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Surgery for trapped peripheral nerves

If you have pain or weakness in your hands or feet, our small surgical procedures can help.

What is surgery for trapped peripheral nerves?

If you’re experiencing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in your hands or feet you could have a trapped or pinched peripheral nerve. Our surgical procedure aims to relieve the pain of a trapped peripheral nerve.

I have a question about surgery for trapped peripheral nerves

What is a trapped peripheral nerve?

A trapped (also known as a pinched or compressed peripheral) nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to that nerve by surrounding tissues such as cartilage, muscles, tendons, or bones.

What is the peripheral nervous system?

Your peripheral nervous system includes the nerves that branch out from your brain and spine (your central nervous system or CNS). This network of nerves connects your CNS to your limbs, organs, and skin, allowing your brain and spinal cord to send and receive messages from the rest of your body.

What are the signs of a trapped nerve?

What are the signs of a trapped nerve?

The signs of a trapped nerve can include:

  • Sharp, aching or burning pain which may radiate outwards
  • Muscle weakness in the affected area
  • Paraesthesia (tingling sensations and pins and needles)
  • A frequent feeling that a foot or a hand has “fallen asleep”
  • Decreased feeling or numbness in the area surrounded by the nerve

These symptoms may worsen when you’re sleeping.

Who is likely to get peripheral nerve damage?

There are several factors which may increase your risk of experiencing a pinched, trapped, or compressed nerve, such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis – the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis can compress the nerves in your joints
  • Bone spurs – trauma or a condition that causes bone thickening, such as osteoarthritis can cause bone spurs which can stiffen the spine and narrow the space where your nerves travel. This then pinches the nerves
  • Diabetes – people with diabetes have a higher risk of nerve compression
  • Obesity – excess weight can add pressure to the nerves
  • Prolonged bed rest – long periods of lying down can increase the risk of trapped nerves
  • Overuse – jobs or hobbies that require repetitive hand, wrist or shoulder movements increase your risk of a pinched nerve. Those working in the building and construction trades and manufacturing industries are more susceptible
  • Pregnancy – water and weight gain associated with pregnancy can swell nerve pathways, compressing your nerves

Will a trapped nerve go away on its own?

Compressed nerves can heal themselves without treatment but there’s also no reason why you should suffer for a prolonged amount of time. Hot and cold therapies can help if the pain is accompanied by swelling, trying a change in position/posture, pain relieving medications and physiotherapy can also help.  A trapped nerve isn’t likely to cause inflammation, but it does depend on what caused the injury.

How is a trapped peripheral nerve diagnosed?

On your initial consultation, your Consultant will ask about your symptoms, conduct a physical examination and you may undergo further tests if a pinched nerve is suspected.

  • Blood tests – to measure your blood glucose or thyroid levels
  • Nerve conduction study – this test measures electrical nerve impulses, functioning in your muscles and nerves through electrodes placed on your skin. The results of this test will determine whether you have a damaged nerve
  • Scans like x-rays, electromyography (EMG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or an ultrasound may be required to diagnose your trapped peripheral nerve

How do you treat peripheral nerve entrapment?

Once your Consultant has diagnosed your trapped peripheral nerve, you will be told to rest the affected area by putting on hold any activities that may have contributed to the compressed nerve.

We offer the following private treatments for a trapped peripheral nerve:

  • Physiotherapy – our expert Physiotherapists can teach you exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles in the affected area to relive pressure on the nerve
  • Surgery – if your trapped nerve does not improve after several weeks to a few months with non-surgical treatments, your Consultant may recommend surgery to take pressure off your nerve. The type of surgery depends on the location of your trapped nerve. An example of the surgical procedure may involve the removal of bone spurs or a part of a herniated disk or treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
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Work-related injury care and prevention

If you work in the trades or have a manual job, injuries such as sprains and strains can be debilitating. Discover more about injury prevention and your treatment options at our CQC rated Outstanding private hospital.

Our Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons

Mr James

Christopher James

Orthopaedic and trauma consultant

Mr James' specialties include hand and wrist surgery, both open and arthroscopic procedures.

Mr Southgate

Crispin Southgate

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Southgate's specialities include foot and ankle conditions - covering sports injuries and more.

Mr Yanni

Dimitri Yanni

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Yanni's specialties include elbow, hand and wrist surgery.

Consultant Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon Mr Paolo Consigliere

Paolo Consigliere

Consultant Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon

Mr Paolo Consigliere specialities include arthroscopy, tendon operations and treatment for frozen shoulder.

Contact us about surgery for trapped peripheral nerves

It's easy to find out more about treatment by giving us a call or completing our enquiry form.