Get Answers to Your Questions in Our Nerve Damage and Surgery FAQ

Why does my foot look different after my knee replacement surgery? Should it hurt to have sex after a C-section? How can I relieve the pressure on a trapped nerve? Our FAQ page has the answers you need to kick chronic pain for good.

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  • What should I do if I have knee pain after knee replacement surgery?

    man with knee replacement surgery scars in painIf you have pain or discomfort after knee replacement surgery, it could be part of the normal healing process. However, it should not be ignored when the pain is ongoing or becomes severe since it could indicate a more serious problem. Dr. Williams can evaluate the post-surgical pain you are experiencing to determine what treatment options may work best for your specific condition.

    Why You May Have Knee Pain After Joint Replacement Surgery

    Experiencing some discomfort or pain while you heal after knee replacement surgery is normal. You will likely have some pain when kneeling, bending the knee, or doing daily activities. Pain may also occur at night, but the pain should begin to subside after a few weeks. Your surgeon should have told you what to expect and might have prescribed a pain reliever to take in the days following surgery.

    Chronic pain after knee replacement surgery is not normal, however. It could indicate a more serious problem, such as:

    • Infection
    • Blood clot
    • Failed or misaligned knee implant
    • Nerve damage

    You Shouldn't Continue to Suffer Post-Surgical Knee Pain

    Ongoing pain after knee replacement surgery should not be ignored. It is important to have any pain evaluated by the surgeon who did your knee replacement procedure to ensure that there are no problems with the alignment of the new joint or that infection is not present. If everything looks normal and there is no explanation for the pain, the issue could be nerve related, and you will want to seek the advice of Dr. Williams.

    You should not have to live in pain caused by nerve damage when Dr. Williams can determine what treatment options could ease your chronic pain and have you back to enjoying your life. Dr. Williams has successfully treated and resolved nerve injuries resulting from knee replacement surgery through procedures such as knee denervation.

    How to Know if our Maryland Peripheral Nerve Specialist Can Help You.

    If you are suffering from ongoing knee pain after replacement surgery, contact our office for an evaluation. Dr. Williams can create a treatment plan to help ease your pain and get you back to living pain-free as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.

  • What is fasciotomy?

    Fasciotomy is a surgical procedure to relieve pressure in a muscle compartment caused by a condition such as chronic exertional compartment syndrome. This procedure also increases blood flow to the nerves and muscles. Our doctor explains more about fasciotomy as a treatment option for exertional compartment syndrome. Fasciotomy for exertional compartment syndrome

    Treating Exertional Compartment Syndrome

    Exertional compartment syndrome causes pain or cramps in the front muscle compartment of the lower leg. It can occur during exercise where there are repetitive movements such as swimming, biking, or running and lessen once the activity is stopped.

    There are both nonsurgical and surgical options for treating exertional compartment syndrome. Nonsurgical options are only effective if you stop or reduce the specific activity triggering the condition. Surgery may be an option if conservative methods are ineffective in resolving pain. A fasciotomy is a surgical procedure often recommended for exertional compartment syndrome. It involves cutting the tight fascia, the bands of tissue surrounding the muscles, to relieve pressure in the muscle compartment.

    What to Expect From Fasciotomy

    Dr. Eric H. Williams will determine if your condition is exertional compartment syndrome or another condition causing the pain. Once a diagnosis is made, Dr. Williams will recommend treatment options such as a fasciotomy. At your consultation, he will thoroughly answer your questions and prepare you for what to expect before and after surgery.

    Possible Risks and Complications

    • Infection
    • Permanent nerve damage
    • Damage to muscle or blood vessels
    • Weakness or numbness
    • Shedding of skin
    • Scar tissue formation

    Fasciotomy may not completely resolve chronic exertional compartment syndrome in some cases.

    Are You Looking for a Baltimore Peripheral Nerve Specialist?

    If you have chronic exertional compartment syndrome and need help, contact Dr. Williams for an evaluation. Our goal is to help ease your symptoms and get you back to enjoying your favorite activities as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at 410-709-3868, or fill out our contact form.

