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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
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Experience:  U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery
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My daughter recently had an operation ( 3 months ago ) to straighten

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My daughter recently had an operation ( 3 months ago ) to straighten her toe after a minor accident, operation was successful, but her foot and ankle is now completly numb! Any ideas what might have caused this? The osteopath who did the operation can offer no explanation, she is seeing a neurologist tomorrow but i suspect he will find nothing wrong, can you offer any possible explanation, since the operation i have heard of several other similar cases in the news, one recently in Luton where a similar operation to straighten a toe resulted in numbness, and 4 years on the person still cannot get around and as i understand it took the doctor to court! Any advice please? Thanks. Steve French.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.

Is this only the top of her foot?

 

Or the bottom of the foot?

 

Which side of the foot (big toe or little toe) seems to be worse?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
All of her foot and up her ankle too! the foot is completely numb and she has no control over it!
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.

OK.

 

Well, certainly the neurologist is a specialist in this area, so you should get a better idea here.

 

When numbness is a symptoms, it usually is either 1) poor circulation to that area, or 2) nerve entraptment/inflammation.

 

Given that this is the top and bottom of her foot -- it would mean two separate nerves would be affected, and it isn't clear how these nerves would get affected from the surgery you mention (since the nerves would have to be compressed at the ankle level or above, like in the lower back.

 

And certainly -- a check of the circulation can be done in the doctor's office.

 

And further testing, such as a EMG test can help to see if there are nerves that are not functioning correctly.

 

But regardless -- the exam by the neurologist should give you a better clue as to what is going on here. It seems very unusual for this symptom to be related to a toe surgery.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
She had several operations to straighten 3 toes, there were cuts made under her second and third toes to release contracted tendons, and also on the side of her foot, pins were inserted in three toes! I remember the surgeon mentioning the use of nerve blockers? whatever they are, it has already been established that there is nothing organically wrong with her foot as the circulation is fine! nerve entrapment seems feasable but how could this of happened?
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.

Well, to get numbness in both the top and bottom of the foot -- two separate nerves would have to be involved. While possible, it seems to be a strange coincidence that this would happen at the same time (one is on the top of the foot, the other goes near the inside, under the ankle).

 

So, if circulation is ruled out, then nerve entraptment or inflammation is likely. But the question is where? After the detailed neurologic exam, the neurologist should be able to figure out a likely place, and do further testing to see if this is something which can be treated.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Could the incisions mentioned have caused this? one was on the right side just under the ankle!
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.

Well, an incision in the inside part of the ankle, could affect a nerve in this area, the tibial nerve.

 

But this seems unlikely, since injury could also cause weakness in movement of the toes.

 

But of course, an exam is best here since over the Internet, I am simply making an educated guess.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok, but what do you mean 'injury could cause also weakness in movement of toes' she has no control of her foot at all!
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.
Well, the nerve could also control the curling of the toes (flexing of the toes). So injury to the nerve could cause weakness in the toes and pain/numbness in the bottom of the foot. It still would not explain the top of the foot issues.
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