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What Are Alcohol Injections?

What Are Alcohol Injections?

Alcohol injections are a conservative therapy used to treat various neuritis and painful nerve conditions. The injections are mixed using 100% pure ethyl alcohol and diluted to a 4% solution using bupivacaine (a long-acting anesthetic) The goal of the injections is to dehydrate or shrink the nerve which causes the nerve to stop functioning.

What Foot Conditions Do Alcohol Injections Treat?

Alcohol injections are used to treat a variety of foot conditions including neuromas. Neuromas are enlarged, benign growths of the nerve often found between the third and fourth toe. Morton's neuroma (specifically refers to a neuroma located between the third and fourth intermetatarsal space) is the most common location for a neuroma, followed by the fourth and fifth intermetatarsal space.

Alcohol injections are also used to treat painful scars on the foot.

What Causes Painful Nerve Conditions in the Feet?

There are many different reasons that you could result in the formation of a Morton’s neuroma. . The following common activities and foot issues can lead to pinched or damaged nerves:

  • Wearing shoes that are too tight especially in the forefoot
  • High heels
  • Flat feet
  • Playing multi-directional sports such as: soccer, tennis, basketball

What You Should Know About Treatments Involving an Alcohol Injection

Nerve tissue has a high affinity for ethyl alcohol. So, when you inject alcohol near a nerve, the alcohol will be rapidly absorbed. This causes the nerve to dehydrate which causes it to stop functioning. In essence, the nerve will stop sending pain signals to the brain, Despite its high affinity for alcohol, nerve tissue is tenacious and will require several alcohol injections spaced one week apart. To receive the full benefits of the treatment, you must be willing to receive all seven injections. Alcohol injections are never the first step in your treatment. Your chiropodist will try other, non-invasive treatments first, and only when those treatments have failed will they consider an alcohol injection. If alcohol treatments are not effective in treating your nerve pain, then surgery may be considered.

Common Symptoms of a Neuroma

Speak to your chiropodist if you are experiencing or have had any of these symptoms:

  • Numbness or tingling in your toes
  • The sensation of pins and needles in your feet or toes
  • Shooting pain
  • The feeling like you’re standing on a small rock
  • A painful clicking in your foot
  • Painful scars

How to Prepare for Alcohol Injection Treatments

There are No special preparations required prior to your injection.

It's also important that you are healthy when you have the injection done. Your chiropodist will ask if you have been ill or have had a temperature over 38°C (100.4°F) in the previous two days.

After Care Precautions

After receiving an alcohol injection, you may be asked to wait in the office for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure there are no immediate side effects.(Patients on occasion will feel a burning sensation at the site of the injection. This should resolve within a few minutes once the local anesthetic begins to work.) Although you may start to feel relief after the first few injections, you should avoid excessive exercising or long periods of standing on your feet until all seven injections have been administered.

Contact the dedicated chiropodists at Medical Foot Solutions today if you're suffering from any of these symptoms and are wondering if alcohol injections would be an effective treatment. We'll help you and your feet get back to feeling great.


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