     

  • What could happen if piriformis syndrome is left untreated?

    woman with low back-gluteal painPiriformis syndrome is a condition that causes gluteal pain and numbness. The condition can worsen with activity and is often caused by overuse or trauma. If it is left untreated, it may turn into a painful chronic condition that leaves you with restrictions or other issues such as sciatica. Dr. Williams explains how he can treat piriformis syndrome with nerve compression services so you can return to living pain-free.

    Diagnosing and Treating Piriformis Syndrome

    There are other conditions that can present symptoms that are similar to piriformis syndrome, such as a herniated disc, cluneal nerve entrapment, or sciatica. There is not a single test to diagnose piriformis syndrome, so diagnosis is made by ruling out other conditions and diagnosing based on symptoms and pain.

    To treat piriformis syndrome, avoiding activities that cause pain is first recommended, along with rest. Other treatment options include:

    • Physical therapy that includes stretching exercises
    • Medication such as anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants
    • Nerve release surgery to release the sciatic nerve from the piriformis muscle

    Untreated Piriformis Syndrome Complications

    Piriformis syndrome can lead to serious complications if left untreated or undiagnosed. For some patients, the pain may be misdiagnosed as a lower back issue, so treatment is based on that type of condition rather than piriformis syndrome.

    If the symptoms are thought to be from another condition other than piriformis syndrome, the patient may have unnecessary surgery or injections that increase their risk for complications and lead to chronic pain. Not treating piriformis syndrome can also make the person unable to train or continue an exercise routine.

    Contact a Baltimore Peripheral Nerve Specialist

    If you have piriformis syndrome and need treatment, contact our office for an evaluation. Dr. Williams can accurately diagnose the condition, answer any questions you may have, create a treatment plan to prevent possible complications, and get you back to living pain-free as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.

  • How do I know if I have a problem with my lateral femoral cutaneous nerve or if it's something else?

    man holding upper thigh in painThe lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, located in the outer thigh, can become compressed and cause symptoms such as burning, tingling, or numbness in the leg. However, other conditions can also cause similar symptoms. Consulting with our Baltimore peripheral nerve specialist can determine if you have lateral femoral cutaneous entrapment, also known as meralgia paresthetica, or another condition. Learn more here.

    Symptoms of Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment

    Lateral nerve entrapment can cause a range of symptoms in the outer part of the thigh. Symptoms typically affect one side of the body and may worsen after standing or walking. Some common symptoms of lateral femoral cutaneous nerve entrapment may include the following:

    • Burning
    • Numbness
    • Tingling
    • Sensitivity

    Meralgia paresthetica is not the only condition that causes these symptoms. If you are experiencing pain and numbness in your thigh, you could also have a muscle tear, overuse injury, or a sprain. A herniated disc in the back, chronic appendicitis, uterine fibroids, or a problem with the hip joint can also produce similar symptoms. It’s important to see a doctor to find out what is causing your symptoms.

    Meralgia paresthetica can be caused by trauma or from a condition such as diabetes. Some other causes include:

    • Wearing tight clothing or something heavy such as a tool belt
    • Being obese
    • Gaining weight
    • Wearing something heavy such as a tool belt
    • Pregnancy
    • Past surgery or injury near the inguinal ligament
    • Increase in abdominal pressure due to fluid accumulating

    Meralgia Paresthetica Diagnosis and Treatment Options

    If you are experiencing discomfort in your outer thigh and have symptoms of meralgia paresthetica, it is essential to see a doctor who can diagnose your condition. The diagnosis and severity of symptoms can determine the proper type of treatment and provide relief from meralgia paresthetica or another condition.

    Meralgia paresthetica can be diagnosed through a physical exam and medical history. For some patients, imaging tests or nerve studies may be required to exclude other conditions. Once a diagnosis is made, conservative treatments are first recommended. Conservative measures that can help ease discomfort from lateral femoral cutaneous nerve entrapment include:

    • Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight
    • Wearing clothes that are loose
    • Medication such as over-the-counter pain relievers

    In more severe cases that do not respond to conservative measures, nerve decompression surgery may be needed.

    Contact Our Maryland Peripheral Nerve Specialist Today

    Dr. Williams can help ease your lateral femoral cutaneous nerve symptoms and get you back to living pain-free as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.

