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Old 02-14-2020, 11:50 AM
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A question for people with plates and pins


If you get very cold, say if you're outside in very cold weather, do your plates and pins get cold? Do you feel them?

I was just watching my dog out in the snow (it's 16 degrees (F) here) and he's 4 months off TPLO surgery, which means he's got a plate in his knee. He was walking funny on that leg. Cold does seem to bother him still, but I'm not too worried about it.

But the little guy's leg isn't much thicker than a Coke bottle and he's got zero fat around it, so I wondered if his plate gets cold.

People of course have more fat than a dog's leg but it still got me to wondering...do medical plates and pins get cold?
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:22 PM
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My dental implants are cold. I try to keep my mouth shut outdoors when it's cold.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:25 PM
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I actually thought this thread might be about jugglers. Back in the day my prop box included both pins and plates.

Sorry, carry on.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:44 PM
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I've got a couple of plates and some 13 screws in my ankle. Never get a sensation of cold. Occasionally the ankle will ache - I often assume it could have something to do w/ the cold/humidity/etc. But the ache isn't predictable.

Animals' bodies are weird - you can't go solely based on appearances. You ever wonder at ducks swimming around unperturbed w/ their little legs in icy water?
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:56 PM
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Had a screw in one knee for about a year, and no, it never felt cold. Think about it- screws/plates are within the bone, which in most cases is toward the middle of the limb and well away from the surface of the skin. If a knee screw was cold, it would have to be very cold outside indeed- I'd think at that point, the screw wouldn't be the worst part about that weather. Even on a dog, it's more likely IMO, that the hardware is ferrying heat outward to the rest of the limb rather than conducting cold inward.

But that said, "weather knee" does seem to be a thing, as I can now predict the onset of a cold front within a day or two and its relative severity even if I haven't seen the news, due to the pattern of onset of pain and its intensity.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:47 PM
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I've got two screws in my knee. Nope they don't get cold, but it does hurt like hell if I hit the head of the screw on something like a coffee table, don't even need to hit it very hard.

And I'll agree on the weather knee thing.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:47 PM
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Four months is very little time for TPLO surgery. Our GSD was still pretty gimpy at 4 months postop. By a year she was near normal, and today (3 years) I can't watch her move and tell which leg had surgery.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:54 PM
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I had jaw surgery to correct my bite a few years ago, I've got titanium screws and plates in my jaw, I can see them when I'm at the dentist and have one of those panoramic x-rays. I don't notice or feel them at all.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:57 PM
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Yeah I'm not worried about it, the doc said it could take up to a year for complete complete recovery. I was just pondering whether or not that plate got cold, walking naked in the snow & cold like that!

Here's a picture of what he's got in his knee now, for the curious (not graphic, just a drawing).
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:58 PM
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dupe

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 02-14-2020 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:39 PM
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My late spouse said that the hardware in his right leg could get really cold - but he had a LOT, it entirely replaced his tibia and fibia, and the leg was somewhat atrophied so yeah, the distal part (towards the foot and ankle) could chill down a lot in single-digit weather. It wasn't instant, though, he'd have to be outside in the cold for awhile. But the average bolted-together Joe with just a couple screws or a small plate? Probably not likely.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
Had a screw in one knee for about a year, and no, it never felt cold. Think about it- screws/plates are within the bone, which in most cases is toward the middle of the limb and well away from the surface of the skin. If a knee screw was cold, it would have to be very cold outside indeed- I'd think at that point, the screw wouldn't be the worst part about that weather. Even on a dog, it's more likely IMO, that the hardware is ferrying heat outward to the rest of the limb rather than conducting cold inward.

But that said, "weather knee" does seem to be a thing, as I can now predict the onset of a cold front within a day or two and its relative severity even if I haven't seen the news, due to the pattern of onset of pain and its intensity.
Bolding mine. You know that's a nonsense explanation, right? All temperature change is heat moving away from the warmer body to the cooler one. There is no such thing as cold moving anywhere as distinct from heat moving away. We may refer to it that way as a kind of poetic license, but there is no "conducting cold inward."

