The use of a local anesthetic foot block in patients undergoing outpatient bony forefoot surgery: a prospective randomized controlled trial

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2003 Jan-Feb;42(1):24-9. doi: 10.1053/jfas.2003.50001.


Foot blocks are known to prolong postoperative pain relief. Consequently, their use has been extended to patients having outpatient surgery, despite little evidence to show improved patient satisfaction. Indeed, patients having outpatient surgery actually may be less satisfied because they will first experience pain at home on the first postoperative night, which may be more severe than anticipated. In this prospective, randomized, blinded study, 42 patients having unilateral outpatient bony forefoot surgery were assigned randomly to either having the surgery under general anesthesia alone or under general anesthesia with supplementary foot block (0.5% bupivicaine). All patients were assessed at home by telephone interview on the first and second postoperative day. There was a significantly longer time to first perceived pain in the foot block group compared with the control group, but no difference in the number of postoperative analgesic tablets consumed, no difference in pain score on the first night, first postoperative or second postoperative day, or any difference in the overall patient satisfaction scores at 2 days. The authors conclude that a local foot block, although prolonging the time to first perceived pain, does not improve patient satisfaction and is not detrimental when used as analgesia in the outpatient setting.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Foot Bones / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Block*
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Analgesics
  • Anesthetics, Local