Lingering pain after a broken bone (months and years)

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by beaglesandbass, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. beaglesandbass

    beaglesandbass Think first, then post? Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    A few years ago I fractured my right foot (avulsion fracture). Since then off and on I've pain in my foot. Sometimes it's a sharp pain, sometimes it's dull and lingering. Sometimes it only hurts with movement, sometimes it hurts no matter what. Dr. has tried immobilizing it, tried PT.. nothing has really solved the issue. X-rays were negative so there hasn't been another break. I've become kinda complacent about it and haven't gone back to see her. Some days it doesn't bother me at all and I can run, play sports, jump around on stage; and then there will be days where it hurts so bad I walk with a little bit of a limp.

    Is this just one of those things I'll have to live with or does anyone have any suggestions?

    As a bonus for my wonder streak of luck, last year (on my honeymoon!) I broke my left foot (same kind of fracture too). I have the same issue with that foot as well, but not nearly as bad as the right foot.
    rollie 55 and murphy like this.
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    You mention one doctor. Have you tried another?
  3. Have you been to see a physiotherapist?
  4. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Yes. I injured a knuckle in a shop accident (the boss modified a tool by removing a safety stop on a bolt cutter), which resulted in a painful mass that lingered for years. I had actually forgotten about this, but around 2010, it was a cause of daily stress and concern about long-term pain. I guess I was lucky.
  5. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Around 1982, I shattered the bone in my left thumb. It was in a splint for several months and finally healed straight. 35 years later, I still get shooting pain every so often (yes, I can tell when it's going to rain or get cold), but nothing excruciating or unbearable---it's more of an annoyance these days.
    murphy likes this.
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Central Texas
    I totally trashed my ankle two years ago (triple tib-fib break, disjointing) and have come to terms with the fact that I will always be a walking barometer.
    murphy and ONYX like this.
  7. Try a Dr of Osteopathy.
  8. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    After constant pain after over ten years post leg smash up...knee to ankle...I had Tib Fib and foot Osteomy...plates and screws and piece of hip bone removed two years ago....still in constant pain....only things helps temporarily are pain killers....Sorry
    Stumbo likes this.
  9. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    I broke a big toe. It was visibly bent sideways. Still is. It took a few years before the pain and stiffness fully ended.
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    In 1966 I was hit from behind by a car and nearly lost my left leg mid-shin. It was 24 hours before I got circulation back, and they did a bone graft because one inch of the bones in the leg were shattered in pieces. I spent 6 months in a cast, and I still have a 6-inch steel plate in that shin. Took years to get nearly full travel back in my ankle, but the leg works fine and I even figured out how to ski, even though the scar is right where my ski boot hits (I made a curved, padded aluminum plate that is taped to my leg.)

    99% of the time the leg is fine, but if I get a sudden hard push against the shin from either side, I get a sharp pain there and may go down. Skiing doesn't provide this push, so I still ski a couple of times a year. Hey, I live in Colorado and at age 67 it's nice to prove I can still ski!

    My advice - based on experience - will sound weird. But my suggestion is to figure out what movement or exercise causes pain, and then carefully but firmly DO that movement or exercise. The goal is to work through it and familiarize your body with that movement so that if nothing else, the pain doesn't get worse. Any time we have pain we tend not to do whatever causes that pain (which is actually not a bad idea) but over time, avoiding movement or exercise can make the pain worse.

    My left ankle doesn't flex as far as the right one; it never will. But every day, I do stretches that flex that ankle as far as is physically possible. It often pops and grinds during this process. When I'm done with the stretches, I push off of that foot and ankle to get upright. It hurts, but the more I do it, the less it hurts, the less it pops, and the more travel I keep in that ankle.

    To Bob, the OP: keep doing whatever PT is right for your feet. If it's stretches, try and do them every day. It will make it better 20 years down the road.

    Edit: Exercise it, but judiciously! Don't hurt yourself doing it.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    Nashrakh, HeavyDuty and murphy like this.
  11. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Back injury 25 years ago. Very painful when the weather changes ( barometric pressure).
    Has not let up in all that time.
    Pain killers and ice pack at night.
    murphy likes this.
  12. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    walking around for any length of time kills me...and even more so if I have to carry something.....considering amputation
  13. Aberdumbie


    Jan 22, 2016
    South Carolina
    I didn't break my foot but I did have fusion surgery on my left foot three years ago July 5. Two months in a cast and another two in a boot. It was tender for almost a year and didn't regain full confident strength for almost two. My doc gave me a prescription for an orthopedic insert for my shoe that seemed to help a lot... but yeah, he told me foot injuries are lingering. So many small bones and tendons and being so far away from the heart the blood flow isn't the best for healing to take place. It's been three years and probably only the last six months or so that I felt completely healed. Running, jumping and all..... Probably not what you want to hear.
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Ice pack helps my knee after repair surgery.
  15. TOOL460002


    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz
    Sounds like a soft tissue thing. Maybe nerve damage, but I would lean toward soft tissue. I know planter fasciitis (spelled wrong I'm sure) is incredibly painful and comes and goes. Permanent damage may cause you to be more prone to inflammation which can trigger pain. Best guess.
  16. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    In my late teens I broke the metacarpal bone right behind my left middle finger. They put me in a cast to immobilize from my wrist forward, but about a week later I soaked it and cut it off. To this day I experience random pain around the old break.

    Some years later I broke the proximal on the same finger on my right hand, just behind the joint with the middle bone. They put it in one of those flat aluminum braces and taped it up real good and sent me home. I put up with it for a few weeks before I had to take it off. It was sore for quite a while but had apparently done well enough to heal straight after I took the brace off. About year after it quit hurting so much I started losing mobility in that finger. My sister opened it up and removed a decent sized cyst that had grown down close to the bone close to the joint and was apparently causing some interference with movement. Since she got that thing out I've not had any pain or loss of movement.
  17. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I'm dealing with something similar, although at the Achilles - Xray could barely pick it up, but I've got calcification of the tendon happening. Seriously painful almost all the time, moreso after sitting for a while or after being active. Technical term is tendonopathy. Could be you have some sort of tendonopathy at the plantar causing pain?

    My current treatment (third stage... after weeks of RICE, then months of PT) is now extracorporeal shockwave therapy. The treatment can be uncomfortable but it's made a positive difference for me that RICE and PT didn't.
    murphy likes this.
  18. murphy

    murphy Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    I have a torn ankle tendon on my bad leg side...surgeon was supposed to replace it,,,but just scoped bone around it...Ugh....No help
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    In 1969 I had a motorcycle accident that pretty much destroyed my right knee. They did a very good job of fixing it, but the doctor's warning that I'd eventually get arthritis in it came true about 5 years ago. Back then he couldn't have foreseen that knee replacements would be very common now. I went about five years with increasing pain until I saw an orthopedic surgeon who said a replacement was pretty much my only option to get rid of the pain. No-brainer. I now have a titanium and polypropylene knee and no pain.

    Anyway, I don't suppose they're doing foot replacements yet. What bone was broken? Metatarsal? Maybe you're getting arthritis. Does aspirin help?
  20. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    Not a broken bone but I have a knife wound in my left hand that went all the way through nearly taking my thumb off. I was 19 at the time. I still have pain in the middle of it from time to time. I'm guessing any kind of trauma that is in a "high use" spot, like a hand or a foot, tends to heal less completely? Just a wild guess here I'm certainly not a Doc and I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn last night.