Frequently when a patient fractures a bone in his or her body, orthopedic surgeons fix the bone with hardware, such as plates and screws or rods. Many patients worry about that hardware and inquire about having it removed. In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I explain the process of returning to sports and exercise after you break a bone and when removing the hardware could be necessary.
Dr. Geier, I fractured my radius bone. I went through a surgery and got a steel plate and rod. Will I be able to do my normal activities as I was doing before after hardware removal? Or is it dangerous to lift weighted objects?
The radius is one of the two long bones in the forearm, along with the ulna. When you break the radius, either in the middle of your forearm or at the wrist, you often need surgery to fix it. In surgery, we use a plate and screws to hold the bone in the proper position until it heals.
How do plates and screws help a broken bone heal?
Return to sports and exercise after you break a bone
Assuming the fracture heals normally after surgery, we allow you to do whatever physical activity you want to do. We obtain x-rays at regular intervals to ensure the bone heals and progress your allowed activities based on that healing.
The need for removing the plate and screws
Most patients do not need to have the hardware taken out. Unless the bone doesn’t heal or it gets infected, they can leave the plate and screws alone and go back to what they want to do. If for some reason a person wants it out, such as feeling pain from the screws with motion of that body part, then it can be done in a second surgery. Often we will hold you out of activity for a few weeks while bone fills in the holes where the screws were.
When can you play sports after breaking a bone?
In this video, I discuss return to activities after you break a bone and how hardware removal could affect the timeline.
Recommended Products and Resources
Click here to go to Dr. David Geier’s Amazon Influencer store!
Due to a large number of questions I have received over the years asking about products for health, injuries, performance, and other areas of sports, exercise, work and life, I have created an Amazon Influencer page. While this information and these products are not intended to treat any specific injury or illness you have, they are products I use personally, have used or have tried, or I have recommended to others. THE SITE MAY OFFER HEALTH, FITNESS, NUTRITIONAL AND OTHER SUCH INFORMATION, BUT SUCH INFORMATION IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT DOES NOT AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY MEDICAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR, NOR DOES IT REPLACE, PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. THE SITE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACTIONS OR INACTION ON A USER’S PART BASED ON THE INFORMATION THAT IS PRESENTED ON THE SITE. Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.