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spinal fusion surgery recovery with foot drop and nerve pain



  • First off let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and read other forum post of those whom have recovered from the same surgery and see how their recovery went vs what you are going through. First let me give you a suggestion for forum writing, is don't use all caps as it is a sign of yelling. While I understand you might be frustrated with the pain, and all you are going through, all caps won't help. I am going to assume that you didn't even know that.

    AS far as your foot drop I am going to assume you didn't have this going into surgery? If you didn't have it going into surgery and you developed it as a result of surgery, just a wild guess, it is in your back, not your leg. Have you gone for another opinion? Did the same surgeon whom operated on your back also operate on your leg? If so I would go for another opinion with a surgeon whom only operates on the spine. I am not sure of your fusion progress, and how it is going, but I assume they put rods in? Is it possible one of the rods is on a nerve. Now if the surgeon damaged a nerve during surgery, well it will be permanent. When nerves become damaged, they are damaged, there is no repairing them. But if I was in your position, I would be getting someone else to take a look, in case something could be now. The longer a nerve is compressed the more chance you have for damage to it. Some nerves do heal, over time, but given this came as a result of surgery, I think it is your back, but I am not a doctor. We had a member whom did develop foot drop following surgery and then ended up operating on her back again, and it was resolved. She did have to do some intense therapy following it, but she recovered just fine and is out living a normal everyday busy life, which is why you can't contact her as she doesn't come on the site any longer.

    My best advise it is to go get several opinions and see what is going on. There are also surgeons whom deal specifically with operating on issues dealing with nerves. You will have to do some homework, to find them. You might try calling the surgical floor of your a larger hospital and ask one of the nurses if they needed surgery whom would they see. While I am not saying your surgeon did anything wrong, I am just saying sometimes a fresh set of eyes yields a different opinion of what is going on and may yield some options for you. Be sure to do the exercises religiously they are telling you to do. I had family member with foot drop and needed a brace and they to did recovery with lots of therapy.
  • i am the fusion guy, 4 of them but in all seriousness, t have had nothing but problems after my last fusion and i also had side effects after the other ones also. it is major surgery and to expect to come out hail and hearty is not what happens. when you have nerves involved the surgeon has to be careful but even then there are problems. first of all it takes about a year to recover. i could not lift over 5 lbs for a year, or stand or bend over. i had a brace i had to wear for 6 months. remember when they fuse your spine, they take bone, make a paste with it and apply it over the screws rods and cones or whatever they call this stuff. it takes about a year for the bone graph to harder and if you are not careful you can break the screws. i had to wait 2 years for the hardware to be removed. you need to wear that brace all of the time. and going to the bathroom, they gave mea clip that one used for a barbecue to wipe so i would not bend. use something like that. also i used a walker for 6 months. remember the old axiom, 1/3 gets better, 1/3 stays the same and 1/3 gets worse with fusions. see your surgeon on a regular basis and i am still not clear why he yelled at you. if he did yell, maybe he was angry at you for not following the directions given to you post op. i also had to attend a class that was given by the hospital before i had my fusion to explain a lot of this stuff, once a week for a month. good luck
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Jaclee46JJaclee46 Posts: 28
    edited 12/10/2013 - 3:03 AM
    In response to the #1 reply, thanks for telling me about all caps. I had 2 surgeons due my fusion procedure first the Neurosurgeon did a laminectomy , then the Orthopedic Dr. did the fusion procedure. So the leg surgery was done by a Neurosurgeon who is supposed to be the Best in the state of Pa, He actually operated on President Reagan and is on call for the white house. I did think about a second opinion. I do see the Orthopedic Dr. 12/16 for my 6 month follow up.I did not have the foot issue before surgery so it was a complication from it. I have listened and have done everything that was told to me. I only have had 3 physical therapy appt. over the 6 months that was to treat the foot drop. I am a little scared about possibly something wrong with the actual fusion. I hope that in time things improve I can deal with the foot drop not the nerve pain. In response to the 2 reply, first of all I have listened and done everything both of my Dr. have told me, so that was just a little offensive for you to in ply that i didn't. I have just recently stopped using a walker and use 2 walking sticks or a cane which I was told to do by the Orthopedic Dr. I use the can in my home, the walking sticks out. As far as physical therapy I was told walking was my best thing to do, and I do the electric stim with instruction from PT with a machine the my health insurance purchased for home use along with still wearing back brace and bone stim. I was told at the visit with my Neurosurgeon 11/4 to keep doing what I am and increase my activity. I see the Orthopedic Dr. 12/16 so I will see what he says, he will he do Xrays at that time, in Sept at my 3 months check he said everything was fusing good at that point I see him every 3 months. The Neurosurgeon didn't want to see back until March of next year.
