catching the muscle though so if you do, it may well be your hardware. From the posts I've read over the past few months you want the hardware in for at least a year for stability and then mostly the removal goes well.
TPF October 3, 2010
External Fixator Oct 4, 2010
Remove External Fixator Jan10, 2011
Insurance declines surgery.
Living with 2mm step in the tibial plateau.
Getting by.

Offline Skiier Jo Jo

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Re: Sharp pain in calf when weight bearing
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 02:26:50 PM »
Sorry to go on about this, but the pain I am feeling when I put weight on my leg is definately a screw sticking in my calf. When I feel along my calf muscle at the top near the knee crease, I can feel a slight stabbing feeling.....like someone sticking a screw into my muscle very slightly.  It is really really bad, although thankfully not there all the time...just when I stretch out my calf muscles.

I am really down today because of it. I tried to use only 1 crutch as much as possible yesterday and today I am sore. It is frustrating as I have the strength to walk with only 1 crutch, but this pain means I can't.

The screws causing the problem are the ones holding my tubercle on (see attached xray), so I guess that means they won't be able to do anything about it for a long long time (maybe up to a year?). Does this mean I will have this pain all that time and will not be able to walk without crutches until have them out? I reckon that the answer is yes.

Cried for most of the night thinking about it and could not get up this morning. Feel really numb and a bit sick. Trying to stay postive, I mean, so what if I have to use crutches until the end of the year...it's not so bad. I can drive a bit now and am starting to get my life back. I can actually walk quite far on crutches.

Bit scared of what my physio will tell me when I tell her it's not going to work and that I am not going to be able to lose the crutches. She is a bit scary, although brilliant.

I am seeing the surgeon on 11th, but not sure what he can do to help...probably nothing.

Skiier Jo Jo

Aged 33
Fractured tibial tubercle (plus other bits sloughed off!) and displaced meniscus on 24th Dec 2010
Emergency surgery - Zimmer plate and 10 screws (8 permanent). Straight leg brace
Physio started on day 6. 
Feb 2011 - almost fully straighten leg, with up to 85 degree bend

Offline jpalen

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Re: Sharp pain in calf when weight bearing
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 06:48:12 PM »
Wow JoJo
The xrays sure look like the scews are a bit too long and poking out the back of the bone. If the plate needs to stay in for a year perhaps you can talk to your surgeon on the 11th about an arthroscopic surgery to replace the screws with 5mm shorter for the top and 15mm shorter for the bottom so they won't extend past the bone. Surely he can see in the xrays that this would be a problem with creating pain and possible scar tissue to the muscle.
Hope all goes well with your appt.
Jim
TPF October 3, 2010
External Fixator Oct 4, 2010
Remove External Fixator Jan10, 2011
Insurance declines surgery.
Living with 2mm step in the tibial plateau.
Getting by.

Offline Skiier Jo Jo

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Re: Sharp pain in calf when weight bearing
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 10:22:16 PM »
Thanks Jim, unfortunately no such luck!  Saw my OS yesterday and spoke to him about the screw in my leg which is causing a lot of pain when I put full weight through my leg. Unfortunately (and not suprisingly) he cannot remove it for at least 6 months as it would likely cause my tibia to come apart again. :(

The screw is basically holding on my tubercle which joins to the tendon which is attached to the kneecap....so a lot of strain is put through this when I move my knee.....not a good idea to release that screw as it would not really be firm enough yet to hold.

I thought I would be gutted, but I am quite pragmatic about it....probably because I knew what he would say from studying the xrays myself. The pain is not there when I am 2 crutches, so the worst case is that I get on with life with 2 crutches for a while.

The surgeon thinks my body will adapt and the bone will start to grow over the screw which will make it a bit better....not sure about this, but as I get stronger I am managing to walk further without my crutches with less and less pain. I guess this is giving me hope.

Doubt I will be pain free until those blooming screws are out, but I am coping and life goes on. For instance, the things I managed to do this week for the first time since my injury are:
- sleep all the way through the night without waking up with a dead leg! (I was waking at least 2-3 times every night previously)

- drove to work (90 miles away) and managed a day in the office. Was great!!! Will do 2 days in the office next week and 3 the week after that...work are being very supportive, but need me back now.

- Went on a sales trip without an entourage!!!! My client did carry my bag out of sympathy, but was still quite pleased with myself.

- I did the gardening today! OK, it was with a long handled hoe, but still I managed to hobble around bumpy ground without my crutches carrying this heavy hoe and really enjoyed myself. I did keep expecting my neighbours to come by and tell me off for being out! ;)

- I walked up the stairs without my crutches!!!! Can't yet go downwards due to a lack of ROM, but I'll get there soon.

So, bad that I have to live with that screw sticking out through the bone and sticking in my calf muscle, but it seems to be getting more bearable and life is starting to get back to normal. Yipppeeeee!!!!

Skiier Jo Jo

Aged 33
Fractured tibial tubercle (plus other bits sloughed off!) and displaced meniscus on 24th Dec 2010
Emergency surgery - Zimmer plate and 10 screws (8 permanent). Straight leg brace
Physio started on day 6. 
Feb 2011 - almost fully straighten leg, with up to 85 degree bend















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