Last edited by eschrodinger; 02-14-2020 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:44 PM
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I have two plates and six screws in my left ankle from a break/surgery going on 13 years ago. I don't feel cold there, but sometimes the area gets achy when it's cold and damp outside. Those things are supposed to last at least as long as I do, right?
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:08 PM
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Well, my spouse's leg hardware lasted 45+ years....

I understand that this is something where mileage may vary, but it's possible for stuff like that to last decades....
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Well, my spouse's leg hardware lasted 45+ years....

I understand that this is something where mileage may vary, but it's possible for stuff like that to last decades....
That's good news.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
My dental implants are cold. I try to keep my mouth shut outdoors when it's cold.
^This. And my knee replacement hurts a little in the cold. And sometimes I can feel the cold where my sternum was wired together following heart surgery.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:05 PM
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Couple screws in my radial head. Cold doesn't seem to bother them.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:21 PM
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My labrador came home yesterday from TPLO surgery. She gets to do it again in 9 months or so.

I was wondering to myself this afternoon if the plate was going to be a thing in cold or low pressure weather. Nice to hear others have the same thoughts.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:51 PM
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I've had a plate and some screws in my ankle and I have never noticed anything at all. Never reacts badly to weather or anything else. Sometimes I wonder whether it is because the surgeon advised me to walk on it as soon as it felt comfortable to do so and not use crutches, although I used a cane for a week or do. Never had or needed physical therapy either.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:10 PM
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Years ago, my dad shattered his ankle and had metal parts inserted to put it all back together again. I remember him saying it bothered him when he was standing in the cold ocean water - he could feel the metal get cold and it ached. It definitely ached in very cold weather. This was probably in the late 70s so they may use a different type of material or treatment of the material
by now.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:59 PM
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I have a plate in my right wrist. A few years ago I had to make a trip to Alaska's North Slope in February and spent some time outside in temps ranging from -15 to -25 F. About froze my ass off, but didn't have any specific discomfort from or around the plate.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:48 PM
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Plenty of screws and plates in one leg. I've forgotten how many -- the accident that did the damage was 25 years ago. And led to a knee replacement about twenty years ago.

No, that leg doesn't get any colder than the other. In fact, at this point, I don't feel any of it at all, in any way.

I can't predict the weather using that leg, either. Weather makes no difference at all.

ETA: The accident was closer to thirty years ago. Wow, I'm getting old.

Last edited by Saintly Loser; 02-14-2020 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:55 AM
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Bolding mine. You know that's a nonsense explanation, right? All temperature change is heat moving away from the warmer body to the cooler one. There is no such thing as cold moving anywhere as distinct from heat moving away. We may refer to it that way as a kind of poetic license, but there is no "conducting cold inward."
I do; my point was that it's unlikely that a screw or any other hardware would be feeling cold because it was colder than the surrounding tissue (somehow) and leaching heat away from it. I mean, something would have to happen that would drop the temperature of the hardware independent from the surrounding tissue, which is kind of hard to imagine.

What I was also saying is that it's much more likely that it would be the best radiator of heat on that part of your body due to its better thermal conductivity, and as such less likely to feel cold than other parts of your body.
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Old 02-16-2020, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
I do; my point was that it's unlikely that a screw or any other hardware would be feeling cold because it was colder than the surrounding tissue (somehow) and leaching heat away from it. I mean, something would have to happen that would drop the temperature of the hardware independent from the surrounding tissue, which is kind of hard to imagine.

What I was also saying is that it's much more likely that it would be the best radiator of heat on that part of your body due to its better thermal conductivity, and as such less likely to feel cold than other parts of your body.
I guess it would depend on where the metal is and where the temperature is being sensed. If you look at, say, pins that run perpendicular to a limb, and the outer flesh is colder than the deeper flesh, then the pins could be conducting heat away from deeper, warmer, flesh (feeling cold) and the outer flesh would conduct heat away from the metal (feeling warm).

It seems to me that specific heat could be involved as well, but I'm not sure of the details. It's been a while since I took physics and I can't spend the time to figure it out.
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Old 02-16-2020, 07:51 PM
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A plate and about 10 screws in my neck -- no, they don't feel cold, they don't get cold. They have no way to export heat to the world outside of me, as they are completely surrounded by my flesh.

I have all sorts of negative feelings in my neck, but none of them are particularly cold.
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