  • offensive
    i just asked you if you did it and did not imply anything. i just wanted to know why he yelled at you and i just gave a guess not a accusation. it is amazing of the people here that are offended by something that i did not say or imply. i wonder if some people are e-mailing people to say this stuff. this was happening lately and hopefully not again. why would a doctor yell at you? what would be his reasons for doing this? asking this is offensive? i don't think so and if you are maybe you should read the rules about posting and how people can post. apparently you did not read it because it says that people can ask questions and that this is not all hugs and kisses site. we have the right to question without being accussed of being offensive.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • are not uncommon after surgery, in fact, they are often the most frequent complaint, next to nerve related pain.
    There are many different muscle relaxers that your surgeon can use or try you on to see which one or combination of them works best for you.
    I am not sure why the surgeon yelled either, since that seems to be a rather uncommon stance for a doctor to take.
    There is no correlation between your low back and the arm and hand pain since the nerves in the lumbar spine have nothing to do with the cervical area of the spine, which is what would cause problems in your arms and hands if there was a cervical spine issue.
    The arm and hand problems may be caused by the use of the crutches and canes, however, since you may be causing problems to the ulnar nerves or carpal tunnel.
    Do you also lean on your forearms , when sitting or standing, with your wrist/hands flexed? If so, that might be worth looking into.
    Terror is correct, that along with physical therapy, which should be a mandatory therapy after surgery, ( I went three times a week for months ), walking, and increasing the time and distance is vitally important to keeping your muscles stronger, and your endurance up. Sitting or laying down constantly is the worst thing you can do to yourself post surgery, since it causes the muscles to contract constantly and also fatigues them faster from the inactivity.
  • In reply to #5 I didn't mean to make it sound nasty but, sometimes Dr.'s are cranky and do yell when you did nothing wrong, it does happen, I apologize to you. In reply to #6 I some Dr. do a more therapy but mine I guess just was implying to do the walking in which I have increased my time all along and I also forgot to mention the PT gave me exercises to do for strengthening my upper thighs and hip flexers as well, I did forget to mention I had a multi-level fusion so they did L5- S1 and L4, Dr. told me there would be a risk of it putting pressure of next set above and eventually require more surgery, I have Degenerative disc and joint disease of the spine & mild case of Scoliosis. I was to have 2 cages put in along with th rods and screws but the approach they did they were unable to access the very bottom of my spine because my anatomy was to small, I was alreay in surgery 8 hours, so they decided to leave it and if for any reason if the last set of screws slips or if a rods does I would need the other cage, where they would access it through the front.. I alreay had both hands done for carpel tunnel so I know it's not that, my family Dr. is hoping the hardware is not pressing on nerves, I took my son to PT today for his shoulder he had surgery, anyway it was a different place so he was asking me questions while my son was having his ice on, he gave his opinion on he didn't understand why the Dr. did surgery on the leg, if the foot drop was a result of the surgery which it is, he said then the problem would be from my back. He told me to discuss it with my Orthopedic Dr. at my appointment Monday. I am hoping that the muscle spasms would be a good thing in the the nerves are coming back. Thanks for all the advice and again I apologize.
