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L5, S1 herniated, drop foot, very discouraged, why does leg feel like jello when i try to walk?

bindereabbinderea Posts: 31
I am a 64 y/o woman who keeps falling apart! I had a 2-staged TLIF last Dec. My entire lumbar spine was fused, with the exception of the bottom vertabra. It had auto-fused so neurosurgeon left it untouched. I spent 10 agonizing days in the hospital,(they couldn't control my pain) then 3 weeks in a rehab center. I am now fully fused....all was great until the third week of May.
I was awakened during the night with a very weird cramped feeling in my right leg. By morning, my leg was burning.. went to ER. They prescribed pain pills. Next day, same thing. But the next day, pain was gone but my foot and right side of calf went numb. Awful to walk! I went back to neurosurgeon. He ordered mylogram, epidural and EMG. Mylogram showed very small herniation. Have been going to PT. Had epidural. I have more strength in my leg but still numb. My calf muscle has atrophied and is 2" smaller than the left one. I have EMG scheduled for Aug 22.
I am so tired of this. Have severe back pain. (I imagine from walking funny?)
I really feel like another fusion is in my near future. I have a very important question. Is a 1-level fusion difficult to recover from? Is the pain controllable? How long were you hospitalized? I am afraid of that pain happening again, like in Dec
Almost forgot my big ? Why does my leg feel like jello when I try to walk correctly?
Thank you for listening.
Ellen Arnel


  • While we can't answer specifics, in general, when there is a herniation and it is in contact with the nerves in the canal or foramen, where the nerve roots exit between the levels, it can cause the symptoms you are having.
    Once you have the emg, and the imaging done, your surgeon will be able to tell you more and determine what, if anything needs to be done.
    I will tell you this much, as far as my first PLIF/TLIF surgery went, and the pain levels were astronomical, my second revision surgery was not nearly as bad pain wise.
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