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Discharge Instructions: Pin Care

You are going home with pins in place. These pins are holding a broken or dislocated bone in place. Here’s what you need to know about home care.


You have a broken or dislocated ___________________ bone.

This bone is located in your ____________. You have _________ pins in place.

These pins are located in the following places: ______________________________________ .


General Guidelines:

  • Clean the skin around the pins twice a day or as often as instructed by your doctor.

  • Don’t use creams, lotions, or antiseptics unless your doctor says it’s OK.

Prepare Your Supplies:

  • Set up the following supplies on a clean, dry surface:

    • Gauze pads or cotton swabs.

    • Sterile solution. This might be regular saline or a mixture of saline and hydrogen peroxide. Your doctor will tell you more.

  • Peel open the gauze package or set aside some cotton swabs.

  • Pour the solution into a bowl—enough to cover the bottom of a small salad or soup bowl.

Clean Your Pins:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds before cleaning your pins.

  • Dip the gauze pads or cotton swabs in the bowl of solution.

  • Squeeze extra solution from the gauze and open the pad.

  • Clean around each pin site using the soaked gauze pad or cotton swab. Gently press down on the skin, while wiping around and away from each pin.

  • Remove any crust at the pin site. Use a new gauze pad or cotton swab each time you wipe.

  • Use a new gauze pad or cotton swab to clean each pin site.

  • Throw away used gauze pads and cotton swabs into a waterproof waste bag.

  • Wash your hands after you have finished cleaning your pins.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher, or shaking chills

  • Redness, swelling, or pain at the pin sites

  • Green or yellow drainage from the pin sites

  • Pins that move or shift, or clicking noises from the pins

  • Open skin around the pin sites

  • Tingling or numbness in the injured limb

  • Increased pain or motion at the fracture site


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