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 12/12/2013 - 2:21 PM
    I developed foot drop after surgery. I had to wear a "blue rocker", I imagine you know all about that and progressed from wheel chair, walker, cane to nothing:) Took awhile and tons of physical therapy both at a PT place and at home. Good luck, hope yours ends soon.
    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.
  • Good Morning,
    I can certainly understand what you are going through. I have had 4 surgeries now on L5S1 since October 2010. My first fusion was 7/2/2010. I had extreme nerve pain in my right leg/foot since waking up from that surgery. I tried many medications to try and help the pain I was having. Lyrica was finally the wonder drug for me. I'm not sure if you have tried that one yet. It is expensive and there is no generic as of yet, so it sometimes takes a bit of pushing to get it approved. My only side effect was significant weight gain, but I wouldn't take going back to the horrific pain I had! Unfortunately, I have now had a second fusion, anterior/posterior this time. Huge recovery time....and I'm no better now than I was before. My surgeon did warn me of this happening, but I was so miserable that anything seemed better than what I was going through. If I could go back, I would have never had either fusion. They just didn't work for me and now I have severe nerve damage to boot! I hope your doctor is right and your nerve pain/damage is not permanent. Good Luck with your recovery!
    Autumn L. Collette
  • Jaclee46JJaclee46 Posts: 28
    edited 12/19/2013 - 2:12 AM
    Good everyone, on Monday I had my month follow up with the Orthopedic surgeon. My husband, myself & the Dr. had a long
    talk after I explained the muscle spasms, Surprisingly over the weekend prior to this appointment one night while in bed and I couldn't sleep I was doing exercises for the foot drop and I was able to move it slightly, so the next morning I showed my husband who confirmed he seen it as well, I kept on doing this numerous times of the day until the appointment, the Dr. was very happy and said it confirmed what they believed that the peroneal nerve in my leg was pinched, he explain I had alot of work done at the surgery and things get disrupted. My Xrays showed the fusion is showing great bone growth, he took me out of the foot brace, back brace, and bone stimulator. I asked If I could try and return to work, he wanted to talk first about putting me on Paxil, he explained he didn't feel I was depressed but that my life had been taken from me and going back to work will give new stresses plus just trying to have a normal life again and that also it has been proven to help with nerve pain, I am going to continue to ween off teh gabapentin very slowly until I get down to just giving at bedtime, he also wanted me to understand that the nerve in my left leg still has alot of regenerating to do and it will probably take the 18 months he originally thought, he does think I will regain full function. I am returning to work to see if I can do it, I work for a fast pace Veterinary Hospital in reception and I also am the adoption coordinator, he did stress I would have restrictions for the next 6 months and told my husband if he see me regressing back at all, or in more pain to call him, he will pull me right back off work. I was uncertain about adding the Paxil he explained like this, 3 months ago when he seen me he was very concerned, and at this visit he said he wondered if he had the same patient, he was proud of me for trying so hard he said you were at the bottom of the hill you now are trying to approach the top, I want to help you got over and continue down the other side. I have been feeling better and hope this, means the light is at the end of the tunnel. The only thing is my Xrays showed the next section of my spine above where the work was done, I will eventually need fused as well, it to is bad and a multi level fusion adds additional stress, I told him it will be a VERY, VERY long time in the future. :)
  • and the end result will vary from person to person and the state of health/age and if it was virgin surgery or not .so a 20 year old slim fit non smoker will in theory have a better outcome than a 50 year old 40 a day over weight that's has 4 previous surgeries !.most of us on here have had many surgeries and many of us are on high amounts of narcotics .what some people don't realize that a fusion is done to stabilise the spine and not for pain relief ..if there is any pain relief then that's a bonus .and many fusion especially ALIF tends to cause other problems like bowel and bladder and legs problems . since my ALIF my legs and feet have been awful and next year I am going for another MRI as the consultant things I may have adjacent disk failure ..and spinal surgery is major and not without significant risk and should only be done when all else fails .in my case I have reached the end of the treatment line and the only thing left are pain killers .my consultant did mention that I may need more surgery if there is any central disk protrusion ..all I know is since I started with a bad back my health has gone from bad to worse and with every operation more problems have cropped up ..the last operation was the worst and has left me with intractable pain and other health issues .the hardest part of dealing and accepting that life will be like this for a long time and will only get worse ..and that takes some getting used to .just make the most of every day and if that means doing nothing but staying in a comfy chair then that's what you do ..on the other hand if you feel well enough to do something more engeretic then do it !!
