Denervation has been a recommended treatment option for a range of pathologies, including relief from chronic pain; however, literature discussing complete denervation of the distal saphenous nerve for foot pain has not been found. A case report of surgical decompression for compartment syndrome resulting in chronic, debilitating foot pain that was successfully alleviated by complete saphenous nerve denervation is presented. The predominant area of the patient's pain was on the medial aspect of the foot, where a thickened scar from a decompression fasciotomy was noted. The patient's initial pain score was reported as 10 of 10, with no relief from numerous conservative treatments attempted over an 11-year period. After a diagnostic injection of a local anesthetic to the distal saphenous nerve provided the patient with immediate, temporary relief, complete denervation of the distal saphenous nerve was performed. The patient reported significant pain reduction shortly after the procedure. This case suggests that physicians should be cognizant of the saphenous nerve and its branches, as well as its variable pathways during surgery. In addition, practitioners should be aware of its influence as a progenitor of pain in the foot that may require denervation.
The practice of the clinical podiatrist traditionally focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. Clinical podiatrists are expected to be mindful of “the principles and applications of scientific enquiry.” This includes the evaluation of treatment efficacy and the research process. In contrast, the forensic podiatrist specializes in the analysis of foot-, ankle-, and gait-related evidence in the context of the criminal justice system. Although forensic podiatry is a separate, specialized field, many aspects of this discipline can be useful in the clinical treatment and management of foot and ankle problems. The authors, who are forensic podiatrists, contend that the clinical podiatrist can gain significant insights from the field of forensic podiatry. This article aims to provide clinical podiatrists with an overview of the principles and methods that have been tested and applied by forensic podiatrists in their practice, and suggests that the clinical practice of the nonforensic foot practitioner may benefit from such knowledge.