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Numbness in feet.. And knee pain!

coyotewildwomanccoyotewildwoman Posts: 130
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:02 AM in Chronic Pain
I had a mini disc/laminectomy about 4 months ago when I herniated another disc under my spinal fusion. I still have numb feet, particularly after a long day. I also have lots of pain in my knees. My foot drop is gone, thank goodness but I am wondering if something is wrong with my fusion..

I don't want more surgeries, I don't think I can take another one physically and I just seem to hurt more after them, but the numbness worries me as it is new as of my last injury.

Anyone else experience this numbness and or uncomfortable vise like knee pain?

I am going in to my surgeon in Colorado who did the spinal fusion but I have a hunch, like most surgeons, he is going to suggest another surgery.. Argh!



  • I have knee pain and a lot of numbness below the knee. It doesn't extend into my foot though. The pain feels like something aching under my knee cap, but it comes and goes as the nerve pain does. The numbness appears to be permanent. It's not from surgery, just from my first real bad bout with nerve pain due to DDD. I suspect that in my case it's due to nerve damage.

    In Colorado too, and I'm going to try desperately to avoid any surgery. It seems like it's real hit and miss as to whether it works, and some people say that it makes them worse.
  • Dear Ginger:

    I suggest you go to a neuro surgeon and a orthopedic surgeon to get an opinion. you have to have and MRI first.

    I have canal stenosis and disk bulging and also spondylolisthesis ( vertebrae displacemnt) and a surgery is a most to me.

    Of course I do not know your condition but I think medical assistance early is imp.
    You can email me if you want more input
    My email is atorres@sjspr.com

  • I don't think any nerve damage have occurred due to laminectomy. The numbness and pain may have been by another cause. I would suggest consulting your physician for a definite diagnosis.
  • I had surgery at T-7-8 level on May 24, 12. I have been experiencing nerve pain and numbness and tingling in both arms and hands which I did not have before surgery. I also have been experiencing severe pain in right knee that comes and goes. I spoke with my surgeon and he said that it could very well be nerve pain or damage from surgeryI had knee surgery in 2003 and i would occasionally swell and hurt but nothing like this. I thought I had a blood clot but none of other symptoms of one. This pain is different and can be excrutiating. I am now taking Gabapentin but so far don't see much improvement:( I know it can be depressing but hang in there. I have had 4 back sugeries and realize that I will probably have to have more in the future so I just take one day at a time...
  • Hi Wendy,

    I am wondering if the numbness you are experiencing is due to a pinched nerve caused by your disc herniation? Not sure how the knee pain fits into that, though. Best of luck with your diagnosis!
  • Update on my medical situation.

    I have an ANS neurostimulator and it appears a set of leads is defective, or broken. At any rate, half of my leads aren't working so if I want to get full benefit from the neurostimulator, I need to go back and have surgery to replace them. What a drag! I am seeing a new neurosurgeon at Duke in North Carolina. I am having increased leg numbness and he says, as have all the doctors, that they don't if or when it will go away.

    I am scheduled to have a CAT scan with contrast, no MRIs for me, now.. with the metal in my back to access what is going on. Given how it feels, I think I have blown out another disc. If I am going to need surgery to replace my leads, I am also considering having surgery, laminectomy and disketomy to give me some pain relief.

    My knees are the most painful part, they make it difficult to walk, it is so painful and my SI joint just really aches. I am on methadone now, but it does not seem to touch my knee pain.

    I am scheduled to have my new pain management doctor do the SI joint test in August. It is incredibly challenging to get seen by the Duke University Medical system, just FYI, so start early! I am not the only one who has had this happen.. I am trying to get an appointment sooner if someone cancels.

    Any thoughts from the forum members on how they would proceed. It seems like my previous surgeries have not done much but I am worried about permanent nerve damage from constant compression from the disc material.. How long does it take for the disc material to be absorbed by the human body????

    Lots of painful leg spasms, and the numbness in both feet that is more irritating than painful.

    Thanks for the support,

  • Just FYI but you should ask about the MRI....In most all cases it is completely safe to have an MRI with titanium or other types of metal used in Orthopedic surgeries as we have had..

    I've had 3 cervical fusions and have a lot of metal in my neck and have MRIs...

