The Effects of Intravenous Dexamethasone on Rebound Pain After Nerve Block in Patients with Ankle Fracture: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Pain Res. 2023 Mar 31;16:1127-1136. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S399660. eCollection 2023.


Purpose: A single-injection nerve block provides excellent analgesia in a short time, but rebound pain after the nerve block disappears has attracted researchers' attention. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of intravenous dexamethasone on rebound pain after adductor canal block (ACB) and popliteal sciatic nerve block in patients with ankle fracture.

Methods: We recruited 130 patients with ankle fractures scheduled for open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), each of whom received ACB and popliteal sciatic nerve block. Patients were divided into two groups: C (ropivacaine only) and IV (ropivacaine with intravenous dexamethasone). The primary outcome was the incidence of rebound pain. Secondary outcomes included the following: pain scores at 6 h (T1), 12 h (T2), 18 h (T3), 24 h (T4), and 48 h (T5) after operation; duration of the nerve block; number of presses of the analgesia pump and rescue analgesic consumption in the three-day postoperative period; quality of recovery scale (QoR-15 score); postoperative sleep quality; satisfaction of patients; and levels of serum inflammatory markers (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α) six hours after surgery.

Results: Compared with group C, the incidence of rebound pain in group IV was significantly reduced, and the duration of nerve block was extended by approximately nine hours (P<0.05). Moreover, patients in group IV had significantly lower pain scores at T2-T4, lower levels of serum inflammatory markers (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α), higher QoR-15 score two days after the operation, and satisfactory sleep quality the night after surgery (P<0.05).

Conclusion: Intravenous dexamethasone can reduce the rebound pain after adductor block and sciatic popliteal nerve block in patients with ankle fracture surgery, prolong the duration of nerve block, and improve the quality of early postoperative recovery.

Keywords: ankle fracture; dexamethasone; nerve block; postoperative analgesia; rebound pain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial

Grant support

This work was supported by Hebei Province technology Innovation guide Project Science and Technology Winter Olympics special project (19977790D); Hebei Provincial government funded the specialty capacity building and specialty leader training program.