Would a PT be able to help with pain from a trimalleolar fracture?

Therapeutic Associates
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I am ten days out of surgery for a trimalleolar fracture with displacement, due to severe trauma. One plate, many screws were placed in surgery, and I am now in a boot with no PT recommended at this point. I have nerve damage, whereby the burning (as if someone threw boiling water on the top of my foot), pressure sensitivity to touch, the boot – everything, as well as stabbing sensations are beyond painful. The pain is a significant 9/10, and pain doesn’t usually bother me. The actual wound site, and break – hardly bother me, it is all peripheral nerve damage pain. Would a PT be able to help in any way? Is there anything that can be done?

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

  • Most individuals with an injury like yours are referred to physical therapy.
  • There are various techniques to help address the symptoms and promote the body’s healing processes.
  • Many hands-on techniques, exercises, and modalities can be used to help manage symptoms related to nerve injury or swelling.

Thank you for reaching out. Without an in-person assessment and details of your case, it is hard to make a specific recommendation.

However, in general most individuals with an injury like yours are referred to a physical therapist to help with recovery. Increased sensitivity and nerve irritation can be a common response following a complex injury, and there are various techniques to help address the symptoms and promote the body’s healing processes. Many of these include managing swelling, protecting the area, and following the guidelines outlined by the surgeon. 

Because the initial stages of bone recovery often require immobilization, it is normal for surgeons to recommend delaying higher level activities until further in the recovery process. However, there are many hands-on techniques, exercises, and modalities that can be used to help manage symptoms related to nerve injury or swelling. For example, in the early stages of healing, patients are often provided desensitization exercises, such as running Kleenex over the sensitive area. 

We would recommend having a conversation with your surgeon to discuss expectations, current symptoms, and the possibility of following up with a PT to allow for more comprehensive management of your recovery. An in-person evaluation by a physical therapist will allow them to better assess your current symptoms and the most appropriate method to manage and reduce them.

To locate a Therapeutic Associates practitioner near you, visit our clinic locator here.

Mulligan Concept Manual Therapy Tibial Rotation

Physical therapy after surgery.

As physical therapists, we know the importance of movement for overall health and well-being. Our passion is to help every patient reach their goals and live an active, pain-free life.

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