    About your question on "How long does it take for the body to absorb the disc material"...I'm not sure I understand...The disc itself does not disappear, it gets squished out of the space inbetween the vertebrae and pushes into the spine and/or nerves..

    After a fusion and discectomy...when bone (autograft=own bone or allograft=donor bone) is used in place of the removed disc.....this can possible get resorbed into the body...But that is because the bone basically disengrates...Just like those who Osteoporosis....Where their bones are brittle because of thinning or loss of density....In a discectomy...this is pretty rare but happened to me after my first surgery a few years later.

    Many disc herniations get resolved on their own as millions of people, especially over the age of 30, have spine/disc issues but have absolutely no pain or minimum pain and never even see a Dr...

    And then there are those like us who have continual problems with our spines and have excruciating pain....But it's all relative and not really based on an MRI reading...

    For me...the only reason I had the surgeries were due to loss of feeling and possible permanent nerve damage as fusions are not meant to be done to take the pain away.

    Hopefully you will get a lot more answers when you see the specialist at Duke...

    I'm sorry that you are having so many issues...especially with the neurostimulator..Are you also on nerve pain medication? Like Lyrica, Cymbalta, or Neurontin? How about a muscle relaxer? Opiates are used for making you not care as much about the pain and certainly are used in conjunction with other treatments and medication...But curious if they are prescribing any other medications to help with the other pain...

    I hope there is a cancellation and you can get in sooner!...Keep us posted!

  • kev_bkkev_b Posts: 22
    edited 07/05/2012 - 9:47 AM
    I have the numbness myself, the knee pain is new for me as well but I think the cause is the way I've been walking. I had a laminectomy 2004 but never had numbness then just pain in every part of both legs at different times, nothing was consistent, I was great after my first surgery and I did heavy duty kind of work then and after then, I got injured again in 2008 and now have 3 torn and leaking disc along with a few other things going on.
    My current injury I only had pain in my lower back and left hip but as time went on other symptom started to happen, first the numbness then drop foot and now weak wobbly legs and also possibly cauda equine syndrome, 2 Falls causing 2 other injuries on one elbow and one shoulder, I am just worried some of my symptoms will become permanent if I don’t get surgery approved soon. If I had a choice of pain or the numbness after surgery I choose the pain as it’s easier for me to manage than the numbness, I just want to walk for more than 15 minutes before the legs go all numb.

  • Wendy has a stimulator. You can not have an MRI once a stimulator is implanted. The risk of the leads heating up from the MRI can cause irreparable damage to the spinal cord.

  • I misread it the way she said "because of the metal in my back"...I was thinking due to the fusion....

    So just wanted to make sure people know that it's ok with that type of metal...but it makes sense not having it with the stimulator....Thanks for letting me know:)
  • Hi Coyotewildwoman, can't exactly say that I have walked the path and feel the pain but I must say that you should never give up. I think laser therapy can help you immensely. I have read a number of articles on laser for pain relief and the like and think that this is the perfect solution for you. And most of all it doesn't require any surgeries.
  • Can you say more about the laser treatments? I have done some reading on them, and am willing to give them a try if they are legit. I will certainly opt for the least invasive procedure possible.

    Any feedback from anyone on the forum who has used laser or other alternative treatments? I am open to all options as an informed skeptic!

    I am on cymbalta, which helps but plan to ask about lyrica as I have fibromyalgia and I know many people get help from it.

    am very frustrated in requiring my leads replaced after less than 2 years of use. I really don't like taking on the additional pain, and risks of surgery but have no option if I want the neurostimulator to function. BTW, anyone with a stimulator cannot have an MRI, because of the leads and actual device will not only heat up but may tear out of the skin. Pretty gruesome to imagine!
  • As far as I know it is a non-invasive method, with no anesthesia, no cut or scar and does not require hospital stay at all. It mainly functions by improving the nerve function, one simply feels a mild warmth where the laser beams are applied as the cells respond to it.
  • ever since my ALIF {29 dec 2011] i have had problems with my feet ..they have been swollen and at one point they had no feeling in them [that's returned now but its not right ] my toes hurt and cramp up .and i have numbness in parts of my legs i too feel that there is something wrong with my fusion .i see the consultant this tue 17/july 2012 ..so i will find out ..good or bad .i hope you get sorted
    tony x
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
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