Elective foot and ankle surgery is traditionally viewed as a painful experience.
Modern specialist practice involves the use of selective injections of long lasting local anaesthetic agents (a local anaesthetic ankle block) to numb the nerves in the foot and ankle before surgery commences.
Surgery is undertaken under a general anaesthetic, though supplemented by the local anaesthetic ankle block.
Most patients will have little or no pain in the recovery room following completion of surgery if these methods are used by specialists.
We found that there was little difference in the excellent pain relief obtained by an experienced specialist anaesthetist or surgeon undertaking a local anaesthetic ankle block. The vast majority of patients had a pain score of zero in recovery after a wide variety of elective (planned) forefoot operations.
We presented our results to the annual EFORT Congress meeting in Berlin in 2012.