When Nerves Hurt: Part II

Most people, when they injure their ankle, experience sharp pain on the inside or outside of the ankle that over time turns into duller pain and ultimately goes away as the ligaments heal. However, sometimes the pain doesn’t go away and instead changes. The pain or sensations have been described as burning, numbness, crawling, cold, cut off with a rubber band, electricity, or highly sensitive to touch. These sensations may be accompanied by history of tripping or falls, muscle weakness, or of stubbing the toes when walking. All of these experiences can be associated with common peroneal nerve syndrome or disorder in which the common peroneal nerve, found on the outer part of the leg just below the knee, can be injured in what seems like a minor trauma, causing sensory and motor symptoms downstream in the leg and foot. This injury is more common in women due to their musculoskeletal anatomy. The common peroneal nerve, when stretched or trapped or injured must be allowed to heal if possible and the symptoms must treated if healing is not possible.

What you can expect:

  • Your podiatrist may want to try some special tests on you to determine if it is indeed a nerve problem such as hot and cold testing, two point perception and vibratory testing
  • If they are trying to rule out radiculopathy or other more proximal injuries, they may suggest imaging studies or refer you to an orthopedist
  • They may order more extensive testing such as electromyography or nerve conduction studies
  • They may suggest creams or topical medications that can calm the nerves by overwhelming them
  • They may suggest oral medications
  • Another treatment may be physical therapy to overstimulate the nerve or release an entrapment
  • They may prescribe bracing to keep the foot from dropping when you are walking
  • They may recommend an ankle brace or boot to keep movement and stretching to a minimum.
  • They may recommend resting the injured area by avoiding placing weight on the leg

This disorder is not easy to treat and it may require multiple attempts at treatment before some relief is obtained. They may also refer you to a pain specialist or neurologist for specific therapy. Remember to be patient with yourself, your body and your doctor so that the right treatment can be found for you.

Please visit our website for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with us at our Columbus, Gahanna or Dublin, OH office.