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new user with confusing first time sciatica symptoms - help

Hello all,
I'm a 28 year old man with no history of back issues. Up until recently I regularly worked out and tried to keep my 6'1 205 lb frame healthy.

That all changed about six weeks ago when I was rushing to drag some heavy items out by the trash before the truck came. I set down a box and immediately felt like someone had shot me in the right buttock. It was agonizing and I could barely drag myself back inside.

The pain continued until the next day when I had my girlfriend drive me to the doctor. He said I had acute sciatica. At this point the pain was from my right buttock down to my right calf and right foot. I could also feel my right buttock spasming uncontrollably. He gave me gabapentin, baclofen, a prednisone pack, and nsaid pain relievers.

The pain didn't subside at all for nearly a week. Finally it started getting better and I was able to return to work. My foot, however, continued to have a searing burning pain on the top and was painful to walk on, especially wearing my work boots.

It has been 6 weeks now and this pain in my foot still remains. It feels like I have third degree burns all over the top of my foot. It's keeping me from exercising and sleeping through the night.

I have returned to the doctor this week and he gave me another prednisone pack and ordered an xray, which I had done. I've also continued to stretch and flex my legs and foot, though this has been extremely painful.

Has anyone else had sciatica symptoms isolated to one foot? He at first thought I had piriformis syndrome but this seems to be a bit long for an injury like that. I feel like my only other options are steroid injections, and I've heard horror stories about those.

Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated.



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I've never had it single out to just one foot. One leg? yes, but not the foot. Have you asked to get an MRI? That is the best way to really see what's going on besides getting an xray. Perhaps looking into seeing a specialist would be a good next move if the pain is not subsiding with medication and stretching.
    36 yr old with one degenerative disc (L5-S1)
    3 rounds of Epidurals in 2013
    6 PT visits in 2013
    Microdiscectomy L5 S1 on 9/5/2013.
    Re-herniated in January 2014.
    Epidural on 3/3/14.
    A/PLIF (L5-S1) 6/3/14
  • dmo177ddmo177 Posts: 5
    edited 01/25/2014 - 9:26 AM
    Yes it is just the one foot. My right foot specifically. Apparently my insurance requires the cheaper xray to be done before an mri can be ordered. It slowly got better then got way worse again after I tried to walk around for a few hours last weekend.
  • I have sciatica in my left ankle and foot the majority of the time. Sometimes it is my whole leg. It just depends on what area is pinched. You can only tell where a pinched nerve is with a MRI scan.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • Sciatica is usually self limiting in most cases and many of us will experience it over our lifetimes. It can disappear just as quickly as it came about and the best way to treat it is to rest, use ice and heat, and continue to move around.
    The burning pain you are describing could indicate that that the nerve is seriously inflammed, or could just be part and parcel of a flare of sciatica and may disappear just as quickly as it arrived.
    I am including a link to a thread about getting back pain treated so that you can become aware of the steps to getting treatment......they start with the least invasive options first, and then progress if the situation is not improving over time.
    It can be difficult because sciatica can take some weeks to relent.....
  • Maybe looking into a specialist would help get you to an MRI and some potential relief
    36 yr old with one degenerative disc (L5-S1)
    3 rounds of Epidurals in 2013
    6 PT visits in 2013
    Microdiscectomy L5 S1 on 9/5/2013.
    Re-herniated in January 2014.
    Epidural on 3/3/14.
    A/PLIF (L5-S1) 6/3/14
  • Thanks to all for the comments. Is 6 weeks for residual foot pain normal with a sciatica issue? It just seems like everyone is telling me the symptoms should have relented by now. The first few days were excruciating and the pain radiated down my whole right leg/buttock, but it seems strange the only pain left is in the right foot and doesn't seem to be getting better.
  • it is different for every person, just as the cause of the sciatic pain is different. You should really talk to a specialist and get an MRI done. As anyone on this site will tell you, from experience, the longer you let something affecting your nerves go, the more damage it does. Let it go too long and it could be permanent. I'm not trying to blow it out of proportion or scare you, but it's the truth. Call a specialist (neurosurgeon or Orthopedic office) and let them get you an MRI ordered.
    36 yr old with one degenerative disc (L5-S1)
    3 rounds of Epidurals in 2013
    6 PT visits in 2013
    Microdiscectomy L5 S1 on 9/5/2013.
    Re-herniated in January 2014.
    Epidural on 3/3/14.
    A/PLIF (L5-S1) 6/3/14
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