  • What is the difference between cluneal nerve entrapment and piriformis syndrome?

    woman with pain in her hip and buttockPiriformis syndrome and superior cluneal nerve entrapment can have similar symptoms, such as deep pain in the hip or buttock, but the two conditions also have major differences as well, including the type of treatment used to provide relief. Dr. Williams explains the similarities and differences between the two conditions and how he can treat either so you can get back to enjoying your regular activities without pain.

    Similarities and Differences Between Superior Cluneal Nerve Entrapment and Piriformis Syndrome

    Piriformis syndrome can mirror the symptoms of entrapment of the superior cluneal nerve since both conditions cause pain in the buttock or hip. The main difference between the two conditions is that with piriformis syndrome, sitting causes severe pain and discomfort, whereas with superior cluneal nerve entrapment, the pain subsides during periods of rest.

    In addition to deep pain in the buttock, piriformis syndrome can cause spasms or cramps in the buttock and other symptoms such as:

    • Numbness in the foot, leg, or buttock
    • A sensation of pins and needles in the leg
    • Increase in pain when doing activities such as running, squatting, or climbing stairs

    Superior cluneal nerve entrapment can cause pain in the buttocks and lower back and symptoms such as:

    • Burning sensation in the buttock
    • Pain that is to one side rather than concentrated in the middle
    • Pain that worsens with activity but reduces with rest

    Diagnosis and Treatment Options

    Since treatment options are different for piriformis syndrome and superior cluneal nerve entrapment, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis in order to find relief. Both conditions can be difficult to diagnose and are often misdiagnosed. To determine if the cause of your pain is due to superior cluneal nerve entrapment, a nerve block may be injected into the area. If the pain disappears, the diagnosis would likely be confirmed.

    Diagnosing piriformis syndrome can be a challenge since there is not a single test to determine a diagnosis. Because other conditions such as superior cluneal nerve entrapment can cause similar symptoms, the two conditions can get misdiagnosed. To diagnose piriformis syndrome, a specialist will evaluate the pain and symptoms.

    To treat piriformis syndrome, a doctor will recommend rest and physical therapy. In addition, steroids or muscle relaxants may be used to relieve pain. When conservative treatments do not provide relief, a nerve specialist can perform nerve release surgery to release the sciatic nerve from the piriformis muscle. To treat superior cluneal nerve entrapment, a specialist will likely recommend decompression surgery of the cluneal nerve. 

    Since the treatment for piriformis syndrome and superior cluneal nerve entrapment are different, it is important to get the correct diagnosis and to see a peripheral nerve specialist such as Dr. Williams.

    Contact Our Office

    Dr. Williams has the expertise to treat both piriformis syndrome and superior cluneal nerve entrapment and can give the best advice to get you back to living pain-free. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.

  • Will exertional compartment syndrome go away on its own?

    tennis player on ground with leg pain

    Exertional compartment syndrome causes severe muscle pain and cramping in the legs, making it difficult for athletes and those interested in high-intensity activities to participate due to pressure in the muscle compartment. Symptoms may stop with rest but can intensify when doing an activity.

    While modifying or avoiding certain physical activities may help with exertional compartment syndrome for some patients, others may require surgery to correct the underlying issue so they can get back to the activities they enjoy. Find out more about the different approaches—such as a nerve decompression or nerve release surgery—that Dr. Williams may recommend to treat this condition.

    Treating Exertional Compartment Syndrome

    There are both non-surgical and surgical approaches used to treat exertional compartment syndrome. Conservative treatments may include resting or changing from a high-intensity activity to one that is low-impact to provide relief. In addition, using pain medication or wearing custom orthotics can also help to minimize symptoms.

    For those who are athletes, non-surgical options may not be the solution since modifying or avoiding an activity will make it difficult to compete in the sport they enjoy. The symptoms may ease up when resting but flare up again when the person returns to the activity.

    Dr. Williams can evaluate the condition to confirm that it is exertional compartment syndrome and not another condition such as shin splints that is causing the pain. Once a diagnosis is made, Dr. Williams will recommend treatment based on the patient’s specific needs. Some options used to treat exertional compartment syndrome include:

    • Fasciotomy. This surgical procedure is the most effective treatment of chronic exertional compartment syndrome. It involves cutting open the inflexible tissue encasing each of the affected muscle compartments to relieve pressure.
    • Nerve release surgery. This type of surgery is done to free nerves that are compressed by the affected muscles. It may be done in addition to a fasciotomy or on its own.

