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Foot Pain Only from L5 -- Any Insights?

ArcticRunnerAArcticRunner Posts: 3
Am I the only one that seems to have an issue that no one can diagnose? :) I have been having foot pain for about 9 months. It started out with just a weak ankle, and now the pain is from my big toe, across the top of my foot, and half way up my shin. No foot drop. I have explored all aspects of my foot and even peripheral nerve entrapment. The latest nerve testing I had seems to suggest L5 issues. But my back MRI looks clean. However, I do have a pinch in my buttock -- maybe piriformis syndrome? My question is -- can L5 or piriformis syndrome cause local foot pain only ? I don't have radiating pain all the way down my leg. My foot is just burning and weak. Can I stretch and strengthen the issue away? Thanks for any insights.

Welcome to Spine-Health

One of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?

    . Year, Your age, etc
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- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)

  • . Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
    . Who are you currently seeing?
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?

  • . Physical Therapy
    . Ultrasound / Tens unit
    . Spinal Injections
    . Acupuncture
    . Massage Therapy
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)

  • . Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
    . How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)

  • . Name of Medication
    . How long have you been using this?
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- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
- Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

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Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
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What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 08/03/15 21:01est


  • I have no medical training firstly. All my back problems resulted in pain in the inside of my left foot. Which went on for years and nobody knew what was wrong. It was only when I started getting foot drop and was referred to a neurologist because my G.P. thought I could have Parkinsons was the problem found to be in my spine. Despite having intermittent back problems for over 40 years and being told it was sacroalitis no investigations took place. After having an MRI it was eventually found my spine hadn't actually formed properly in the first place. My vertebrae was broken and fused at L5 S1 on April 28th this year . Before my op the pain had gone on to feel like barbed wire wrapped around my foot just under the base of my toes. As well as the ankle and beneath it pain. Surgeon said it was caused by S1. All pain in back and barbed wire feeling gone. But the pain (nerve I presume) persists in my foot. My legs are very weak and my balance is shot. The nerve conduction tests I had said I had no nerve issues! It really does depend on the ability of the tester. Good luck and be persistent I wish I had been more proactive maybe I would then be looking at a better outcome.
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