Background: Postoperative pain following forefoot surgery can be difficult to control with oral analgesia. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of a combined popliteal and ankle block with that of an ankle block alone in providing postoperative analgesia following forefoot surgery.
Methods: We performed a prospective, randomized, controlled single-blind study involving sixty-three patients, twenty-six of whom had a combined ankle and popliteal block and thirty-seven of whom had an ankle block alone. All patients underwent an elective osseous surgical procedure on the forefoot. Postoperative pain was evaluated with use of a visual analogue scale and a verbal response form. Patient satisfaction was also recorded.
Results: The patients who had had a combined popliteal and ankle block had significantly less pain at six hours postoperatively (p = 0.011), twenty-four hours postoperatively (p < 0.001), and at discharge (p = 0.014). This group of patients also had higher satisfaction with pain relief.
Conclusions: A popliteal block in conjunction with an ankle block provides significantly better pain relief than does an ankle block alone in patients undergoing forefoot surgery.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.