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Numb big toe

Hi, I'm 6 weeks post L4 L5 microdiscectomy, my surgeon said if feeling and function has not returned to my big toe and outer shin after 12 months from surgery, it will never return. How many of you guys have not had full recovery from numbness? It's effecting my ability to raise my foot and return to work. Physio begins on Tuesday though managing to waking with strength. Cheers
Luke from S/E Melbourne Aus


  • I had my first surgery back in 2008. At that time my left foot and leg were numb. The feeling did return to my leg, but not my foot. It is still numb today. I have been told that it will always be that way.
    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.
  • Thanks for your reply, I had 2 quartazone injections in my epidural cavity 7 years ago so I'd say Iv had pressure on the nerve for a long time, fingers crossed
    Luke from S/E Melbourne Aus
  • And still as numb or even having more numbness than before surgery

    Had my first S I injection yesterday and hoping for some relief
    God bless

  • I am only 7 weeks from post op and have the same exact numbness as you do. However, I noticed it comes and goes and isn't always there. I am hoping that this will mean there is a chance it will get better. I had an L4-L5 laminectomy and L5-S1 diskectomy. The numbness in those areas is relatively light so it doesn't completely weaken my leg, before surgery my entire leg went numb and I as almost started to drag it. So the numbness that I have now isn't nearly as bad as it was before.
  • LCLLLCL Posts: 5
    edited 03/09/2014 - 2:53 AM
    Yeh, pre op, the feeling was indescribable, how can it be so painful and numb at the same time. Its improving slightly everyday. Only early days yet, my bum cheek's also numb, feels strange laying on a hard surface. See if u can walk on your heels
    Luke from S/E Melbourne Aus
  • I'm 10 weeks post op and started having this issue when I got home from the hospital after my fusion at l4-l5. It's the l5 nerve thats the source of the numbness. It runs across the top of the foot and around to the shin on the outside. In the early stages, I had to wear a sock to bed because I couldn't stand the feeling of the sheets against my skin. The doctor sent me for another MRI a few weeks ago to make sure there was no reherniation or that something else wasn't causing the problem. Nothing found.

    It's gotten much better now. I'm no longer having to wear a sock to bed, and the neurontin I was taking for nerve pain has been reduced from 600mg 3 times a day to 300mg 3 times a day. I'm hoping to get off it completely very soon. I still can't walk on my heels without my left foot dropping, but it's getting better.
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
  • I'm able to walk on my heels now. Before surgery I was not able to because I'd probably fall. the sensation was intense like pins and needles in my heel when I would shower. Bathing was a challenge for me before surgery but I have improved and I'm thankful for that. I'm currently experiencing pain and inflammation in my right hip/leg area because my right leg is still overcompensating for my left because I did that pre-op and now I have to undo that. Otherwise I'm okay and I'm slowly regaining my life back. I only hope that my current exercise and healthier eating will strengthen my back more so I can prevent more damage
  • Depends alot on how much nerve damage was done prior to surgery.. Surgery, more than likely, eliminates the cause of the damage caused by Osteophytes, Stenosis, etc.. but cannot repair the nerve damage that already took place.. I am 7 months post surgery and still fighting severe pain in my right leg and numbness in toes, ankles, knees and torso..I was actually improving at a good rate for the first three months, then seem to have relapsed... I made the mistake of delaying surgery for a year.. The damage is done.. I am hoping against hope that it isn't permanent and I will have some breakthrough that gets me back on a recovery track.. Good luck.
  • My numbness on the outside of my foot is a little worse than a month ago. It feels like I have rubber bands stretching from between my toes to the heel. I had L4 and L5 open discectomy. I can honestly say that I did not have this numbness before surgery. I hope it is not permanent.
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