Is it normal to feel tingling or heat spots following ankle surgery?

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I recently had ankle surgery after dislocating and breaking my right ankle in two spots. I now have a plate and seven screws and I am in a boot with crutches and some weight bearing in the boot. Is it normal to feel sharp tingling and a rush of heat in certain spots for a quick moment, then it goes away?

Disclaimer: Please note, this reply is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with a medical condition.

Things to Know

  • A sensation of sharp pain, tingling, and/or heat may be indicative of disruptions to nerve tissue.
  • Along with skin, muscle, and fascia, nerves may be disturbed during the surgical procedure.
  • Ice can be used as a therapeutic intervention, but can irritate sensitive nerve tissue.

Thanks for reaching out. Without a formal physical therapy examination, we’re limited in our ability to give you specific information regarding your ankle. However, based on your inquiry, there are several general principles that we can discuss.

After surgery, there can be several sensations that may be expected. It may also be expected that along with skin, muscle, and fascia, nerves may be disturbed during the surgical procedure. A sensation of sharp pain, tingling, and/or heat may be indicative of disruptions to nerve tissue.

In general, ice can be used as a therapeutic intervention that can allow for swelling and inflammation reduction. However, it can irritate sensitive nerve tissue if not applied appropriately. In general, apply ice for 15-20 minutes with use of small barrier such as a pillow case, or towel. This will avoid further irritation. 

If symptoms do not decrease, or change in any manner, it may be helpful to consult the surgeon to discuss symptoms and determine if they are to be expected as part of the normal healing process after surgery. In the meantime, it may be beneficial to schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist for post-operative rehabilitation, if cleared by the surgeon. 

Physical therapists will provide specific treatments, often including manual therapy, formal education, and exercise tailored to help address the tissue at fault. To locate a Therapeutic Associates practitioner near you, visit our clinic locator here.

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