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Numbness on top of foot since fibula surgery

by Lori
(Lake Havasu, AZ)

I'm an active 56 yr. old woman. I broke my fibula at the ankle on Dec. 6. Lost my balance and fell running parcels for work. Twisted the ankle, snapping it. Workers comp delayed my surgery (plate and screws)while authorizing it, resulting in a surgery date of Dec. 30th.

I was at the dr. again two days ago (Feb. 6), he unwrapped it again, took xrays, and it looks good. Told me to start bearing some weight on it with my boot on, and I went home with it unwrapped. Two days later, the top of my foot is still numb and my largest toe (next to big toe) is elevated and won't go down to normal level. Keep thinking it's becuz I was wrapped up for 2 months? Keep hoping to get some feeling in it.

I understand the turning blue when it's down is normal, been reading here today.
But, wondering if this numbness is something that will go away with time, how much time, or if it's nerve damage that will stay. The underneath of my foot is sensitive and I can feel everything there. The entire top is numb along the arch to the start of all the toes. The ends of my toes I can mostly feel, including the big toe.

RESPONSE

Hi Lori,

Numbness can be from a couple of different sources. All the nerves to the feet pass through the ankle, so trauma and surgery to the ankle can upset the neurological transmission.
The question becomes, is the damage temporary or permanent.
In your narrative you mention that your second toe is elevated. That bothers me for the obvious reason that it is not normal.
That is something I think you need to point out to your surgeon and let he or she decide if it is an issue or not.
As far as the numbness goes that is due to irritation to the sensory nerves that pass through the ankle down to your feet. This is usually a result of swelling and wearing a boot. The nerves, because they lie directly under the skin, are irritated and thus the numbness.
With the use of Physical therapy and the usual reduction of swelling that occurs as the healing process progresses, this numbness should subside.
Obviously I cannot see how big an incision you had on your ankle, but sometimes one of the superificial nerves is accidently severed or the nerve, although not severed, becomes caught up in scar tissue.
Both of these situations will also cause numbness in the foot, particularly on top and outside of the foot.
So, I guess my best piece of advice is to raise these questions with your surgeon; problems after surgery are also their responsibility. Your symptoms, minus the elevated second toe, may just be normal for the type of surgery you had, but your doctor will be the one best able to determine that.

Marc Mitnick DPM
DISCLAIMER

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