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How long before my L4/5 Laminectomies allow my foot to work again?

I had the foot drop since the end of August, and surgery was on 11/25 to free up my L4 and L5 nerves. I still keep trying to lift my foot, but no success yet. I mainly had the laminectomies because my NS said he thought it would help my left foot to move up again, and because I had right foot weakness and surgery 12 years ago, he didn't want both feet to have weakness if at all possible.

I'm pretty much depressed about all of it. My boss is telling me to come back to work and get busy. I'm listed to be on short term disability for 6 weeks post-op, but I'm really needed, along with the rumor there might be layoffs at Christmas. I'm 50, and if that happens, I think I might not be able to look for a new job since I'm in the midst of recovery.

Can anyone relate?



  • I have right foot drop. It was a total foot drop and scary as hell. The name is not befitting of the affliction. It's been 4.5 months of recovery. I have struggled to find good physio and they have been the best. I can walk again and can trust my leg to hold my weight. I mainly use a cane but some days I'm adventurous. It's getting better. One thing physio has me do is bend my toe against a wall and has broken down a walking step with resistance to make my muscles strong. Hang in there. Get an itinerary of excercises for you and keep positive. I'll be rooting for you. I know how slow it is.
    As for work: will they honestly help your recovery or are you hoping that they won't lay you off?
    I've been laid off a few times and it's not nice. Not walking is worse. If you have to go back please medically protect yourself with a letter and part time structure of hours that ease you in slowly.
    Make sure work is accommodating and you just may be surprised how it keeps you level with something to focus on. Only you know when you're ready to return.
  • Thanks Spiny. I will see the surgeon on Wednesday. Will ask about PT and how soon I can start.

  • Spiny -

    I'm sort of a legend at work. I've had 5 back surgeries including this one. I've had 2 cervical and 3 lumbar. After my previous lumbar surgery, I was able to return in 9 days. I couldn't pick up anything, but I could use a keyboard like nobody's business.

    The layoff rumor is 20% gone by the end of the year. I'm single with no kids, and I've been really putting away money in my retirement accounts. If needed, I could take retirement and coast the 12 years to age 62. I'm hoping that I can get a few more years of work in.

    I've been in technology so long that I've been wanting to find a place out in the country with 5-10 acres and foster some rescue dogs.

    My big question I forgot to ask is what to ask a PT when I need to find out if they are educated on treating foot drop. I was wondering if there is an official name for the treatment you are getting, so I could see if they would be aware of it.

  • The site changed and I finally got around to reading replies in my commented threads.
    You have made me laugh. This is not easy to do as I'm usually the funny one.
    I get a bit fuzzy thinking of your goals and your relocation plans in the country and it sounds beautiful.
    I'm sure you muddled it out for physio. The best way It was described to me is gait training. Strength in the legs, core and back generally speaking combined with specifics for an L4/L5/S1 hip mobility and strengthening to help me stand. Then I use resistance bands and make tiny chameleon type moves that break down a simple step and make my legs burn but in a good way. Im basically using all I have left with some of those exercises. They measure my range and they do progress reports. I found them through the hospital physio with the prosthetic limbs department. Each of them have cronies they went to school with and still talk to and between the department gave me a good list to choose from.
    The physio I was with wasn't the same. Very hands off. Slap on a tens. Put me in traction. Not ramping up or changing or even watching me to see if I got the exercises right. World of difference!
    I'm sorry about the layoff rumour. Hopefully it's just a rumour. Do all you can and the rest will take care of itself
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