Post-traumatic pain syndrome is a condition that can occur after a traumatic injury or surgery. It is characterized by chronic, severe pain that persists even after the original injury has healed. This pain can occur anywhere in the body, including the feet, ankles, and legs. While post-traumatic pain syndrome is not an officially recognized medical diagnosis, it is estimated that up to 40 percent of people who experience trauma will experience lasting pain due to the syndrome. Our podiatrists can help you understand the symptoms and treatments for post-traumatic pain syndrome and help you find a long-term solution. Post-traumatic pain syndrome

What Is Post-Traumatic Pain Syndrome?

Post-traumatic pain syndrome is a neurological condition caused by damage to the nervous system from an injury or surgery. It typically occurs in the area where the initial trauma took place, but it can also spread to other parts of the body. Post-traumatic pain can also be caused by an inflammatory condition such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

People at the Highest Risk of Post-Traumatic Pain Syndrome  

  • Those 65 years of age or older
  • Those who experienced a high level of pain during the trauma
  • Those who required an extended hospital stay
  • Those who have a history of alcohol or substance use
  • Those who have a history of anxiety or depression

Not everyone will experience post-traumatic pain the same way. It can vary in intensity and location. The pain associated with post-traumatic pain syndrome can range from mild to debilitating and, in addition to sharp, burning pain, may be accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Swelling
  • Changes in skin color and temperature
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Reduced mobility
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Muscle weakness

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

The diagnosis of post-traumatic pain syndrome requires careful evaluation by a medical professional. A patient’s medical history, physical exam, and imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs may all be used to diagnose the condition. Additionally, psychological testing may be conducted to evaluate whether emotional factors are contributing to the patient’s pain.  

Once a diagnosis is made, conservative treatments are often recommended. It can sometimes be a challenge to find the right treatment for relief since there is no known cure for post-traumatic pain. A combination of treatments is typically the most effective approach to finding relief from symptoms. The type of treatment recommended will depend on the location of the pain and its severity. Many patients may need to try different treatments to find the one that will work best for their specific needs.

Common Treatments for Post-Traumatic Pain Syndrome

  • Medication to treat pain, such as anti-inflammatory pain medication or opioids
  • Injection of a steroid medication to reduce inflammation
  • Antidepressants or anticonvulsants
  • Physical therapy
  • Nerve blockers
  • Neurostimulation

How Neurostimulation Can Help Treat Pain

Many patients turn to neurostimulation for relief when traditional treatments such as medications and physical therapy fail to relieve post-traumatic pain syndrome symptoms. Neurostimulation involves using electrical stimulation delivered through small electrodes placed near nerves affected by post-traumatic pain syndrome. Neurostimulators are wearable devices that can block or reduce signals from nerves that cause pain while simultaneously stimulating other nerves that send signals that reduce chronic pain levels. This form of treatment is minimally invasive and effective at reducing chronic post-traumatic pain in many cases.

Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists can fit a small device to your ear using adhesives to determine if neurostimulation will work for your condition. The device will emit electrical frequency waves, and if you respond to this initial approach, you may be a candidate for neurostimulation.

Contact Our Texas Podiatrists for a Consultation

If you have post-traumatic pain syndrome, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for a consultation today. We can discuss treatment options for your pain and create a plan based on your specific needs. To request an appointment, contact our Grapevine or Keller office by filling out our convenient contact form or by calling our office at 817-481-4000.