Nerve decompression in diabetics with chronic nerve compression: update 2022

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The number of people with diabetes worldwide has reached epidemic proportions. Diabetics are well-known to have chronic nerve compressions, and the prevalence of compressions exceeds 50% in those with neuropathy. The loss of sensation in the feet of people with diabetic neuropathy is the primary cause of their ulceration and amputation, as well as pain. The aim of this article is to update the reader on the current status of lower extremity nerve decompression in patients with diabetic neuropathy. A review of the history and literature related to the current approach to the patient with chronic nerve compression plus diabetic neuropathy was undertaken. The current evidence is overwhelmingly clear, in diabetics with neuropathy and a positive Tinel sign over the tibial nerve at the tarsal tunnel, that decompression, by neurolysis of lower extremity nerves, can relieve pain, restore sensation, and prevent ulceration and amputation. Furthermore, economic cost-benefit analysis by the Markov technique demonstrates that lower extremity nerve compression is not only cost-effective compared to standard medical care, but also increases the quality of life and life expectancy. The remaining barriers to acceptance and implementation of this proven surgical approach must lie in the education of physicians in training and reeducation of diabetes educators, primary care providers and endocrinologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number45
JournalPlastic and Aesthetic Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2022


  • amputation
  • decompression
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Markov analysis
  • neurolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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