    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
  • Happy New Year everyone, I put 1 full week in work and in my second, everything going wonderful, I think maybe I needed to get back into my normal life, still have pain but at work I don't think about it, I don't feel any more pain when I get home so I think it was the right decision. I am feeling more like myself, I have had 2 back surgeries now and I know I have another fusion in my future the next section up is already showing stress, I will have to be crawling on my knees and in unbearable pain before I do it, the Dr. told me I would limited permanently for sure after that one and not be able to work, I feel I am on the right path for me now and taking one day at a time. Good luck to everyone I will be in touch.
  • Hi Everyone, it's been a while since I was here. I did go back to work 12/30/13, first week just 3 days, 2nd week they were short handed ended up doing 43 hrs, bad, bad idea. I was so fatigued and tired, I now am back to limping badly and the pain in both legs is horrible. I went to family Dr. she ran blood work all is well, she is weening me off the paxil and wrote an excuse to only allow me to do 20- 25 hrs a week until further notice, and I am calling ortho surgeon tomorrow I can feel myself regressing a little and I am wondering if I returned to work to soon. I appealed the disability and am awaiting a hearing my lawyer said I can earn so much and still be eligible, I just need to financially help out my family, however I am starting to
    think it was a mistake, my left foot with the foot drop hurts worse now and I have the slapping gait again, and my right leg and knee in which they don't know what's wrong hurts worse as well it swells and I have lost sensation from the knee down. I am so frustrated and just don't know which way to turn, any one have advice for me?
  • Jaclee46JJaclee46 Posts: 28
    edited 04/22/2014 - 9:48 AM
    Hi I haven't been on for awhile. I am still dealing with foot drop no real improvement I can lift my big toe al ittle, just had another
    EMG done on my leg, it showed a great improvement, showed the nerves are transmitting just not communicating with my muscles yet, the neurologist said it could take a total of 2 yrs it has been 10 months since the spinal fusion and 7 months since the decompression exploratory on my leg to entrap the nerves that were pinched, he also said no guarantee to make a full recoverey but he is hopeful, is there anyone else out there dealing with this? the pain is awful?
  • I to suffered Foot Drop after my surgery in 2005 i had 4/5 Discectomy but with complication suffered nerve damage and then foot droop.Sadly i havent fully recovered from the foot drop I can move my big toe but thats it The rest of my toes stay stil.I just had a few sesions of pysio told to wore a brace and thats it,I have numbness just beow the knee on the outside. I struggle every day .My legs aways fell weak i had another surgery on my back in 07.Stil having problems now.I was told by my surgeon that nerves do grow back but very slowly and surgery for my foot drop could make it worse,so i left it,Take care an look after yoursef .x
    Jaclee46 said:
    Hi I haven't been on for awhile. I am still dealing with foot drop no real improvement I can lift my big toe al ittle, just had another
    EMG done on my leg, it showed a great improvement, showed the nerves are transmitting just not communicating with my muscles yet, the neurologist said it could take a total of 2 yrs it has been 10 months since the spinal fusion and 7 months since the decompression exploratory on my leg to entrap the nerves that were pinched, he also said no guarantee to make a full recoverey but he is hopeful, is there anyone else out there dealing with this? the pain is awful?