    Contact Dr. Eric H. Williams for Help

    Don’t suffer from the symptoms of exertional compartment syndrome any longer. Our goal is to help ease your symptoms and get you back to enjoying your favorite activities as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.

  • What is a stump neuroma?

    doctor bandaging man with amputated leg

    A stump neuroma occurs when nerve tissue is severed or detached and attempts to regrow, but since it cannot find the distal ending when doing so, it forms a ball of tissue on the end of the severed nerve instead. Having a limb amputation can result in a stump neuroma. It can also occur as a complication from surgery such as Morton’s neurectomy. A peripheral nerve specialist can offer a variety of treatments such as neuroma resection that can eliminate pain from a stump neuroma.

    Stump Neuroma Symptoms

    Stump neuromas can cause the same symptoms you experienced before having surgery and often worsen over time. The symptoms can become severe and debilitating and interfere with your daily activities. Stump neuromas have similar symptoms to a neuroma and can cause the following:

    • Shooting pain
    • Burning
    • Tingling
    • Numbness

    Symptoms from a stump neuroma can intensify and worsen when doing certain activities such as walking or when bearing weight on the affected foot. Wearing certain shoes can also aggravate the symptoms.

    Treatment Options for a Stump Neuroma

    A stump neuroma that is caused by an injury to the nerve during surgery or amputation can be treated in a variety of ways. A nerve specialist may recommend first trying conservative treatment options for a stump neuroma that include:

    • Cryotherapy
    • Radiofrequency ablation with or without a biologic
    • Injection of stem cells or steroids
    • Laser therapy
    • Custom orthotics

    If conservative treatments do not provide relief, revision surgery may be needed to provide relief and reduce pressure from the neuroma. One procedure that can be done is neuroma resection which surgically removes the damaged nerve tissue. Dr. Williams has had much success in treating pain from neuromas, and many of his patients report that they are now pain-free and no longer require daily pain medication.

    Contact a Peripheral Nerve Specialist

    If you are experiencing symptoms of a stump neuroma, contact Dr. Williams for a consultation today. Dr. Williams can design a treatment plan to fit your specific needs that can relieve pain and discomfort from a neuroma. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.

  • What is nerve transfer surgery?

    doctor examining patient with foot drop nerve injuryNerve transfer surgery is a procedure that can be done to repair severely damaged nerves that result in a loss of sensation or muscle function. This type of procedure takes healthy, working nerves that are close to the damaged nerve and transfers them to the injured area where damage has occurred. The working nerve is “plugged in” to the nerve that no longer functions, much like power being restored to an electrical socket. The nerves being transferred have a less important role than the nerve that was damaged and being replaced. 

    Conditions Treated by a Nerve Transfer

    Nerve transfers are an effective method of restoring muscle function and sensation that was lost as a result of a nerve injury. If the injury to the nerve causes pain, numbness, loss of mobility, or weakness in the muscle, nerve transfer may be an option to consider. Some conditions that can be treated by a nerve transfer include:

    • Brachial plexus injuries
    • Spinal cord injuries
    • Facial paralysis
    • Foot drop due to peroneal nerve entrapment

    Recovering From Nerve Transfer Surgery

    Nerve transfer surgery is performed by a nerve specialist and is done under general anesthesia. Patients may require an overnight hospital stay to monitor breathing and other vitals. After the procedure, the area operated on will be wrapped in a thick dressing to protect the nerves and prevent any movement. Pain medication may be prescribed to help with pain and discomfort. Pain is not typically severe after the procedure and may only exist for a few days. The dressing can be removed after three weeks. Occupational therapy may be used along with electrical stimulation to help with nerve recovery.

    Recovery can vary from patient to patient, and the length of recovery will depend on factors such as how far the nerve is from the targeted muscle it controls. Other factors that can affect recovery are the patient’s age, overall health, cause of the nerve damage, and how severe the injury to the nerve was. Full recovery can take from a few months to several years.

