Treatment of Foot and Ankle Neuroma Pain with Processed Nerve Allografts

Jason M. Souza*, Chad A. Purnell, Jennifer E. Cheesborough, Armen S. Kelikian, Gregory A. Dumanian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: Localized nerve pain in the foot and ankle can be a chronic source of disability after trauma and has been identified as the most common complication following operative interventions in the foot and ankle. The superficial location of the injured nerves and lack of suitable tissue for nerve implantation make this pain refractory to conventional methods of neuroma management. We describe a novel strategy for management using processed nerve allografts to bridge nerve gaps created by resection of both end neuromas and neuromas-in-continuity. Methods: A retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database was performed of all patients who received a processed nerve allograft for treatment of painful neuromas in the foot and ankle between May 2010 and June 2015. Patient demographic and operative information was obtained, as well as preoperative and postoperative pain assessments using a conventional ordinal scale and PROMIS (Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System) Pain Behavior and Pain Interference assessments. Twenty-two patients were identified, with postoperative pain assessments occurring at a mean of 15.5 months after surgery. Results: Neuromas of the sural and superficial peroneal nerves were the most common diagnoses, with 3-cm nerve allografts being used as the interposition graft in the majority of cases. Eight patients had end neuromas and 18 patients had neuromas in continuity. Analysis of paired data demonstrated a mean ordinal pain score decrease of 2.6, with 24 and 31 percentage-point decreases in PROMIS Pain Behavior and Pain Interference measures, respectively. All changes were significant (P <.002). Conclusion: The painful sequelae of superficial nerve injuries in the foot and ankle was significantly improved with complete excision of the involved nerve segment followed by bridging of the resulting nerve gap with a processed nerve allograft. This approach limits surgery to the site of injury and reconstitutes the peripheral nerve anatomy. Level of Evidence: Level IV, retrospective case series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1105
Number of pages8
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • allograft
  • ankle
  • deep peroneal
  • digital
  • foot
  • nerve
  • neuroma
  • pain
  • superficial peroneal
  • sural


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