Outcome of neurolysis for failed tarsal tunnel surgery

Allison R. Barker, Gedge D. Rosson, A. Lee Dellon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Revision tarsal tunnel surgery was performed on 44 patients (two bilaterally). The surgical procedure included a neurolysis of the tibial nerve in the tarsal tunnel, the medial plantar, lateral plantar, and calcaneal nerves in their respective tunnels, excision of the intertunnel septum, and neuroma resection as indicated. A painful tarsal tunnel scar or painful heel was treated, respectively, by resection of the distal saphenous nerve or a calcaneal nerve branch. Postoperative, immediate ambulation was permitted. Outcomes were assessed with a numerical grading scale that included neurosensory measurements. Outcomes were also assessed by patient satisfaction and their own estimate of residual pain and/or numbness. Mean follow-up time was 2.2 years. Outcomes in terms of patient satisfaction were 54% excellent, 24% good, 13% fair, and 9% poor results. The mean preoperative numerical score was 6.0 and the mean postoperative score was 2.7. There was a significant improvement seen, based on the median difference between scores (p < 0.001). Prognostic indicators of poor results in our patient group were coexisting lumbosacral disc disease and/or neuropathy. An approach related to resecting painful cutaneous nerves and neurolysis of all tibial nerve branches at the ankle offers hope for relief of pain and recovery of sensation for the majority of patients with failed previous tarsal tunnel surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of reconstructive microsurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008


  • Failed tarsal tunnel surgery
  • Neuroma
  • Plantar nerves
  • Recurrent tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Tibial nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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