The Phantom of Podiatry

You had a pain, went to the doctor, and the doctor decided to remove it. Now you’re feeling that same pain, but it still feels like it’s there. But you removed that? Why is the pain still there? There’s a name for that, and it’s called phantom pain.

This occurrence is a psychological phenomenon where you feel sensations sent by your nerves to your brain from parts of your body that are no longer a part of your body. The function of your nerves is to send messages to your brain about the specific body part that it attaches to. Each nerve is dedicated to serving that one attachment, and when that attachment is no longer a part of your body, your nerves will continue searching for that extension. In some cases, you won’t feel a thing, but there is also a chance that the pain will remain the same, or maybe even get worse. 

While phantom pains are mostly associated with cases of amputation, it also rears its ugly head in the world of podiatry, especially with neuroma patients. A neuroma is the growth of nerve tissues in the foot usually between your toes. When your metatarsals in your feet start to rub against each other, it causes irritation and inflammation of the nerves. Some podiatrists perform a neurectomy, which involves removing the neuroma, which leaves the possibility of phantom pain. 

We offer a highly effective alternative option called cryosurgery. Unlike a neurectomy, there are many advantages to cryosurgery, as it is a minimally invasive procedure. It involves minimal discomfort and requires no stitches. It is a quick 15 minute procedure that involves cyclically freezing of the neuroma to decrease the size of the nerve tissue as well as reducing the irritation and sensitivity. This prevents numbness, tingling, burning sensation due to inflammation of the nerve ending that allows you to walk right out of the operation room. 

If you still continue to experience irritation, don’t worry about it too much. Just come back in, and we can repeat the treatment, as it does not pose any threats.

While we love a good horror story for the halloween season, don’t let phantom pain haunt you.

Dr. Sooji Kim Dr. Sooji Kim is a skilled foot and ankle surgeon at Gotham Footcare.

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