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Post Surgery Foot Numbness--What's the Cause?

mrredmmrred Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a L5-S1 microD on September 1 and had high expectations for a quick recovery. About a month ago, I started to have a numb feeling under the arch of my foot that is pretty much constant when I sit or stand. Physical therapy alleviates most of the discomfort for a couple of hours but then it comes back.

Is the numbness caused by inflammation, the nerve that is trying to heal, or something else? I can stand on my toes and my heels without any problems so my NS isn't too concerned about it but I would really like to know what's going on so I don't do anything to aggravate it.



  • Hmm, not sure - but I do think you are still really early in your recovery.

    I have had numbness too - but mine was a fast progressing spread within hours of surgery combined with a lot of bleeding (drainage from my tubes and a falling hematacrit (sp?)) The spread of the numbness stopped along with the excessive drainage after a second surgery. But - I am still left with that same feeling you describe - the numb under my foot (well and up the outside half of my leg too).

    I do think that the fact that you get relief at times is a positive sign. Makes it sound like it could be inflammation that as it recedes with therapy - you get relief. When it becomes inflamed again - you go numb.

    Do watch it for any changes though - larger area and not getting better.
  • Did you get relief and then the numbness returned?
    If yes, it could be inflammation from the surgery but I am not a doctor.

    Watch the pain/numbness and be honest with your doctor. By 6 weeks most people are feeling much beter. I was not. So at week 6, they put me on a steroid to see if it was the surgery inflammation causing my problems. That didn't work so at week 10, they sent me for an MRI to be sure I didn't reherniate.

    If you are concerned, don't write it off. Push your doctor. Most doctors won't do another MRI until post week 6 (which I think you are past) and generally prefer to wait until 3 months so the MRI is easier to read. They will do a with and without contrast to be able to see scar tissue separate from other issues.

    I'm not saying there is anything wrong but if you aren't feeling the way your doctor told you to expect by this time, push the issue. If you are numb where you weren't before the surgery, press for more information for peace of mind. Remember, doctors are not God, they are people and they work from experience, your feedback, and their education.

  • Thanks for the recommendation to push my NS. I see him in two weeks and I'm going to ask for an MRI since it will have been 3.5 months since surgery. It will give me piece of mind just to know what's going on back there. The numbness is worse when I sit and stand in one place. Occasionally the sole of my foot will go numb when I walk and that's when it gets uncomfortable.

    My PT exercises generally give me relief for a few hours but I did a lot of driving this weekend and probably didn't sleep on the most comfortable bed so whatever it is, I'm pretty sure I aggravated it some more over the holidays. Grrr.
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