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Any recoveries from leg/foot numbness & weakness? Need Hope!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hi all,

I'm new to this site. Three years ago I had two herniated discs (L4/L5 & L5/S1)resulting in sciatic pain. My doctors urged conservative treatments first (epidural injections, physio, etc). These treatments help reduce my pain to manageable levels, but never reduced them entirely.

Since my original injury I have had a number of flair ups, but have eventually recovered from these as well. My latest flair up however includes numbness to my right foot and weakness in my right leg. I have read a number of posts about people with permanent numbness/weakness and this is freaking me out.

Two quick questions:
A. has anyone fully recovered from numb foot/weak leg caused by disc herniation?
B. If so what was your treatment and how long did recovery take?

I would really appreciate any responses.


  • I had a great amount of numbness, swelling,weak, drop foot, floppy foot at first with the back injury and still have tingling and some numbness worse when sitting. I've had 5 epidurals that helped the numbness. My leg used to give out when I wlked so I got a cane to help take the weight off my foot. I don't know if it's helped by I feel stronger after facet joint injections also for the backpain and I also did some treatment with accupuncture. I'm awaiting a NeuroSurgeon appt. after refused for surgery by 2 Orthos. Keep looking for other Drs. opinions. One may be able to help you one day. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hiya >:D< Welcome To Spine Health >:D< The doctors have to try every other option before they can consider any other surgery :S , thats why you have to know whats available to you :O , ie:-injections, physio. The symtons you descibe are more or less the same as what i have been having :O , also i have problems with my right foot/leg, my leg gives way from my hip ~X( , and the pain i have in my leg is just too much to bear some days :''( . In the mornings when i wake I) ,i have pain and stiffness in back and my right leg from the knee down is floppy but at the same time painful :''( . I suffer neck pain since the car accident, and i have a problem/weakness with my right eye :S , the worse the pain down my right side the worse my eye drops down :? . I am waiting to see an orthopedic surgeon in july :SS , I do hope he can do somthing to help me :S . My GP (family doctor) has said he can not help me :''( , and the surgeon that did my operation has said there is not anything they can do until, my legs give way or my back gives way :O :''( . So the next surgeon i am seeing is for a second opinion :SS .I know this does not answer your question but i want you to know you are not alone >:D< .

    Angie :H
  • Hi and welcome. First of all, do you have documented weakness (by dr) or 'percieved' weakness - led feels weak but you can not pin point where and how. Real weakness is that you can not lift you toe, can not flex your foot, can not do toe raises etc. Weakness has to be on the nerve path.
    To your second question: i had total toe drop (could not move my big toe at all) and a little foot drop 6 month ago. With conservative treatment foot drop is gone, toe is doing much better - I can move it ok but it is still weak against resistance, so if I apply pressure on it, I can not lift it up. Strenth is returning very slow and probably will stop by 1 year mark since the incident. However It is much better. Problem is that even with surgery there is no garantee that it will return. Keep your hopes up!.
  • I had very similar symptoms. Left leg weakness, numbness, and bladder problems. Over a four week period these symptoms gradually became worse. My MRI showed a very large herniation at L5 S1. I was then required by my insurance provided to see a physiatrist. They gave me two options. First was to have surgery or second to wait and see if things got better. I got second opinions on all matters and they all said the same. What was very scary for me was losing control of my bladder. This also worried the neuro. and other docs i visited. I chose to have the surgery. My wife and mother are in the medical field and know several great neurosurgeons. I'm now 3wks. post op. I feel great so far. The pain and numbness in my leg are almost all gone. I have regained most of the strength in my leg. I do have pain when I do my stretches but I believe it's because I haven't done anything for over 2 mo. I don't regret choosing the route I took, and so far it has been a succcess. I just pray that I continue to improve. I'm also glad that I didn't wait to long to choose surgery. I hope this helps you out. I wish you and everyone else the best.
  • People do fully recover from the leg weakness. Even if no one here speaks up that doesn't mean that no one recovers. People that recover probably don't spend a lot of time on back pain forums on the internet because they don't have any pain.

    I know what you mean about the leg weakness freaking you out. I'm there too.

    Best of luck!
  • Rhol,
    I haven’t completely recovered. I am 1 week out of surgery and can now do a calf raise with just a little help from my upper body. This is worlds away from trying to do it and having nothing happen at all. I did not have “toe drop”. You can see my entire history with this at the link below.


    Regardless of the path you choose, you are going to have many big decisions to make. The only person who will feel the consequences of those decisions is you. I would highly recommend doing all of the research you can to educate yourself. If you have to get surgery, get multiple opinions and understand the procedures. Make them define their definition of success, and get re-herniation rates.

    This is tuff. None of us have exactly what you have. We are all different. You need to make the best choice you can with the info you have. Having said that, I am 1 week out of surgery and haven’t taken a pain pill or muscle relaxer since surgery. I am walking with better form each day. My back feels great. I hope it continues. We will see.
  • I had a severe rupture l5-s1 and foot drop doc said on a scale of 1-5 my strength was a .5 not good at all but hey now im at a 4.5. There is hope mine came from surgery do to the fact it was such a large rupture and i still have tingling and may always have but i can deal with that. All get well
  • Thanks for the kind words and suggestions.

  • I am one year out from L5 S1 Herniated Disk. I scored a 3 out of 5 on the EMG test a year ago.
    Prior to surgery, I was unable to do any calf raises with my left foot.

    Today, I have regained almost all the strength back in my left leg, hamstring, calf, etc. I exercise and stretch every day, lift upper body weights 3 times a week, walk a ton and bike too.

    I am playing golf again. I played back to back days a two weeks ago, 18 holes, followed by 36 holes. My back felt great.

    Be patient. You will regain your strength back.

    I still have some mild numbness of the outside of my foot. I can live with it.
  • I had foot numbness and weakness before my surgeries. The foot numbness went away pretty quickly (only had the symptoms for couple of weeks prior to surgery). The leg weakness took about three months.

    I still have burning sensation at night.
  • A month and a half ago I injured my lower back helping my wife move some concrete planters. I started having pain in my lower back with leg pain/numbness. The doctor had me have an MRI which came back "normal". After 45 days of being on pain meds (hydro, oxy) and muscle relaxers and going to a chiropractor 10 times, I am still suffering from the same pain and numbness if I exert myself at all. I'm frustrated, scared to go back to the doctor and ask for more pain meds even though I am still having symptoms, and about at wits end. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks
  • Have you tried physical therapy to strength your core muscles? Physical therapy has been very effective for me.
  • I am scheduled for that next week. Also saw my MD yesterday and am scheduled with a specialist in August. This is just the freakiest thing I've ever dealt with. I'll keep you posted. Thanks
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