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What Is a Cutaneous Nerve Injury?

The majority of foot and ankle surgeries require making an incision in the skin. After undergoing a foot or ankle surgery, one of the most common post-surgical complications is a cutaneous nerve injury. Cutaneous nerves are responsible for sensation in the skin. When one or more of these nerves are damaged during a foot or ankle surgery, the patient may experience pain, numbness, or tingling in the area supplied by the injured nerve. The cutaneous nerves may become damaged when the surgeon makes an incision, or if the nerve is bruised or pinched during surgery. Sometimes patients can develop neuromas, a thickening of the tissue that surrounds a damaged nerve. This can cause pain, burning, tingling, and other strange sensations, or it may result in a partial or total loss of sensation. Impaired sensation is a particularly concerning complication, as it can increase the chances of developing foot wounds and ulcers that go undetected and become infected.

If you sustain a cutaneous nerve injury during a procedure, the damaged nerve will often heal gradually over time, healing fully within six to nine months. Post-surgical cutaneous nerve injuries are typically treated conservatively, using medications, rest, orthotics, and physical therapy. In very rare cases, additional surgery to repair a damaged nerve may be necessary. Prior to any foot and ankle surgery, don’t hesitate to ask your podiatrist about the benefits, risks, and possible complications relating to your specific operation. To learn more, please consult with a podiatrist.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Bloomington, Bedford, and Washington, IN. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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