The Role Pain Medicine Plays in Podiatry

The Fight of the Century, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, was unbelievable considering the record breaking amounts of money involved, an undefeated record at stake, and the hype. It makes me wonder, now that it is all over, how much pain these two individuals are in. With that in mind, today I will begin a discussion on the role pain medications play in podiatry.

Narcotics are wonderful drugs used extensively in foot and ankle surgery. However, side effects and potential for addiction do exist. As you will see, a lot goes into choosing the right drug and correct dose for each patient.

Most of us are aware of the dangers of narcotic abuse, but you may not be familiar with the more common (and less severe) side effects. These drugs are notorious for causing constipation, so don’t be surprised if your podiatrist prescribes a laxative (like Senekot or Dulcolax) as a part of your post-op medication regimen. They can also cause itching, which can be treated with antihistamines like Benadryl.

It is debatable whether or not addiction can be considered a side effect, but narcotic addiction is without a doubt a very controversial issue in medicine. Since these drugs tend to make a patient loopy, relaxed, or even euphoric, some patients do abuse them. Narcotic abuse can be deadly because they act to lower your breathing rate. Taking more than prescribed can cause a person to stop breathing in his or her sleep.

Choosing a narcotic depends on the severity of pain. Although here at Cast a Foot Podiatry in Hempstead, I have extensive knowledge on how to treat pain with narcotics, every patient’s pain level is subjective. What hurts one person greatly may not cause any pain in others. This makes choosing a narcotic very tricky as the doctor considers each patient’s individual pain threshold, the tendency of the medication to cause addiction, hospital protocol, side effects, etc. The general rule of thumb is to treat pain with the lowest possible dose to keep pain at a manageable level. For certain injuries or operations, completely killing the pain is unrealistic.

Check back next week as we continue this discussion on the role of narcotics in controlling pain in foot and ankle surgery.


Dr. Nicole M. Castillo

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