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There are a wide variety of treatments for a pinched foot nerve, and their use depends on the severity of pain and the underlying cause. Common treatments can include applying heat or cold to the area, massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, acupressure, medication injections or pills, and rest. Very rarely, surgery may be needed to repair a nerve that has been damaged due to an injury. There are also new treatments being developed and used in some areas, such as laser therapy.
In most cases, a pinched foot nerve comes as the result of minor trauma to the muscles or tendons surrounding the nerve. Generally, rest and reduced pressure on the afflicted area will reduce pain and lead to healing within a day or so. When this is not possible, it is important to apply as little pressure as possible to the foot that has been impacted and to wear comfortable and supportive shoes to prevent further injury. Over the counter pain medications, ice packs, and gentle massage may help reduce pain until the nerve has fully healed.
For more prolonged pain associated with a pinched foot nerve, additional therapies may be beneficial. Acupressure and acupuncture have been shown to help in reducing the pain and increasing blood flow to a pinched nerve. Chiropractic care may also open up pathways to the legs and feet to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
More recent treatment methods for nerve pain include laser therapy. This is a form of surgery that is less invasive than more traditional methods. It requires local anesthesia and uses a laser to help remove portion of tissue or bone that may be causing the pinched foot nerve. Although effective, this procedure is not yet widely available and is more commonly used in treating pinched nerves in the back or neck.
In very severe cases, surgery may be used to treat a pinched foot nerve. Sometimes prolonged inflammation caused by an injury or medical condition can cause chronic nerve pain. Doctors may be able to surgically remove a small part of the muscle, bone, or other tissue pressing against the nerve and causing pain. Although recovery is often longer and risks are higher than other treatment methods, surgery is an effective remedy for very severe pain.
If foot pain is very prolonged and does not respond to typical treatments used for pinched nerves, further evaluation may be needed. An injury not related to the nerve may be to blame. If this is the case, additional treatments or therapies will likely be required.