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Shin pain with a L4/L5 herniation

AWhelan65AAWhelan65 Posts: 6

I have been diagnosed with an med to large L4/L5 herniation. I had a microD at this level in 2002 and had zero problems with it since. I have had this most recent injury for 2 or 3 months now. I have had sciatica and have tried an epidural and a nerve block with less than stellar results.

I have been doing spinal decompression and Physio for this. I have gotten somewhat better and only feel pain in the butt and groin. However, the biggest problem is walking. I cannot walk for over 100 yards without my shin just killing me.

The chiro is saying that part of the problem is that the shin / calf muscles have locked up due to the 3 months of compensating for the herniation (antalgic to the left). Ic an walk around the house with no problems, but continual walking leaves me a wreck.

I am trying to figure out if my problem is nervous or muscular. I would hate to have a second microD if the problem turned out to be a shin muscle problem instead of being caused by the pinched nerve.

I do not have sciatica in my hamstring, just the shin.

1. Has anyone else had shin problems associated with a L5 herniation?

2. Should I expect that the pain should be continuous from the butt to the shin or can the pain be isolated to non-contiguous points of the nerve.

Thanks. Any responses will help me as I really dont want to have the second microD but also need to be able to walk around the block without getting levelled by shin pain.


  • if you want my opinion i'm sorry to say that it sounds like nerve root compression. you dont necessarily get pain down the whole leg. i've had many a day when its mainly the shin that hurts. if it was muscular i would think longer walks would loosen it up. hopefully conservative treatment will help.....pete
  • I had a L5-S1 herniation with the exiting descending nerve in contact with disc material for 1-1/2yrs just recently had another MRI and the herniation has resolved. I had excruciating pain in my shin to the point I screamed during the EMG. Best to follow up with your Dr. and get an MRI to get a diagnosis. Lyrica and other meds helped as well as cymbalta and epidurals helped also but that's my experience. Only you're Dr. can really help you with their treatment. Check a dermatone chart to see the nerve pathways. 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

  • I'm with Pete & Charry on this one, it sounds like you may have an l4-l5, possibly l5-s1 nerve issue. Prior to surgery, outside of my shin could feel like it was on fire, have deep aching pain almost like it was the bone along w/ major numbness. I'd suggest you get in touch w/ the NS or OS that did your surgery and maybe consider putting additional chiro treatments on hold til you know what the problem is.
    Please let us know how it turned out.
  • I've had leg pain for nearly six years now. The problem is standing for any length of time. It feels like shin splints (more the left than the right). Often my legs just ache really bad. I've had lots of tests, but the latest MRI has shown a tear in the L4 and L5. I too have IBS, which I've concluded puts pressure on that nerve - making the situation worse. I've been given pain killers to take as needed. I think these help. However, I've also been told to back strengthening exercises. I've been bad at keeping up with the exercises, but I've kind of learned to deal with this discomfort over the years. Sometimes I feel like I need to sit down in the shower too, but mornings seem to be worse.
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