Anyone had an Intramedullary Nail removed? Your experience in recovery time

I’m purely looking for anecdotal experience here. I’ve talked with my surgeon and have his view on things, and his response is “it depends”.

I’m having a proximal femoral nail removed in two weeks. It was inserted following an off during the bike leg of IM Wales in September of last year resulting in
a neck of femur fracture. Healing and rehab went well for swimming and cycling, but due to my build the hardware has been irritating m ITB (protrusion of the distal pin and top locking screw) and I haven’t been able to hit my stride (sorry!) with running. Despite building to 10 miles distance things are just too uncomfortable around the hip, quad and knee

I’m interested in knowing how long it took you to recover after such a procedure. How long before you were comfortable weight bearing, and how long before you resumed training. While considering surgery to remove the nail I’ve been working on overall strength to build durability and have met Chad’s recommendations for strength standards on all but chins, so I’m hoping this will stand me in good stead.

Of course I will take my lead from my surgeon and PT etc…

Just a follow-up on this. Physical recovery went well, I was mobilising without crutches the next day and the ITB irritation caused by the nail was pretty much resolved instantly. Pain was quite manageable.

I have had a complication, I picked up a post-op infection and ended up hospitalised on IV antibiotics with two further procedures to clean out, drain and re-close the wound. That was an unpleasant (I really was quite ill) and unexpected 5 days in hospital. I’m now home with a further course of antibiotics and strict orders to rest. Hopefully with a solid couple of weeks of rest I’ll be able to get back at it.

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Hi, I was just looking at your post whilst searching out advice on recovering from injury… I too have broken by neck of femur and have an IM nail in situ… Mine is about 5 years old now. I’m predominantly a cyclist but did find it a bit painful on the odd run. Has your pain resolved now you’ve had the IM nail out? Unfortunately I’ve now fractured my spine so having been very fit ready pre Christmas in planning for road racing next year, I face a long road to recovery. Anyway, just thought I’d say hi… hope you’ve made a good recovery from your latest surgery and are ready for triathlon in 2020! best wishes, Martin.

Hi Martin,

Indeed the pain did settle down after having the nail removed. I would say it took two months for the bursistis to settle. Unfortunately I had a fall on some ice in November and landed right on my weaker hip (still a void in the neck where the nail had been) causing another fracture. This time it was at the narrowest part of the neck, it was fixated using 3 cannulated screws. I was completely non weight-bearing for 6 weeks but now it seems to have healed pretty well. I do have another complication, one of the screws is actually poking through the end of the femur into the hip joint and is aggravating cartilage. That screw is being removed next week. Hopefully it will be a quick recovery and will be back at it by February.

Sorry to hear about your spine, heal well! Injury sucks…

Nightmare! sorry to hear about your misfortune… sounds like you’ve had a really tough time. All the best for the recovery and take care once you’re back out there.

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Just checking in here.

I had the screw removed but that damn infection reared it’s head again. I avoided surgery this time, it was dealt with by IV antibiotics initially and now I’m on hopefully the last week of oral Flucloxacillin. Still a bit of discomfort but I’m starting to work on getting the strength back. Finding Whitney is a good workout, hoping Tabatha sessions will help with muscular recruitment.

Hi @pgyates1983,

Thanks for your testimony! Your second breaks has been 4 months after the nail removal, is it exact ? The bone was not consolidated yet or the fracture would have happen anyway because your fall was big ?
I am planning it too and my doctor told me I should be careful for the 6 weeks…but 4months is a different story especially because I like moutain biking and skiing so it means I would need to wait way longer