What is nerve hydrodissection of the ankle?

Nerve hydrodissection is a non-surgical treatment for people who have nerve entrapment. This is common for people who suffer from compressed nerve conditions, including those that rheumatoid arthritis causes. As the joints shift and change, they place pressure on the nerves. This leads to pain, numbness, tingling and other symptoms. In the past, doctors treated these conditions with open surgery. With nerve hydrodissection, there's no need to make an incision. That means you have a much quicker recovery time.

How does nerve hydrodissection of the ankle work?

Nerve hydrodissection uses fluids to free the nerve from scar tissue or lesions that trap it. The fluid in the procedure is platelet-rich plasma. This is made from your own blood and contains a higher concentration of platelets than normal blood. Doctors use platelet-rich plasma. It helps jumpstart the healing process to further reduce your symptoms.

This procedure does not damage soft tissues or ligaments in the ankle. The goal is to help you return to normal activities quickly.

What to expect from nerve hydrodissection of the ankle

Nerve hydrodissection is an outpatient procedure. Many doctors perform it in their offices rather than in a hospital. Anesthesia isn't necessary. Your doctor may apply a local numbing agent to your ankle prior to injection.

Your doctor cleans the skin on your ankle. They use ultrasound imaging to guide the needle into the space around the nerve. With the needle in place, they slowly release the platelet-rich plasma.

The fluid relieves the pressure on your nerve. You should feel a decrease in symptoms. Pain and numbness should improve more as the platelet-rich plasma has a chance to help the nerve heal. The procedure provides long-lasting relief, so you can get back to your normal activities.

Common conditions requiring nerve hydrodissection

Doctors often use nerve hydrodissection to treat nerve compression due to rheumatoid arthritis. When this occurs in the ankle, it's known as Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Symptoms include burning and electrical sensations in your first three toes and your heel. It can be painful and difficult to walk as a result. Nerves in other parts of your body can experience the same symptoms. Some of the other conditions treated with this approach include:

  • Scar neuropathy
  • Morton's neuroma
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Nerve entrapment syndrome

Find an orthopedic doctor nearby

Mercy Health locations that can treat you