Injury to the infrapatellar branch of the saphenous nerve, a possible cause for anterior knee pain after tibial nailing?

M. S. Leliveld*, M. H.J. Verhofstad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term incidence of infrapatellar nerve damage after tibial nailing and its relation to anterior knee pain. We retrospectively evaluated 71 patients in whom 72 isolated tibial shaft fractures were treated with an intramedullary nail. The mean follow-up time was 84 months. Twenty-seven patients (38%) complained of chronic anterior knee pain. Infrapatellar nerve damage was found in 43 patients (60%). Of the 27 patients with knee pain, 21 (78%) had sensory deficits in the distribution area of the infrapatellar nerve, compared to 22 of the 45 patients (49%) without knee pain (p = 0.025). Patient and fracture characteristics showed no significant differences between the two groups. At time of follow-up a total of 33 nails were removed of which twelve were taken out because of knee pain. The pain persisted in seven of these twelve patients (58%). The incidence of iatrogenic damage to the infrapatellar nerve after tibial nailing is high and lasting. Injury to this nerve appears to be associated with anterior knee pain after tibial nailing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-783
Number of pages5
JournalInjury
Volume43
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

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