  • Hi Jenny 40, I am so sorry to hear you haven't recovered, my PT told me this will probably be permanent but the Dr.'s don not agree, I am 46 and healthy beside this issue and my back, I wear and AFO brace even after having the foot drop surgery and can only lift my big toe, I use a tens machine and walk every day 2 times I try to go between 3 and 4 miles but my leg will only
    stand some much, I still remain positive but it gets harder day by day. What do you take for pain control? I use Gabapentin 300 mg totaling 1500 mg daily weaned myself down from 2700 a day so I could function a little more but now the pain level is higher. Good luck
  • Hi Jenny and Jaclee. I live in NZ and am nearly 6 yrs (Nov) post-op from an L5-S1 spinal fusion. Like the both of you I also suffered a nerve injury with associated foot drop. There is some confusion as to whether the nerve has been severed or severely injured as I too have no feeling down the outside of my left leg starting at the knee but I don't have any bladder/bowel problems. It took me 2 years to learn to walk again. I have huge problems with the constant rolling and spraining of my ankle as the normal "watch it, your about to roll your ankle" messages are not reaching my brain. Its frustrating and painful and the worst of it is I can no longer wear high heels!! (sigh) I have quite marked weakness in that leg with some muscle wastage in the calf. BUT.......I am proud of what i have achieved in the last 5 1/2 years. I have done things that my Surgeon said I would never do, Most people are unaware of my injury as I have worked hard to make sure my gait when walking is as normal as possible. I cant run but then I couldn't before the op either LOL :) As to medication...there are days when the pain is just awful and although my pain threshold is very high, I have become scared of pain. Initially, after the op I was on Gabapentin (Nuerontin), Tramadol and Amitriptyline and various other anti-inflammatorys . The Gabapentin was useless, the Tramadol made me feel totally wasted and ended up giving me a stomach ulcer (which meant more medication!) and the Gabapentin/Tramadol mix caused the relatively rare side effect of Myoclonic Jerks which is no fun! I had days where I just wished I had not woken up from the op (and I'm normally a very positive, glass half full kinda gal) I made the hugely scary decision to wean my self of the meds as I felt they were doing more harm than good. It took me 3 years and an op to remove my hardware. I researched natural remedies (hey I was desperate and no longer had anything to lose!!) This is what helped me the most. I started taking St Johns Wort - IN LIQUID FORM (this is most important!!) a month after my op on the advice of my Dad (a closet scientist) who had researched my injury and up popped an astonishing study on how St Johns Wort has been used to soothe, nourish and help repair nerve injuries. I was skeptical but decided "what the hell". I now firmly believe that this herb is part of the reason I have recovered to the degree I have although I am classed as having a permanent disability. I also used a variation of "People Paste" consisting of powdered ginger, manuka honey, slippery elm powder and cayenne pepper and eaten rather than applied to wounds. This worked effectively as a pain killer 90% of the time, much better than the Gabapentin, and had no side effects accept for a slight rise in body temp from the cayenne. I am not pro natural remedies and still remain fairly skeptical but I can only go by my experience that these things really did help me and continue to do so. I still resort to taking high doses of Ibuprofen when the pain is especially bad as I'm not a great believer in "toughing" it. I'm no martyr! I also have to wear a leg brace which in the summer just looks sweaty and stupid but its better than risking a fall or trip. My Physio sourced me a smaller more compact bandage brace with metal inserts hidden in the ankle area that is used specifically for net ballers who often suffer ankle injuries, its fantastic as it is much lighter to wear but has awesome support.....it may be worth investigating what is available in USA that is used by pro-athletes. Some sports teams over here willingly donate second-hand injury support devices to the general public - at no cost. Lastly, I feel for both of you. These types of injuries are unpleasant and frustrating, and are often made worse by well meaning friends/family who just don't understand that not only are you coping with pain that has no end in sight, but your whole world had been turned on its head....lost confidence, embarrassment, depression, anger, mourning the loss of your previous life, financial worries, not wanting to be viewed as a "cripple" but losing your independence. Its never ending isn't it? Celebrate small victories. Re-connect with a few good friends and have a "Pity Party"! I did and its the most fun Ive had since the op although having a sense of humor is a must for attendees. ;) I wish you both all the best. :)
