What is a sural nerve block?
A sural nerve block is a procedure for anesthetizing a part of the calf, lower leg, heel and foot. An anesthetic solution is injected adjacent to the Achilles tendon on the outer side of the foot. The anesthetic blocks the transmission of pain signals from injury or surgery in these parts of the lower leg.
The sural nerve is a terminal branch of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve provides motor function and sensation to the back of the thigh and the entire lower leg from the knee down. The sciatic nerve has two major branches:
- Tibial nerve
- Common peroneal (fibular) nerve
The sural nerve is a sensory nerve made up of a branch each from both the tibial and peroneal nerves. The sural nerve passes down the calf and lower leg adjacent to the Achilles tendon, into the little toe-side of the foot. The sural nerve is relatively superficial and can be blocked by an anesthetic injection at a variety of levels above, or at the ankle.
What does the sural nerve do?
The sural nerve and its branches transmits information of sensation from part of the calf, lower leg, heel and foot to the brain. The sural nerve transmits pain signals to the brain when injury or trauma occurs in these parts of the lower leg.
What does sural nerve pain feel like?
Injury or irritation to the sural nerve causes a burning pain in the calf and below. Sural nerve damage may also cause tingling, hypersensitivity, or numbness in the affected region.
Why is a sural nerve block performed?
A sural nerve block may be performed alone, or in combination with other nerve blocks depending on the area that requires anesthesia. A sural nerve block is performed to provide:
- Anesthesia for surgical procedures
- Pain relief (analgesia) for injury, or post-surgery
A sural nerve block is performed during surgical procedures in the lateral part of the calf, lower leg, heel and foot, including:
- Repair of wounds and lacerations
- Treatment of ankle fracture or dislocation, as part of an ankle block
- Incision and drainage of abscess
- Removal of foreign body
A sural nerve block is a better alternative to a local tissue infiltration anesthesia because it:
- Requires a lower volume of anesthetic agent to achieve anesthesia in a larger area.
- Requires fewer injections, which reduces the trauma to the patient.
- Provides selective pain relief and reduces the need for sedation and opioids.
- Provides longer-lasting anesthesia and analgesia (pain relief).
A sural nerve block is avoided for any of the following reasons:
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is a Sural Nerve Block Related Articles
7 Reasons You Are Tired After SurgeryPostsurgical fatigue is normal and is due to a variety of factors. Depression, stress, and anxiety may produce fatigue. Sleep deficits, certain medications, anemia, blood loss, fasting, and loss of electrolytes and minerals associated with surgery can also produce fatigue. Exercise, physical exertion, aging, and the overall health status of patients are additional factors that play a role in making people feel tired after surgery.
Bone Density ScanBone density scanning measures bone mineral density, which helps a doctor decide whether a person is at increased risk of an osteoporosis-related fracture. The following risk factors may suggest the need for bone density scanning: advanced age, poor health, low body weight or thin stature, personal history of fracture as an adult, low physical activity, RA, and use of birth control pills.
Broken BoneA broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as:
- vertebral compression,
- compound, and
Symptoms of a broken bone include pain at the site of injury, swelling, and bruising around the area of injury. Treatment of a fracture depends on the type and location of the injury.
Broken BonesBroken bones are a common type of injury. Bones are some of the hardest tissues in the body, but they can break when they are stressed. Osteoporosis and cancer may cause bone fractures. The broken bone needs immediate medical treatment.
Broken FootA broken foot is a common injury. There are 26 bones in the foot, and these bones can be broken (fractured) in a variety of ways. Signs and symptoms of a broken bone in the foot are pain, swelling, redness, bruising, and limping because the person is not able to walk on the affected foot. You can tell if you have a broken foot by medical examination that includes imaging studies. The healing and recovery time for a broken bone in the foot depends upon the type of fracture and the bones broken.
Burns (First Aid)
Burn types are based on their severity: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are similar to a painful sunburn. The damage is more severe with second-degree burns, leading to blistering and more intense pain. The skin turns white and loses sensation with third-degree burns. Burn treatment depends upon the burn location, total burn area, and intensity of the burn.
Can Nerve Damage Heal on Its Own?Damage to nerves can be severe. Because of their structure and function, nerves do not heal as quickly as some body parts do, but sometimes nerve damage can heal on its own.
First Aid and CPRFirst aid is providing medical assistance to someone a sick or injured person. The type of first aid depends on their condition. Preparedness is key to first aid, like having basic medical emergency kits in your home, car, boat, or RV. Many minor injuries may require first aid, including cuts, puncture wounds, sprains, strains, and nosebleeds. Examples of more critical first aid emergencies include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and heatstroke.
How Is a Sural Nerve Block Performed?A sural nerve block is a procedure to numb the outer (lateral) side of the calf, lower leg, heel, edge of the foot and the top part of the little toe. A sural nerve block is most often performed as an outpatient procedure in the emergency department to treat injuries in the lower leg.
How Long Does a Posterior Tibial Nerve Block Last?A posterior tibial nerve block is a procedure for numbing a portion of the foot. An anesthetic injection is administered near the ankle on the inside of the leg, close to the posterior tibial nerve, blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
How Long Does a Superficial Peroneal Nerve Block Last?A superficial peroneal nerve block is a procedure to anesthetize a portion of the lower leg and the upper (dorsal) foot. A line of anesthetic injections are administered at the lower end of the front of the leg at the level of the bony projections (malleoli) on either side of the ankle.
How Long Does an Epidural Nerve Block Last?An epidural nerve block is a procedure to block pain by injecting anesthetic medication into the epidural space of the spine. The procedure numbs the relevant nerve region thereby blocking the transmission of pain signals from those nerves to the brain. An epidural nerve block may be administered in the cervical, thoracic, lumbar or the caudal (lowermost) region of the spinal column.
Nerve BlocksNerve blocks are used for different pain treatment and management purposes. There are many different types of nerve blocks for specific areas of the body. A plexus or ganglion is a group of nerves that causes pain to a specific area of the body. The pain area is injected with a nerve-numbing substance called a nerve block.
What Is an Epidural Nerve Block?An epidural nerve block is a procedure to block pain by injecting anesthetic medication into the epidural space. The epidural space is the area between the inner wall of the backbone (vertebral column) and the outermost of the three membranes (dura mater) that surround the spinal cord.