Nerve Surgery (Neuroma)

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Also visit www.foothealthfacts.org to learn more about what conditions are treated by podiatric foot & ankle surgeons.


 

Many patients ask:

What is the difference between a podiatric surgeon and an orthopedic surgeon?

 

The short answer is that both podiatrists and orthopedists perform surgery on the foot and ankle. This is similar to neurosurgeons and orthopedists both performing back surgery or dermatologists and plastic surgeons both performing cosmetic surgery.

Yet there are some distinctions in choosing a podiatric surgeon for your foot and ankle care:

  • While being the same 4 year length as osteopathic (DO) and allopathic (MD) medical school and covering the same basic and clinical sciences, the podiatric medical school curriculum provides additional intense focus on conditions of the foot, ankle and lower leg.
  • Podiatric surgeons typically complete 3 years of intense residency training in complex foot and ankle surgery. General orthopedists who desire to pursue additional training in foot and ankle surgery typically complete a 1 year fellowship.
  • As Fellows of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons, podiatric surgeons remain among a group of the only physicians who are Board Certified in Foot Surgery and/or Reconstructive Rearfoot Surgery.

 

A neuroma is an abnormality of a nerve that has been damaged either by trauma or as a result of an abnormality of the foot. Neuromas occur most often in the ball of the foot, causing a pinched and inflamed nerve. In cases of chronic nerve pain from neuromas, surgery may be recommended.

During neuroma procedures, an incision is made on the top of the foot in the location of the neuroma, usually between the second and third toes or between the third and fourth toes. After the nerve is located, the surgeon cuts and removes it.

Neuroma surgery is generally performed on a same-day outpatient basis in the doctor's office or a surgery center using a local anesthetic. The incision will be covered with a dressing after the surgery, which must be kept dry until the sutures are removed, usually within 10 to 14 days after the surgery. Most patients are sent home with a surgical shoe, although crutches may be recommended in cases where the incision must be made on the bottom of the foot. Elevation and icing are important in the first few days following surgery to reduce swelling. Patients are generally restricted to limited walking until the sutures are removed. Generally, patients can return to normal shoe wear in about three weeks. The overall recovery time is usually four to six weeks.