Post-Op Nerve Pain

Edited , 4 users are following.

Dear Lord...please tell me that the nerve pain gets better? I'm almost 3 weeks out from ORIF and the nerve pain is crazy. I'm barely sleeping. During the day, I'm distracted enough that I can ignore the pain, but at night I just lay in bed with the burning, stinging, shooting pains.

The surgeon gave me Gabapentin, which I'll start tonight. Have others found it helpful?

Nothing over the counter even touches the pain. Google says I can use topical stuff (Biofreeze) for pain relief, but since I have a cast on, that's not an option.

Any help with ice? Even through a cast? Elevation makes it worse, so I've given up on that.

I'm open to suggestions.

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  • Edited

    HI Stephanie,

    The pain does get better. With time. My surgeon gave me Oxy with Tylenol from day one. And gave me a bit more .

    Just remember don't take Advil unless you ask your doc.

    I hope you have relief with the Gabapentin , it didn't work for me, but everyone is different.

    Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply Rose. I've been using Oxy w/Tylenol to at least put me to sleep. Fingers crossed on the Gabapentin. Thanks to this board, I've been avoiding Ibuprofen and sticking with Tylenol and Aleve.

      Never in my life did I think I would be such an expert on pain medication.

      I wish the doctor had told me ahead of time that this was going to happen. Not that it would have changed anything, but at least I wouldn't have been so surprised. Once I told him about it, he said "Oh yeah, that happens all the time". I was like, "Well, why didn't you tell me about it before?!?!"

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    • Posted

      Yep, doctors have a tendency to be very short about information! LOL It drove me nuts. I wanted to say so bad to my surgeon "HEY! Can you tone down the doc lingo and give it to me where I understand?!"

      I hope things start feeling better for you! And you're welcome! 😃

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    • Edited

      You say it will get better in time? How much time are we talking?

      I am also 3 weeks after ORIF and pain especially in the evening is worse. Nerve pain over the top of my foot and left side of foot is beet red by evening and that is keeping it elevated all day . Feel like it is getting worse instead of better ☹

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    • Edited

      This is going to sound really hokey, but in talking with my therapist, she suggested I try some guided meditation at night. I was skeptical, but I gave it a try last night and damned if I didn't get 7 hours of sleep, which I haven't had in over a month.

      You tube has a bunch of guided meditations for pain and sleep that help you relax, which seemed to help with the burning, more than I was expecting. Until, the GABA kicks in, I was willing to give ANYTHING a try.

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    • Edited

      I can tell you about me but its discouraging and I don't want to do that. Some people have the injury and surgery and heal so nicely. And have no pain after their 6 to 8 weeks.

      Realistically your doctor should tell you that you will experience some sort of pain up to a year. It takes a long time for your nerves to reconnect and start healing. What your feeling is very normal. You are so early into this , to rush it, don't over do it and do whatever your surgeon has told you to. 😃

      You'll get there.

      Maybe someone will pop in who has had a great success story!


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  • Edited

    Hi Stephanie, the nerve pain will get better over time. With ankle ORIF surgery, medical literature shows that sural nerve and peroneal nerve irritation is very common. This because of the location of the nerves in proximity to the usual incision cites making the nerves very prone to becoming aggrevated and as nerves are extremely sensitive they will take time to heal.

    Through looking at many different studies and pieces of medical literature I have seen that it can take up to a year or more for the nerves to completely heal. There is also many times where patients have chromic nerve damage in forms of CPRS so make sure to stay in touch with your doctor if it doesn't get better at all so you can get treatment necessary.

    For me; I am now a month out from ankle ORIF surgery for 2 displaced fractures and detached peroneal tendon; I had 3 incisions, 1 for medial malleolus, 1 for lateral malleolus, and one to re- attach the tendon. My pain was terrible the first couple weeks with shooting, stinging, and burning nerve pains on the top of my foot as you describe to where I couldn't sleep without hydrocodone. The top of my foot was also extremely sensitive to anything I could barely go 30 seconds without the shooting pains. After about 3-4 weeks I have noticed the pain is now gone to where I don't feel any of the above mentioned pains anymore. I hope this gives you some peace of mind I know what it feels like to be worried about the nerve pains it sucks but you're so soon out from surgery just like me and our nerves need plenty of time to heal. Hope you recover well!

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    • Edited

      THANK YOU!!!! If nothing else, it's so comforting to know that others are in the same boat (misery loves company, I guess 😃

      It's the strangest sensation to have pain in areas where I'm numb, it's counter intuitive. In speaking with my doctor, I learned that nerves are finicky and get "mad" if you look at them wrong. Guess that's what's nerves are mad.

      I've found some relief in listening to guided meditation or soothing rain sounds when going to distracts me from the pain just enough to drift off to sleep.

      This whole experience has been so bizarre. This is my first broken bone and I had no idea some of the things that I would deal with. I figured the hardest part would be the actual bone and incision, only to find that those things are barely bothering me. It's the nerves! Oh, and the flaky skin under my cast...I feel like I'm leaving a trail of skin behind me everywhere I go 😃.

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