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Post op discetomy and foot drop

hi everyone :)

This is my first post. 

I had been suffering with lower back pain for 6 weeks. Not even bad enough for painkillers . Having already been diagnosed with sciatica a few years, I put it down to a temporary flare up. However, 11th August I felt something give way in my back, horrendous paid. Dr gave 2 cortisone injections. Pain continued and I began showing signs of foot drop and by 16th August the pain had become unbearable. MRI showed a bulging disc and I had my operation the next day . I am now 6 days post op and pain has pretty much gone which I am thankful for but my foot drop is showing no signs of going . I am 31 years , not overweight and had an active job and lifestyle so for me this lack of control is very scary. Just wondering what’s people’s experiences have been post op? Am I expecting too much too quickly ? I read online people can return to work 1 week post op in some cases but I am not even close. My walking is not strong and my left foot is very weak and I have little dorsiflexion in my left foot. Will this ever return? The only exercises PT gave me was towel stretch and simply to move foot and ankle around. Is there anything I can more to help myself. My insurance doesn’t really cover PT sessions . Any info would be appreciated as I feel very worried 



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,473

    hello sarahm4579
    welcome to spine-health

    i am sorry you are still having this problem. we cannot recommend any kind of exercises, that will have to come from your doctor. if you go to the search box at the top of the page and key in "foot drop", scroll past the ads, there are several articles and discussions from other members.

    while you are waiting for replies from other members, please click on the welcome link below and tutorial for more information on the forum.
    welcome to spine health

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • I can't imagine a doctor diagnosing anyone with sciatica. It's a sympton. And after 6 weeks you went straight to surgery? I think you need a better doctor.

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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,584
    It is common medical practice to diagnose someone with a condition. So, sciatica is a condition. It would be same as if a doctor diagnosed someone with a herniated disc, a broken arm, cataracts, etc. One main factor about the urgency of surgery really depends on what/where the problem is. Having a disc impinging on a nerve root is one of those situations where surgery should always be done sooner vs later. That could be a mater of days or a week. Waiting, can compromise the recovery of the nerve. Waiting too long, even 6 weeks could result in some permanent nerve damage.

    As long as you have confidence in your doctor and surgeon, then you did the right thing, no need to look for another doctor.

    But now in terms of recovery, please read Recovery, the most important phase - Patience required !

    You will read about people returning to work after 1 week post surgery. But there are so many variables that need to be taken into consideration. Thats why there is a general guideline about recovery time, but no doctor is going to hold that to absolute fact. My last lumbar surgery, laminectomy L2-L5 in 2016. Normal guidelines are about 6 weeks for back recovery and about 10 weeks for the nerve pain to subside. Again the variables, I was 66 at the time, it was my 13th spinal or joint replacement surgery, and the condition was severe stenosis (less than 1mm in canal space). It took about 3 months before my back started to feeling better and about 13 months before all the nerve pain diminished.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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