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Foot turns red and purple on standing after Pilon surgery

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My husband had surgery for a pilon fracture of his right ankle and a compound fracture of his tibia and break of his fibula 4 weeks ago. He has been told that he cannot put any weight on his leg for 3 months. When he's standing using his crutches without weight on his right leg, his right foot turns red and purple. Is this normal? Is it safe for him to remain with his leg lower than his heart? Is there any specific exercises or movement that he can do to help him heal?

Category: Orthopedic Surgeon

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Category: Spine Surgeon
 26 Doctors Online


Thanks for your query at DoctorSpring.

I have read your question with diligence. It looks from your details that your husband had fracture at his leg about 4 weeks ago & there is discoloration on walking without weight bearing.

If he has recently started walking without weight bearing then this is not abnormal.This is neither a sign of infection or other disorder. Bones generally unites within 6-8 weeks, till then there is increased blood flow to affected area to supply nutrients to affected part for healing. Red or purple color shows increased blood flow at that area.This should go away with time as he continue to walk.

You may apply an Ace bandage from foot to leg during weight bearing.This will check the swelling.Try to keep legs above a pillow or above the heart level & continue to pumping movements of toes. This will reduce swelling.

Avoid keeping legs lower then heart level for long time. If swelling & discoloration continue to be there, then visit your doctor .

Hope this will help you. Please feel free to discuss further.

With best wishes

Dr. Mukesh Tiwari
Category: Spine Surgeon
Fellowship - Khandaka Hospital, Jaipur
Residency - MS, Rabindranath Tagore Medical College, Udaipur, 2000
Medical School, Internship - MBBS, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, 1995
Dr. Mukesh Tiwari and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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