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Sports Medicine

How long is pain after a cast removal normal?

05/28/2008

Question:

My daughter fractured her growth plate in her ankle. She was put in a cast for 1 month. Upon removing the cast, the doctor did not schedule a follow-up and just said to restrict use for 2 weeks at which time she can resume normal activity like dancing and gymnastics. I understand that some pain is normal after a cast is removed, but how long should the pain persist before we should start to get concerned and how much pain is normal? I am worried because it is her growth plate and she has not gone through her growth spurt yet. Any information you can provide would be helpful so at least we have a guide to work with. Thank you.

Answer:

Mild pain and stiffness after a cast is removed is normal.  However, if the pain is more severe and is limiting your daughter's activity, it is always important to have the ankle rechecked.  This may be a normal part of the recovery process, but additional treatment may be necessary.  This is not a deficit on the part of the physician, but it is important that you inform your doctor that the symptoms are still limiting participation and seek additional evaluation to determine if the growth plate has healed properly or whether there is a previously undetected injury that was masked by the more significant growth plate injury. 

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Response by:

Charles Webster, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati