As stated earlier, lower back conditions may prompt a series of symptoms that produce foot pain, usually associated with leg pain (sciatica). To understand how lower back conditions may be the source of pain in the foot, one needs to learn about the largest single nerve in the human body, the sciatic nerve.
The Sciatic Nerve and Foot Pain
Composed of five nerves that join at the lower part of the spine, the sciatic nerve extends down the back of each leg all the way to the toes and connects the spinal cord with the many of the muscles in the leg and foot.
When the sciatic nerve becomes impaired in any way, such as from a low back problem that pinches or compresses the nerve roots that join together to form the sciatic nerve, a series of symptoms generally known as sciatica may manifest in the form of leg pain and foot pain as opposed to back pain.
In This Article:
Lower Back Conditions/Causes of Foot Pain
The following lower back conditions may prompt sciatica, which may in turn lead to referred pain in the leg and the foot:
- Herniated Lumbar Disc. A herniated disc occurs when a disc’s inner core pushes or leaks out through its outer core. This process causes pressure on the nerve root, which may radiate pain down the sciatic nerve into the leg and foot, with symptoms varying and depending on the location of the herniated disc. Related foot pain treatments tend to be non-surgical but may require a back surgery called microdiscectomy to remove a portion of the disc, relieve pressure on the nerve and calm any referred pain in the foot.
- spinal stenosis in the lower back. Rarely, surgical decompression may be necessary.
An Important Point about Foot Pain Diagnosis
It is crucial that the specific cause of foot pain be accurately diagnosed by an appropriately trained physician. If the foot pain may be caused by a problem in one's lower back it is advisable to see a spine specialist for a complete diagnosis of potential lower back conditions that may be causing the leg pain and foot pain.