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Foot Drop

Hello All;

Was wondering if anyone has experienced "Foot Drop," particularly as a result of a disc fragment. I'm five days out from an L-5 / S-1 Microdiscectomy which not only manifested itself with pain but foot drop and a bit of numbness in the right big toe area. Since the surgery most of the pain is gone but the foot drop and weakness in that area is still there, maybe a BIT better but still there.

I'd be interested in any information and experience that anyone might have relative to degree of recovery, time involved, therapies etc.



  • Keep in mind that you are still very new out of surgery, and you have lots of healing to do. You still have time for the foot drop to heal. Will it go away, well only time will tell, as it depends on if the nerves are damaged or the compression of them did it. I have seen many recover from it, but the nerves will take the longest time to recover. Your incision will be healed and you may still have it, as the nerves just take longer to heal. I would suspect that you will still be recovering up till a year or so. Not that you will be off work that long, but your body is still in the process of healing, even though you don't really realize it. Some physical therapy may help make the leg stronger, but you will have to wait till your surgeons go ahead on that. In the meantime, you can begin walking. Find a walking program on the net such as 10,000 steps, so you have goal that you can measure and watch your success. Pedometers are a great thing to have, as your walking should be outside of your normal daily routine. The walking will keep your core body strength up, which will help with your overall recovery. Keep in mind that once you are released from the surgeon you will still need to maintain a daily exercise program be it walking, stretching or if yo go to the gym. You don't want to find yourself back in this situation once you recover, so be mindful of what you are doing.
  • I developed foot drop last summer after some extensive spinal fusion revisions. I began physical therapy a week later at an inpatient rehab facility. Spent lots of time working on getting the foot drop gone. I had to wear a "blue rocker" brace, it was annoying. I was able to walk without the brace after a few months.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I'm now ten days out of surgery and it's been interesting. First few days were fine, then things seemed to slip back to preop levels, now slowly improving. Feeling on bottom of right foot / big toe seems to be coming back and there MIGHT be some small improvement in foot drop. Seven day follow up was disappointing. Nurse / Practitioner seemed to want to be somewhere else. Checked incision which is fine. I can walk or stationary bike and I can drive. Whoopee!! I want to swim or at least water walk. Everything tells me that incision closes water tight after 48 hours. Also won't let me ride lawn tractor. This is not going to go on. My research shows that it takes MONTHS not weeks for any real spinal healing with regard to the gap created by removal of the protrusion. Right leg is weaker then it was but maybe because I'm using it properly instead of compensating as I did preop. We'll see. Pain level is lower but now reminds me of a pulled muscle ot tendon rather that the stabbing ache it was.
  • is totally dependant upon how much damage is done to the nerve, and where the damage is located. If the nerve was crushed, or impinged for a period of time, it can take some months before you see improvement. I assume that you had a partial foot drop and not a complete one. If it is partial, the chances of recovery are better but still can take some months to see improvement.
    I just want to caution you not to push too soon post op, otherwise, you risk reinjuring yourself , or worse yet creating new damage in the areas. You have to listen to the instructions and cautions that your surgeon gives you. Riding a lawn mower can wait until your back and the disc is strong enough to handle that constant jostling.
  • Hi
    Having surgery in a few weeks, stenosis and foot drop that is getting worse
    Contact me anytime if you want to share notes
    God bless
    Stenosis Rose
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