From time to time over 40 years (I'm 81) I occasionally had a slight numbness in my left foot and ankle for short periods of time when walking. Actually it often coincided with times when I had indigestion or acid reflux and I used to make a joking connection to them. Doctors when I mentioned it did not have a reason for it. I mentioned it to a neurologist four years ago when having headaches after a bang on the head. He did an examination of my feet and lower legs and noted some lack of feeling but did not think it needed any follow up. I was found to be diabetic (T2 and controlled by diet) about fourteen years ago. Tests then noted lack of sensation in my left foot and the numbness was still occasional. After December 2014 it worsened and started as soon as walking outside but was no inconvenience at that time just annoying. I always put my shoes on just before going out and it started almost right away. The numbness later started to a lesser degree in the right foot.
I went to a podiatrist who could only suggest neuropathy. I saw an orthopaedic consultant who was of no help and was looking at a three year old back X-Ray but did X-rays of feet and ankles. He said it could be any one five hundred types of neuropathy and if from my back that surgery would probably make it worse.
Suddenly in early June the left foot numbness became at times a complete lack of feeling in that foot and walking became difficult. I was having difficulty in coping with changing surfaces and uneven pavements as my brain/foot did not react quickly enough. I sometimes had to stop and start again. Tiled or shiny surfaces became like ice to walk on and I was stumbling a lot and had one bad fall. Often it felt as if my heel was sinking into a hole in the ground. Steep slopes became impossible to go down but I could cope going up. I now cannot go out on my own and need to hold on to my wife’s hand or arm for support.
I then saw a neurologist who did about a dozen blood tests including genetic testing for CMT that were negative. I had nerve conduction tests that showed he said “findings that were consistent with length dependent sensory motor axonal neuropathy. It is equally possible that this condition is an acquired neuropathy assuming that the shape of his feet was present for a long time and has no neuropathic basis. However this sort of symptom could also be due to sensory radiculopathy”. I do have narrow high arched feet and over the past fifteen years the tendons have shortened and my toes have become claw like. I do have a bad leaning forward sitting habit from years working with computers and a bad habit of not keeping my feet flat on the floor but tucking them under my chair with only the ball of the feet and toes touching the floor. The doctor doing the nerve conduction tests felt as I by then did that it all stems from my lower back and wanted me to have a spinal MRI scan. I did not actually have back pain but later the lower back area has a worsening feeling of tightness or compression when sitting and standing.
As I was about to have a pacemaker fitted there was not time to get it done and as I then would have needed an eight week wait before it could be done as the pacemaker has to settle in and be checked first So I decided to just have a CT Scan of my lower back.
From the report:
CT Spine lumbar: Assuming that the lowest mobile disc is L5/S1 the study includes from T12 through to the 5th sacral segment.
L2/L3, L3/L4 there is diffuse circumferential bulging of these degenerative discs. Nerve roots exit freely.
L4/L5, L5/S1 Diffuse circumferential disc bulging with ligamentum flavum thickening and bilateral facet joint degenerative change noted, however nerve roots exit freely.
Summary Multilevel lumbar degenerative disc disease and lower lumbar facet joint OA.
A later letter from the neurologists suggests that it is idiopathic neuropathy which seems a bit of a cop out. My GP prescribed Lyrica (Pregabalin). As I just have numbness and no pain or tingling I don’t see the point of it and the side effects are rather scary and my BP meds already give me enough side effects. It seems that Idiopathic neuropathy symptoms of light headedness, dizziness and lack of balance are the same as symptoms from atrial fibrillation and side effects from medication that I take another catch 22 situation. I am also told that I should have an AV node ablation for my AF.
I then went to see a neurosurgeon who did not think that the numbness is caused by my lower back and wants me to have a full spine MRI scan but I may have to settle for another CT scan as the imaging centre at the hospital will not scan Boston Scientific pacemakers although it is MRI compatible. Over the past two weeks the numbness has worsened and now bothers me indoors as well as out. Do any others here have numbness without pain or tingling and have had a successful diagnosis and treatment for it or suggestions.