Friday, December 12, 2008

Scar Tissue Nerve Hypersensitivity

I'm four weeks post surgery now. I went to the doctor today because I'm still having some bleeding and have been having some pain.

The pain I'm having is right at my incision points. The pain can be severe sometimes, and I liken it to a red hot poker or a red hot iron being pressed into the skin.

The burning pain is actually common. It's from scar tissue nerve hypersensitivity. Here's what happens:

When the skin is cut, especially deeply as in surgery, the nerves that cross the incision are severed. As they heal, new nerve endings are created. These nerve endings have never experienced the world before so anything touching them; a sock, cast, boot etc. causes them to go off like fireworks. And it hurts.

The fix is to take vitamin E oil and rub it into the scar – rub it HARD. And this, of course, hurts like heck. But the idea is to desensitize the area.

I'll let you know how it goes in a couple of weeks.

A little update:
The vitamin E oil treatment works. The oil doesn't actually help from a medicinal point of view — it's really just a lubricant. But it does make the scar look a ton healthier. I'm at eight weeks now and occasionally the scar on the top of my foot will ache. If I rub it, the pain goes away. Sweet.


toastybecca said...

This is all really helpful. I have a tarsal coalition and am looking at surgery. I'm 22 and have been experiencing pain in my left ankle since I was about 16. I did get both orthodics and a brace but they don't seem to work and I find them very clumsy. I work in retail part time and find it difficult to do more than 6 hours. After two days in a row my ankle is throbbing. I'm going to see my Dr. again in a couple of weeks and I think made a decision.
It seems like your issue/surgery may be a bit more complicated. Do you have other issues with your foot, too? Why so many incisions? Where did you get the surgery done? I live in Western Massachusetts and will probably get it done in Springfield, MA (that's where my doctor is) or in Boston.
Thanks so much. Happy holidays and speedy recovery!!!

Doodlz said...

Tarsal coalition is really the only problem I've had with my foot. I had several incisions because my surgeon was taking a more comprehensive approach to the correction. Time may have played a part too. I'm 35, so my foot was beginning to really point outwards due to the flat foot. So the lateral column lengthening was necessary to straighten it back out. Since you're younger, you may not need this. Thank you for the kind sentiments and best of luck with your treatment. P.S. Occasionally, before the surgery, I would get steroid injections in the ankle to help relieve swelling and pain. It hurts like hell, but in a day the pain is gone...for a while.

toastybecca said...

Hi again,
I went to see the doctor (orthopedic surgeon) in Springfield, MA a couple of weeks ago and made an appointment to see a specialist in Boston as well (in late March.) The Springfield doctor suggests the fusion for me, at this point. One of the reasons I am seriously looking into having it done in the near future is because I am young and do not have many serious responsibilities (such as children) or a full time job. I'm also still on my parent's insurance and they are able to help me recoup post-surgery.

My mother went with me to the last appointment and is more hesitant than me to jump into things. She understands that I'm in tremendous pain but keeps reminding me that this is really a 6-month project. It looks like I would have a similar surgery to what you had done?

I have been having acupuncture for the tarsal coalition for the past two weeks. After the first week, I did see an improvement (especially during the first couple of days.) I had a treatment done today and he put several needles around the inner ankle on the left-foot (the foot that is in pain even though both feet have the issue.) I have never felt so much pain! It felt like a huge jolt, like my foot was on fire. After the needles were in for a few seconds, it lessoned. Unfortunately, I had to go into work right after and my feet now just feel tired. I am hoping acupuncture may help but am still seriously thinking about surgery.

How are you doing? Your last post was a couple of weeks ago and it looks like things are better? Putting more weight on the foot? I'm curious about the steroid injections you mentioned. My father has back pain and sometimes gets cortizone shots to relieve the pain. How long did it usually help you?

Speedy recovery but remember treading lightly is virtuous!

Rebecca Schoen said...

Hi. It's been a few years but I still find your blog posts the most helpful. I have not gotten the surgery yet but think I am closer than ever to making a decision. Thanks again for all of the support--just through your writing of your experience! Becca