  • Jaclee46JJaclee46 Posts: 28
    edited 04/27/2014 - 12:24 AM
    Hi Amanda, Thank You so much for all your advise, I am still very determined and hopeful. It is nice to hear that someone else understands the frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, etc, you do literally feel like your life has been turned upside down and the financial part is very hard. My Ortho Dr. wanted me to go on Paxil I was very reluctant but I tried it only 10mg I x daily, well I couldn't handle it, It made me feel very loopy. I would like to be off all the meds but the pain level in my legs is high. I do have a high tolerance for pain but this is more than I can handle. My right leg has been compensating for the left the one with the foot drop, I have been getting injections in it, none of them have worked when I go to see the Ortho Dr. in June if the last injection didn't help (it did'nt) he is having an MRI done to see what else is going on, he says it is osteoarthritis but it sometimes is more painful then my left. Please keep me informed if all your natural remedies are working I would be up to try anything at this point. Take care and Good luck to you :)
  • I had fusion 9/11/13. Was off all narcotics by 11/4/13.
    Was walking and recovering well. 5 weeks ago I started having very bad lower back muscle spasms. Pain and numbness in left leg. Severe left knee pain. Very difficult walking more than a few min. Im set up for an si injection in two weeks. Any input from those who have been here?
  • It has been almost 2 years since I had an L5 S1 Spinal Fusion to repair disk that was caused severe nerve damage in left leg and back pain. I was unable to flex my left foot upward and part of my leg always felt half numb. After the surgery, I regained the ability to flex my foot and the pain in my back subsided. They did tell me there was some permanent nerve damage but overall, it was a vast improvement. Now, two years later, I am pain in my back again (feels like someone poking me with hot needles next to my spine), I lost the ability to flex my foot upward (toes toward my body), every time i flex my foot down, I get instant charlie horses in my foot, and my leg throbs at night (only left leg and foot have these issues, same one as before). I have an appointment with my surgeon in two days but was curious to see if anyone has experienced a similar recurrence of the symptoms and did they have to go back in for another surgery? Thanks
  • kgbainkkgbain Posts: 1
    edited 07/15/2015 - 5:46 AM
    It will be 7 years tomorrow since I had L5 S1 fusion to relieve back pain. The surgery was successful as far as the fusion is concerned, I am fused. Not only did it not stop the back pain it caused other issues. 1) Left foot drops to the outside 2)Both feet numb 3)Both feet tingle intensely 4) Left leg numb on the back from butt down 4)Both ankles numb 5)Left leg aches 6) Did I mention back still hurts. The surgeon suggested the pain may be from the hardware (rods & screws) and said that removal of the hardware may relieve the pain. A snow ball will melt in H*** before I sign up for another surgery on my back. I have had all the tests and procedures that I think can possibly be done. Nearly died from a nerve block because I had to lay on my stomach. It has been 6 years since I laid on my stomach. The surgeon said it was Unfortunate what happened to me. He walked out the door and went to see another patient. I was still Unfortunate. I continued seeing his PA until a couple of months ago. They would no longer give me scrips for pain meds. I was passed off to a pain management MD. I should have gone to one years ago. At least now I am accountable for the meds. Surgery changed my life, and my family's life. I know a couple who had fusions, don't know exactly the details, from the same MD and they did great. I am still Unfortunate. Procedures haven't had positive results for me and I don't know how long the pain management MD will go before he wants to do a procedure. I am taking oxy 5-325 x 3/day. That is a relative small dose and it helps a little. I hope all back pain sufferers can find some relief. God Bless

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  • mmboutwestmmmboutwest Posts: 1
    edited 07/22/2015 - 10:41 PM
    This comment is aimed at "Offensive". I just had cervical fusion July 1st and have foot drop to lower right foot. Although unexpected, it isn't out of the ordinary. Surgery carries risks, and once your spinal cord is exposed, all kinds of things can go awry. I had my first fusion for L3-L4 in 2009, and recovered from that well. This was my second fusion, and the foot drop occurred exactly one week post operation. I am heading back into the O.R. for decompression of L5 and S1 next week. The only recourse the Neurosurgeon has is to go back in and decompress the entire nerve root base. Not sure if this helps, but it is what I am experiencing. You are not alone!

