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exercises for someone with damaged sciatic nerve

Hi everyone. A quick summary of my story: I had microdiscectomy surgery in July. It went well and a few weeks after the surgery the leg and back pain were completely gone. However, I still have numbness and tingling in my foot and leg, and calf weakness (right side). It's the weakness that bothers me the most, because I am unable to exercise like I would want to. I am physically incapable of running, for instance, because my calf just doesn't get the message to flex properly. I used to run on a treadmill for my cardio. I'm looking for an alternative to that. I'm thinking maybe an eliptical machine. Does anyone have a similar experience and can give me advice?


  • Wolf,

    I also have calf weakness, right side. You are one of the only people I have run into on the internet that has a right calf weakness, much of the time it's people who have left calf weakness. Can you flex your calf? like make it hard? How about your big toe, can you raise it? For me I can flex my calf but it has no strength, also I have no big toe strength and cannot raise it. I also have minor atrophy in my right butt cheek, I can barely flex it all. I cannot walk on my toes either. To answer your question, eliptical works, also bike and if your back is healthy enough you can swim. I warm up for 15 minutes on the eliptical every day, 11 minutes forward and 4 minutes backward. Also, I swam 500m today but that was too much I am in pain like hell right now. Gonna take it easy with the heat pack the rest of the night. Are you seeing a neurosurgeon anytime soon? I'm on the waitlist. Good luck and your not the only one with the calf weakness, I would much rather have the pain then have the weakness.
  • Hi Joe

    Thanks for the response. I can sort of flex my calf. When I try my hardest to flex the entire calf, the "outside" half flexes pretty well, but the "inside" half stays soft. I can raise my big toe, but I can't walk on my toes. My right calf just can't lift my body weight. It's not completely useless. For instance, I can sit, put a 50lb dumbell on my knee, and raise it up with my calf. Walking is also not a problem, even fast walking.

    I don't intend to see a neurosurgeon. I had a number of followups with the neurosurgeon who performed the surgery, and from what he says, there is nothing more that can be done. The nerve either heals itself or it doesn't. In my case, it hasn't, and enough time has gone by to expect it never will. But why do you ask? Is there something I'm missing?

    Good to hear about the eliptical; I will have so start shopping for one I think. Sorry to hear about the pain. Hang in there.
  • No man your not missing anything, I forgot you were post op. Eliptical is pretty good and so is swimming and biking you will be fine doing any excersise you can do without pain. Did you have the weakness before the surgery? I'm sitting with the opposite, my calf flexes, the inside but not the outside. weird! I'm also playing this waiting game with the military, I have to sit and wait for approval just to schedule an appointment so after 2 weeks of waiting for a authorization, Ill get to schedule an appointment and wait another 2 weeks just to get a consult. I'm getting kinda worried about my calf. hope all heals up good!
  • So you're active duty? Thanks for your service. I was in the Navy from 85 to 91. Are you able to do what you need to do even with your weakness?
  • joe_pilot148joe_pilot148 Posts: 26
    edited 04/18/2013 - 6:20 PM
    Yeah I'm active, no I can't run and I'm on profile. Luckily, I have flexible command I'm aiming for a recovery by sep 30 so I can get into a course I need to do. I need to be able and run 4 miles and ruck about 10. I gotta do this! How's your PT coming along?
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