Wednesday, 15 June 2011

K-Wire Removal

Yesterday, I returned to the plaster room for what would hopefully be my final appointment. We were called straight in without having to wait at all. The technicians quickly removed my plaster casts and I took some photos of my feet.

I thought they looked pretty good and so did the technicians but I was trying very hard not to get too excited in case there was a problem and the K-wires could not be removed today.

The 'bleb' on the fourth toe
Before I went to X-ray, the plaster room technician was gently brushing some of the dry scab off my right foot and she uncovered a 'bleb' which was the result of overgranulation as the wound was healing. I had no idea what this meant but she explained it as the tissue underneath the skin level healing faster then the skin itself and growing up through a gap in the skin (as the skin had not healed yet). She used some silver nitrate on a little stick to cauterise the bleb and said I would need to go back next week to have this done once more. She was confident that two treatments would bring it back to a level which would allow the skin to grow over the wound.
After that, the plaster room team put some tubular cotton over my feet so that I could be wheeled to X-ray. It was hard to manoeuvre into the wheel chair but I just put my weight on my heels as I'd been doing before and it went OK. We had a little wait in X-ray but not too bad and the lady that did them told me she thought I was very brave for having both feet done together. We returned straight to the plaster room and the technician went to fetch the surgeon so she could come and look at me.

My foot X-ray that gave me the all clear!
When the surgeon came in, she looked at my feet and squeezed and wiggled my big toes a bit. She was happy with what she saw and what she'd seen on the X-rays, so I was given the all clear to have the K-wires removed! Before we did that, I asked her lots of questions about what to do with my feet and how to care for them now. She said I needed to do what I could, when I could and to just take it easy and do what was comfortable. As usual, she was very reassuring and I was pleased to learn that I would have a follow-up appointment with her in two months to see how I was getting on.

After she left, the plaster room technicians set to work removing my K-wires. It was an odd sensation to have them removed but not really painful. It was definitely less painful than having the stitches out! There was a bit of a tug as the wire came out of the toe and then immediately afterwards they throbbed a bit but that didn't last very long. The wires in my right foot seemed more reluctant to come out and a couple of times the pliers they were using actually slipped off the wire but the left foot wires came out very smoothly. I was amazed by just how long the K-wires were!

The toes did bleed a bit once the wires were out, so they pressed gauze against them initially and then dressed each individual toe. It was quite hard for them to make the dressing stick as the wounds were all right on the ends of my toes but they did it in the end! My toes did look rather funny though...

When I had gone to X-ray with the cotton tubing on my feet, my left foot had oozed a little bit onto the dressing from the big toe incision. The plaster room technician wanted to have a quick look at the wound before we went home. She pulled away a little bit of the scab and could see that there was a bit of something in there irritating it - maybe a bit of one of the internal stitches they had used after the operation. She seemed quite happy with it but the removal of the scab made the wound bleed a bit so she had to put some gauze over it. She asked me to remind her to check it again when we return next week for her to cauterise my 'bleb'.

Before we left, they put large sticky plasters over the whole of my toes as they were concerned that the little hats on the toes might come off otherwise. I was under strict instructions not to remove the dressings until I had had a shower to soften and loosen the adhesive. This would have to be in 48 hrs time (they told me they usually suggested people wait 24 hrs after having K-wires removed but as I'd had so many, they wanted me to wait 48).

They gave me more tubular bandage to put over my feet and I made my way home! I am so pleased to have the wires out and plasters off - I feel like I have feet again!! Now the next milestone will be washing them and removing all the dressings!


  1. Hey Gwen,

    I know this is a few years after you posted this, but your description of the k-wire removal helped put me at ease for having my own pulled out. Thanks!

    1. I'm really pleased to hear that! Good luck with the procedure and your recovery! :)

  2. Hello. I got to have my k wire removed on the 20th May. I had my stitches out on Friday the nurse touched the k wire the pain was so bad. Now im so scared about having it removed. I really want to be put to sleep to have them pulled out

    1. I honestly did not find the K-wire removal painful. I thought having the stitches removed was much worse! If you got through the stitch removal OK, I'm sure you'll be fine with the K-wires being taken out. :)

  3. Ok thank you. I only have the k wire in my small toe. How long do you think it will take before i am walking normal. As at the moment im walking with crutches as it hurts. I do walk with one crutch sometimes.

  4. Hi Gwen, thanks for sharing all those procedures of K-wire removal. I wanted to know how many days it took to cure your wound after wire was removed. In my case, 2nd toe of right leg had a surgery and even after 14days elapsed, my doctor has advised me to take precaution while walking with the help of a walker.

    1. I'm afraid I don't remember exactly! There were little scabs on the ends of my toes for a while after the K-wires were removed but they didn't last very long and were quite small (and minor compared to the other scabs I had!)

      In terms of walking, I was not walking properly (even after the K-wires were removed) for quite some time but then I had had all ten toes operated on. My doctor encouraged me to do as much as I could and try and push myself but if your doctor is advising caution, do take care.

      Hope that helps,