There are certainly instances when it’s performed for cosmetic purposes, but surgery is primarily a medical tool used to treat pain or address serious health problems. Sometimes, it is even a necessary action to save human lives.
When you undergo a surgical procedure, it’s only natural to expect to feel better afterwards. As such, it can be a very frustrating experience when you still have pain after your surgery.
If this is something you are experiencing, there is hope – we have been able to help patients in similar situations! Our advanced MLS Laser Therapy helps reduce inflammation and repairs soft tissue damage more quickly. If less pain and faster healing sounds good to you, this treatment may just be the ticket!
Now, it’s fairly standard to have at least a certain degree of soreness—or even slight pain—for a little while following surgery. After all, surgical procedures can technically be considered “intentional physical trauma.”
That phrase might sound harsh, but consider the fact that in order to perform surgery, a surgeon must cut through layers of body tissue to reach the site in need of repair. Even though there is physical trauma, surgery is typically quite beneficial – to the point of being life-saving.
Accordingly, some postoperative pain or soreness is normal.
What isn’t normal is experiencing pain six months (or longer) after your procedure. Also, sharp or severe pain—even sooner than six months postop—could be an indication of a problem.
Why Are You Experiencing Pain After Surgery?
There are several reasons why you might have pain after surgery:
- There was a second issue. In some cases, the surgery you had was successful – it’s just that solving the problem helped to expose a new one.
For example, you might have pain in your forefoot and it’s a perfectly logical conclusion that your bunion is responsible. Conservative care doesn’t cut it (pun unintended…), so you opt for bunion surgery. After the corrective procedure, however, you’re still experiencing pain in the area.
Well, what you didn’t realize was that you also have sesamoiditis, which is a condition causing pain in the ball of foot, specifically under the big toe’s MTP joint (the exact joint wherein a bunion forms).
- Nerves were inadvertently cut. As we noted earlier, surgery requires body tissues to be cut. In doing so, a surgeon will do his or her best to avoid nerves in the area. The tricky part of this is the fact our peripheral nervous system is so vast. This means sometimes it’s unavoidable—nerves may need to be cut in order to reach the afflicted area requiring surgical intervention.
- Nerves are entrapped in scar tissue. When scar tissue hardens around a nerve, it becomes stuck into a fixed position and location. Whereas the nerve would usually move as the body does, it has now lost the ability to do so. This means it can be tugged and stretched, which disrupts normal nerve function and can cause painful symptoms.
- An infection developed. There are a handful of risks present with any surgical procedure, and infection is one of them. Your body’s outer layers—and especially your skin—serve to protect against external threats, including infection from microorganisms.
Surgical incisions are necessary for performing procedures, but they also create an entrance into the body. (To combat this, we used advanced sterilization practices and perform surgery in the most sterile environments possible.) If your pain is accompanied by redness, fever, or any other signs of infection, seek immediate medical care!
If you are having pain that is either greater than it ought to be or has been lingering for an extended period, your first step is to check with either the referring physician or the surgeon who performed your procedure. They will assess the situation and determine if everything was performed correctly.
There’s a chance the physician or surgeon will say “everything looks fine,” and this very well could be what they are seeing. In this case, you should seek a second opinion. It can be rather beneficial to have a second set of eyes examine everything. We will be glad to do this for you – so you can get to the bottom of what is happening.
If the second opinion is “everything looks fine,” the odds are becoming increasingly better you may have a nerve injury from either the actual procedure or that developed during the recovery period. In this case, you may need advanced diagnostic procedures to determine the root cause of the problem.
To expand on that a bit, it can be difficult to see nerve injuries in traditional diagnostic methods, like X-rays and MRI’s. As such, we may need to use other diagnostic equipment and techniques—perhaps EMG (electromyogram) tests, nerve blocks, or MRN (magnetic resonance neurography, which is a modification of an MRI)—to understand what is happening and what we can do about it.
From there, we will begin creating our treatment plan to resolve the problem.
How Can You Relieve Pain After Foot or Ankle Surgery?
Depending on your situation, we may need to decompress an affected nerve or utilize any of our other techniques to repair nerve damage.
We might also recommend treating your post-surgical site with our advanced MLS Laser Therapy. Due to the nature of surgery, you may incur some soft tissue damage around the afflicted area. Our laser therapy helps those soft tissues repair more quickly, leading you to less pain and faster healing!
If you are thinking about making the smart decision to see Sunshein Podiatry Associates for a second opinion and potential treatment, it’s important to keep in mind that earlier intervention is better. Some nerve problems will not only worsen over time if left unaddressed – they can actually become permanent!
Don’t hesitate to contact our Centerville office if you are still having pain following foot or ankle surgery (and especially if it’s been happening for longer than 6 months after the procedure). No matter if you simply have questions or need to request an appointment, we will be happy to help.
You can connect with us by calling (937) 425-7477 or using our online form found here on our website.