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  • fmouinyffmouiny Posts: 1
    edited 11/09/2015 - 9:55 PM
    hi everyone i had lumbar fusion about 7 months after 1 month of surgery i developped foot drop and nerve pain on both leg i am really scared i don't know what to do can you please advise me
    any help will be appreciate it

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  • Alan BoydAAlan Boyd Posts: 2
    edited 11/25/2015 - 1:10 PM
    I had a car accident in September 2014 that broke my back and hip and I had 4 surgery's back to back on my back,leg,ankle, and hip replacement and for over a year I've got no help with my Doctors and don't have any way to get the Dr. Cause my primary [edit] my ambulatory care away for me to see my other Doctors and get the treatment I need to get better,but I have a great nerve damage pain from my waist down to my feet and I can't walk around cause the pain is so embarable and I can't wiggle my toes or feel nothing but pain stinging like I'm walking on tacks. I've got to get the help that I need or if I don't have any way to get rid of this pain and being able to get to do some therapy so I can get better and take care of my daughters or I might just have to give up hope. I survived the worst part of the accident and I had to be airlifted to the hospital and was already dead at the scene and I can't believe how bad that I was treated by the doctors after the accident. I have been treated good at the hospital and the nursing home that i was in,but after I got out of the nursing home it's like the doctors gave up on me and I will be giving up on myself if I don't get the help I need to get better.
    Alan Boyd
  • GregHamiltonGregHamilton Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 2
    I haven't been very active on here, but reading some of these articles I see that I am not alone in my horror that I live since my back fusion surgery.
    In 2010 i was hurt at work from lifting a steel plate up to eye level and install it. It weighed approx 130 lbs. I felt something really painful in my back , I went and told the boss and continued on working through the rest of the week. On Saturday morning I could hardly get out of bed due to the pain in lower back and left leg, so I told the wife I was going to the Emrg at the hospital. They took an x-ray and told me I had a strain and gave me Percocet and a note for a week off work. Being the type of person I am, I new work was short handed and needed me there, and the job being done I was only 1 of 2 people that new how to do it. I told my boss about the note and Percocet and told him if he didnt mind me doing the percocet I would stay at work and finish the job. This was mid October 2010, and by 2nd week of November 2010 I was in so much pain in my lower back and left leg and walking with a very distinctive limp. Went and saw my family Dr and he pulled me out of work right away. I wont get involved in the story about what Workers Compensation Board did to me, thats a horror story all in its self . WCB surgeon said I had a Deep Muscle Sprain , and told me I would be better in 8 Weeks and had to go back to work. I was forced back to work, still in Great Amount of pain and a limp , and WCB closed my case. I lasted 1 1/2 months and then that was it, and havent been back to work since. (March  2011 to April 2016 ) I was put on Gabapentin and pretty well every pain pill you can think of from  Percocet to Fentanyl Patches, Butrans Patches, Oxyneo, Oxycodone, Tramadol , Morphine and I know there are some I missed like trying Lyrica also but had bad reaction to it. I started seeing a Chronic Pain Specialist in the hospital. It was great at first because he started giving me Epidural Cortisone Injections in 2 areas in my lower back, and at first it worked a bit, and I got a bit of relief from pain for approx 3 weeks, but the Dr was concerned about the length of time it was lasting, and I was only allowed shots every 3 mths. At this point it was decided that I had Severe Degenerative Disc Disease , pinched nerves in the L1-L2 area and also in the L5-S1 area. Still at this point surgery wasn't an option and the Pain Dr tried some other ways to help me. He used a procedure called Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) . This is when they use electricity and burn the nerve