Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Are there disadvantages to having an EMG on foot?

Posted by MIchelle on 9/21/04 at 17:26 (160276)

I am 28 yrs old and have had pain for 3 years in my left foot. A string of physical therapy, night splints, immobilzation, cortisone shot, etc. did little to resolve the pain. Since the pain is mildest in the morning and worse at night, my dotcor wants to do an EMG test to determine if I have an entrapped nerve. I have read some extremely scary things on the web about people have worse symptoms after an having an EMG test. My fear also stems from the fact the only other time I had needles put in my foot (for the cortisone shot) I ended up with chronic (debilitating) pain near the injection site that has never gone away (and wasn't present before the injection). Do you have any experiences where EMG tests made people worse? Should I worry since the cortisone shot was such a disasterous experience in the long run?

Thanks for any advice in this area.

Re: BTW: RSD is a possibility

MIchelle on 9/21/04 at 18:10 (160280)

by the way, I am also concerned about this procedure because while I was immobilized, my foot swelled up like a balloon and was extremely sensitive to the touch (like lying it on the bed was too much). I was temporarily diagnosed with RSD but before I could get into the pain specialist (2 mounths later) the RSD-like symptoms were decreasing. So they told me I had healed from the RSD and gave me no treatment. I am worried that this EMG test might aggravate something if RSD is there?

Re: BTW: RSD is a possibility

Kristie on 9/21/04 at 20:36 (160287)

I had an EMG test done two years ago and with no pain at all. I found it very interesting and no pian durning or after the procudre. Good Luck.

By the way what is RSD? I have a lot of nerve pain on th einside part of my heel. I hate wearing a shoe on the foot.

Re: BTW: RSD is a possibility

Michelle on 9/21/04 at 20:41 (160290)

Thanks for your advice. Did they find anything in your EMG?

My limited understanding of RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) is that your body overreacts to trauma. So your nerves cause you to feel pain that is disproportionate to the injury. People have posted about it on this site. Maybe try doing a search on RSD to learn more. Good luck!

Re: Are there disadvantages to having an EMG on foot?

Ed Davis. DPM on 9/21/04 at 22:33 (160309)

I have had patients with temporary discomfort after such tests but never a patient who became worse after an EMG/NCV.

Re: Are there disadvantages to having an EMG on foot?

Pete on 9/22/04 at 11:28 (160343)

Had EMG done on both feet 2 months ago. Didn't hurt and no side effects. Unfortunately, the test was negative although I understand this sort of test can be inaccurate. The doc's will know more about this

Re: BTW: RSD is a possibility

Kristie on 9/22/04 at 12:00 (160347)

Thank Michelle,

That makes a lot of sence to me. How did you get your RSD to go away?
My EMG came back negative. But my doctor still worked on my entraped nerve when she did my PF realse surgery. I'm glad I did it. But the pain further back on my heel is terrible. I hate to touchting the bed or have a shoe on which I never had that problem before. I have been using crtuches part of the time now and tring to stay off my feet which is helping.

Best of luck to you.

Re: BTW: RSD is a possibility

Kristie on 9/22/04 at 12:45 (160349)

How did your doctor determine you had RSD?

Re: BTW: RSD is a possibility

Michelle on 9/22/04 at 17:29 (160356)

Kristie - I am not really sure if I had RSD at all. One doctor I was going to said I did after we immobilized my foot (non weight bearing) for 6 meeks and my foot reacted poorly to the cast. It swelled up like a ballon, was hypersensitive (I couldn't touch it to anything), the muscles around my ankle were spasming, and I had searing rippling pain that ran along my ankle when I tried to walk on it. So, he thought it was RSD and sent me to a pain specialist. But by the time I got into see this specialist, my symptoms has mostly gone away on their own (mind you I was still on crutches). Apprently lots of people who have mild cases of RSD can get better on their own (at least that is what this one doctor told me). I am certainly not an expert and now my doctors are thinking that its more TTS or nerve entrapment that was causing those symptoms than RSD. who knows... I sure wish these things were easier to diagnose!

Maybe you just need time to let all your injured muscles and nerves recooperate? One thing I did do that I think helped me was lots of rest, and *light* exercises (like moving my ankle in circles) to keep things moving.

Good luck and I hope your pain lessens.

Re: BTW: RSD is a possibility

Kristie on 9/23/04 at 08:53 (160373)

Thanks Michelle