    Contact Us for Nerve Pain Treatment

    If you are experiencing nerve pain, contact Dr. Williams for a consultation. He can determine the cause of your pain and recommend a treatment plan to fit your specific needs. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.

  • Can supraorbital nerve decompression relieve my migraines?

    Doctor looking at brain scan on computer tabletA branch of the optic nerve that provides sensation to the scalp is the supraorbital nerve. The supraorbital nerve can become compressed in various ways and cause migraines. Finding relief for migraines can be a challenge for many patients. One option to consider is nerve decompression surgery to remove anything that is irritating the nerve and causing the headaches. Many patients find this option to be successful in eliminating their migraine pain. Our peripheral nerve surgeon can determine if this is an option for your specific condition.

    Options for Treating Migraines

    Migraines can be caused by a variety of factors. One potential cause is compression of the supraorbital nerve, which causes migraine pain in the forehead above the eye. This type of nerve compression can be due to trauma, plastic surgery, or a viral infection. When the supraorbital nerve is compressed, it can cause migraine pain that is sharp, shooting, and tingling.

    To treat migraines due to supraorbital compression, a peripheral nerve surgeon may recommend the following:

    • Supraorbital nerve block. A block can be placed directly into the supraorbital nerve. This can provide temporary relief from certain types of migraine pain.
    • Nerve decompression surgery. Surgery can be done using small incisions above the eyebrow to remove muscle, tissue, or blood vessels that are compressing on the supraorbital nerve. It is done as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia and takes under three hours.

    Dr. Williams has performed nerve decompression surgery on patients with migraines caused by supraorbital nerve compression. This procedure was so successful for one of his patients that she was able to stop her migraine medications and no longer experiences debilitating migraine symptoms. Surgery has cured her migraines, and she is able to resume her daily activities after suffering from years of chronic migraine pain.

    If you have questions about supraorbital nerve decompression and whether it can relieve your migraine pain, contact Dr. Williams for an evaluation. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.

  • Do I need surgery for a brachial plexus injury?

    man with brachial plexus injury

    The brachial plexus is a network of five nerves that control muscle movements and sensation in your hand, arm, and shoulder. An injury to the brachial plexus can result in muscle weakness, loss of sensation, or paralysis of the shoulder and upper limb muscles. If the injury is mild, it may heal on its own and not require treatment, but for more severe injuries, a nerve specialist may recommend nerve decompression surgery to help regain function of the hand or arm.

    Causes and Symptoms of a Brachial Plexus Injury

    There are many causes of a brachial plexus injury. An injury to the brachial plexus occurs when there is forceable pulling or stretching of the arm, and the head is pushed in the opposite direction. This type of injury can be the result of the following:

    • Fall
    • Automobile or motorcycle accident
    • Knife or gunshot wound
    • Cancer treatment

    Symptoms of a brachial plexus injury typically affect the hand and arm and may include:

    • Sudden pain
    • Muscle weakness
    • Numbness
    • Loss of sensation
    • Burning or stinging
    • Paralysis

    Treatment Options

    Surgery is not the first option for treatment for a brachial plexus injury since this type of injury can sometimes recover on its own. In addition to giving the injury time to heal, conservative treatments such as the following may be used:

    • Pain medications
    • Corticosteroid creams
    • Injections
    • Physical therapy exercises

    If the nerves do not heal on their own, surgery may be recommended. Surgery options for a brachial plexus injury may include:

    • Nerve repair to reconnect the torn edges of the damaged nerve
    • Nerve graft using a healthy nerve from another location to connect the ends of the separated nerve to help with healing
    • Nerve transfer to attach an inferior but functioning nerve to the damaged nerve to allow for new nerve growth
    • Tendon or muscle transfer if surgery cannot be performed to repair the damaged nerves

    If surgery is done for the injury, it can take time to see results. Since nerves only grow about one inch per month, it can take several weeks or months to notice improvement. During this time, you may need physical therapy and regular appointments with your nerve specialist. As you recover, the pain will diminish, and you should regain strength and sensation in your hands and arms.

    Dr. Williams has been successful in using nerve decompression surgery on patients with a brachial plexus injury. If you have questions about surgery for a brachial plexus injury, contact Dr. Williams for an evaluation. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.