endings. This didnt work so he tried to just probe the areas with less heat to try and change the nerve pattern and block the pain, this didnt work. So he sent me to see a surgeon now. The pain is getting worse by the day. The surgeon said he would do a Micro Laminectomy at the L1-L2 . When he went in he was so surprised at how bad my spine was from Degeneration, it was really bad. After the surgery it seems that all the pain went into my right leg now, and my lower back even hurt more now. So  a year after he did the surgery , and looked closely at my case, he decided that I needed my whole Lumbar Fused to stop Mechanical Movement, because of the shape of my spine movement was causing the pain. So September 29 2014 here we go for a REAL LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE. After 16 1?2 hours on the operating table he fused 7 levels from the T10 to L5-S1 and put extra screws in my pelvic for support. He used a material called  "Peek" in the L5-S1 and used rods and screws for the rest of the spine. I now have about 85 % numbness in my left leg, feet hurt all the time, lower back hurts on the right side now, and my bowls do not work right now, I have leakage. I have seen him a few times since, I wore a TLSO brace for about 4 months, and a walker and cane. I cant walk right anymore, and still am doing about as much pain killers as before. It has been 2 years this september and I feel like I am in hell. Many times I have thought stupid thoughts just to end the misery, but I have a Beautiful Wife, and a Loving Son , and I put the 2 of them through that, it would be selfish.
    So I guess this is where my life ends now, and I just survive from day to day and its really hard to even do that. I go and talk to a Psychologist regularly just to unload on her, but dosent help the pain. I smoke Medical Marijuana to help me sleep every night, cause my back is so rigid now I can not get comfortable at all.
    There is still alot I have left out, but this is enough for you to get the jist of how I feel, and what a mistake I made having the surgery( thats how I feel ).  My surgeon was a Neurosurgeon and I thought he could fix me, I was wrong. Sorry for the length of this article I just needed to vent.


  • Feel your pain. I'm on my Fourth spine surgery. 2013 had an L2-L5 spinal fusion that was supposed to fix my pain,and bi lateral foot drop. 18 months later still had same foot drop and needed brace so I would not fall. Pain went away and I was able to wane off percocets, that was good. Walked with a cane and was exhausted after 5 minutes. Went to another spine surgeon. After 3 months of Testing he said my problem was a blockage at L 1 so he performed a laminectomy ( removal of vertebrae) but after 5 months I was even worse. A friend heard about this very successful spine surgeon at UM hospital. First appt took 2 months and again after many tests he decided I needed a reconstruction. Since I couldn't walk straight or even stand up without the use of a cane he decided to fuse from T9
    to S1 by attaching 3 rods each about 14 inches. Surgery was done using robotics. Took 7 hours. I was sent home and told to walk a little each day, so I did until two of the iliac screws broke and the pain was so severe I went in through ER. After the surgeon examined my situation he said he suggested a disc replacement at L5 . So this time I was opened from the front next to my belly for th disc replacement and then turned on my back to fix broken screws. 
    During the last operation I contracted a staph infection called Staphlylocuccus Epidermis which requires a nurse coming to my home twice a day for 6 weeks to put an I V with Vancomycin . I still have the same bilateral foot drop and after being home 4 weeks still feel weak. Dr. said not to walk until he sees me again August 22, 2016. I am a healthy 65 year old male that had never been in a hospital my entire life. The nerve pain is awful on my left foot and I am now on 3200 mg of Gabapentin. All I can say is there are others far worse. Hang in there and pray a lot. Just think of that song from Annie, the sun will come out tomorrow. I always do. Hang in there
    oscar g
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    Hello oscar gomez !
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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