Signs and Symptoms of Pin Site Infection

The most common problem encountered with frames is a localized infection around a wire or pin. It is an expected complication and routinely encountered.  It is not a serious complication and will not result in any permanent infections or issues

Signs & Symptoms of infection include:

Redness in the general area of the pin or wire. Do not confuse redness from infection with the red/red-purple color from scar formation at a pin site.  A little redness is normal.  

Warmth in the general area of the pin or wire.

Swelling around the pin or wire. May be hard or fluid-like.

Drainage from the pin or wire, characteristics may vary such as consistency, color and odor.

Temperature (by mouth) of 101.4 or greater. Do not take temperature within 2 hours of physical therapy as it may be elevated from exercising.

At the first sign of these symptoms, begin taking the antibiotics that were prescribed for you and call the office during regular business hours to notify Dr. Kemp’s nurse.  208-855-2410.

This is what Pin Sites should look Like. 


This is a pin site infection with skin breakdown and drainage from around the pin.


This is a pin site infection with skin breakdown and drainage from around the pin.


This is an example of normal redness around 3 pins.  This is not an infection.


Treatment of Pin Site Infections:

 1. Initiating treatment at the first sign or symptom of infection is important and includes increasing pin care to 2 times a day.

 2. Oral antibiotics. Start taking at the first indications of an infection. Continue the Keflex for at least 5 days. You should keep a prescription filled and in your medicine cabinet for this purpose.  If you need refills, call your pharmacy and have them send a request to our office.  

 3. Clean the infected pin site with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide twice per day.  Be sure to rinse with saline after cleaning to remove excess alcohol and peroxide, as these are irritating to the skin.

 3. Wrap pins with gauze.

 4. Call the clinic and speak with a member of the medical team to inform them of your situation.