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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM
Foot numbness after ankle surgery
Hello, I'm a healthy 45 yr old female with no diabetes and in good shape. I'm 13 days post ankle surgery. Had primary ATFL ligament repair after a bad sprain to R ankle. Never had any numbness in foot prior to surgery or after injury. Injury was August 08 and surgery was late December 08 after conservative treatment failed. Had a popliteal nerve block for surgery and 48 hrs after surgery nerve block seemed to be wearing off too slowly based on stats I was given and top of foot was still numb, including top of big toe and skin between big toe & 2nd toe. So I called surgeon and he said he gave me all kinds of shots in ankle too, including cortisone and said numbness can also occur as a temporary problem after some ankle surgeries and to give it some time. (have a small scope incision in inside of right ankle and 2" incision out outside of ankle for ligament repair.) I had discomfort on bony protrusion on top of foot so I peeled back the tight gauze just a little but was told not to remove it.
Saw doctor on day 8 and he removed original surgical dressing and discovered pinched skin and too much pressure under bandage. I couldn't feel this because of the nerve block and it remained numb after the block wore off. I did feel discomfort there, burning and spasms which I informed doctor
of. Doctor immediately agreed that original surgical dressing was too tight and it had pinched the saphenous nerve. He rebandaged incisions with very very loose gauze and said I should start to get feeling back. Next day same numbness. Feels like just a tiny bit of some of the surface of top of foot is trying to tingle but not big toe, top of foot and big toe are still numb. Doc said it will take some time for that to come back but I'm VERY concerned about the lack of improvement.
In most cases the sensation does come back, but if you would like to speed things up why not discuss with your surgeon the possibility of taking an anti-inflammatory agent or prednisone for a period of time to reduce the inflammation around the nerve.
Marc Mitnick DPM
Now 13 days post surgery (5 days post bandage removal), same area STILL numb. It's sort of a 1.5" strip along top of foot from natural bony protrusion down to big toe, top of big toe totally numb, and area between big toe & 2nd toe are numb. What are the chances of this nerve coming back after it had been compressed by the bandage for 7-8 days, and is it possible I have permanent nerve damage from the careless person in the O.R. who wrapped my ankle too tight? Is there anything I can do to speed the healing? Massage, etc.? Thanks in advance.
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