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What does Nerve Damage in leg feel like??

jenfabjjenfab Posts: 56
I had my 2nd microD on Jan 16th and it seems daily my left foot and calf/upper thigh feelings keep cahnging. My heel and achilles tendon hurt (especially when cold)and have a buzzing feeling and pin and needles in my foot...having some weird pains also...but my question is...will this resolve or be permanant? I had excruciating sciatic pain before surgery and wondered how my leg would ever be the same! Now I am thinking it wont be...any insight or experiences are welcome.........


  • How do you know if it;s permanent? You wait. Up to two years. Generally, you should know by 18mos. The pan wll come and go. You will have good days and really, really bad weeks but you won't know for 18 months. Good luck i hope you're going to be okay. Susan
  • I have been dealing with foot numbing and pain for two years. As Susan knows from experience nerve regeneration is a very slow process. You just had surgery so you have a lot of healing to do.
    Take each day or each minute as it is, a day hopefully closer to being without pain. No one can tell you when or if it will heal but you must stay hopeful cause that is what being part of this club is all about. We support each other through the bad days and on good days we support others. Find someone to help you learn how to manage the pain and don't stop trying to find things that will help you get through to the next day. Just don't ever give up. Never.
    Expect that miracle - why shouldn't you?
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  • that the nerves can be perceived as "hurting" when they are waking back up and regenerating. Mine have hurt pretty much for 3 straight years, with a short, misleading break after my 3rd surgery.

    I have permanent S1 nerve damage down both legs. My description: I am numb from hips to toes on the outer (lateral) portion, probably 40% or more numbness. This causes major balance issues if I don't stay properly centered on my feet. I wear "safe" shoes that keep my in nice balance (Dansko brand) and walk slowly and deliberately. I have fallen on uneven pavement and you do not want to that.

    Also, prior to my SCS (spinal cord stimulator), I have 24/7 burning nerve pain. IF I could reach, I could take a magic marker and draw a single line down the backs of my legs where this pain burned. If you look at a dermatome chart, I am classic S1 dermatome. And on really bad days, I would have what I called "lightening strikes" come flying through my hips to feet, out my toes. Absolutely taking my breath away, tears to my eyes if I didn't bust out balling from them. I lived in fear of those hitting and actually stopped driving for fear of landing in a ditch.

    The SCS has improved the nerve pain tremendously, but I am still numb ( and will remain so). Also, no more lightening strikes. It's been almost 4 weeks and I'm thrilled.

    It's tough, but try to be patient with your nerves. 18 months to 2 years is a long time, but until at least a year, your doctor probably won't take you seriously. After about a year, you could ask the doctor for an EMG to test to see if you have acute and or chronic nerve irritation. Acute meaning last 3 months, chronic meaning long time.

    Hang in there,

  • Second L5/SI discectomy in March 2008. Numbness in foot and upper leg has not improved since the operation. What has improved is the searing pain I used to get pre-op. Outlook not great . Both specialists I have seen recently believe numbness may be permanent. I can live with the numbness but it also causes significant weakness in that leg which makes excercise, lengthy walking etc very difficult.
  • Hello Cheri,
    I have just read your Post about your nervepain.I am really glad for you the SCS seems to be working.I found your Post very informative and comforting.I have had nerve Pain with Sciatica down my left Leg right into my Toes as well as the Sole of my Foot,which does not do a lot for my Balance either(I also walk very carefully)developing immediately after a Plif a Year ago.The Nervepain follows the S1/L5 nerve Path.There does not seem to be any nerve Impingement according to the MRI and my NS says,there is nothing he can do. X( I am not quite ready to give up yet,though and realize after reading your Post,perhaps it will take much longer then I anticipated for this horrible Pain to subside.Thank you for your Inspiration and your Story!! :)
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  • Does the cold seem to make it worse? Whenever I am standing on the cold ground, in shoes too, it hurts my foot where the numbness is. Its SO weird to have numbness AND pain....makes no sense to me.

    Thanks to all who replied to all my questions and concerns. I am now 3 weeks out my 2nd disectomy and see my my NS on tues the 10th of Feb for a follow-up. My biggest fear is that he will get on me about pain meds....he always seems to and I have actually come down 25mcgs off the fentanyl and take between 2-4 norcos a day now...so I pray he just doesnt make me feel like a junkie again! I have control of my meds and will come down as I feel I can...my PC dr is with me on this. The surgery substantially helped my leg pain, but like others here, I still have right-sided low back pain and nerve pain in left leg.

    Have a good weekend, my friends and best wishes to you all :)
  • it feels like your leg is being crushed and that some one is pouring hot water over your leg .only your leg is cold to touch unlike the bottom of your back which is red hot to touch!my calf is hurting like as if it is about to cramp my feet also carnt wear normal shoes i wear CROCS and carnt wear anything other than baggy shorts because i carnt stand anything on my leg {right one} because of the nerve damage.life is hell with constant back ache and leg pain .i am 14 months post second operation {i have just had another MRI scan and waiting for the results}.it looks like another operation will have to be done!!
  • I had my last of 5 spinal fusions at L1-S1 a little over 8 weeks ago. I thought my recovery went well and I returned to work as an attorney about 6 weeks out. The surgery seemed quite successful, as the right-sided leg I had been sufffering from was gone. A week after returning to work, I developed stabbing pain in my left hip and leg. Forover 20 years my pain had always been located on the right. A new MRI showed a bulging disc at the fusion site, plus bulging one level sbove.

    Frankly, I do not know what to do any longer. I can't sleep, work or walk. I take methadone and morphine for pain control, without success. I have no quality of life.
    I need a rescue plan.
  • when i started to read your post ..i thought wow he /she is lucky back to work in 8 weeks !..then i read it all!! your in the same boat as the rest of us ..anyway when or if you find a rescue plan ..dont forget to share with the rest of us..i am the same no sleep pain 24/7 drugs and more drugs!
    anyway hope that things improve soon
  • Hi all,

    I read your posts, and the one especially by Cherish made me want to cry. It brings back terrible memories. My heart goes out to you all.

    I have a ruptured disk L5/S1. I ruptured it 6.5 years ago, at age 25. The first year after I injured my back I had horrible back pain. The second year I developed severe, severe sciatica down both legs. It was at a pain level of 8-10 24-7, day in and day out for 1 year. I could stand, sleep or sit with out the pain. Then the following 6 months it became more on and off, but still ever-present. Then, it slowly started to go away on its own, and i had an epidural that really helped to kick it out. The nerve pain was caused by irritation from the disk, and apparently not direct impingement. The doctors gave me neurontin and anti-inflammatories, but my stomach couldn't handle anything. The pain was truly maddening, and I - a natually happy person - was seriously suicidal. If it wasn't for my amazing husband and ultimately the epidruals, I don't believe I'd be alive today.

    Anyway, the good news --- After 3 years of terrible back pain, and 1 1/2 years of it suffering from severe nerve pain, my back pain has largely gone. In fact, the nerve pain has completely gone, though it has come back when I have re-injured my back or do something to irritate it. The epidurals are a godsend. They have saved my life. I never had surgery. I only had epidurals and very little meds to help. I am pain free now most of the time. I just have to not lift things and not do anything particularly rough. I always have to be careful, and as long as I am, I can live a good, largely pain free life. The trick is not doing stupid things that hurt the disk, which I have done -- like hoeing in the garden.

    Oh, and another lesson.. about epidurals... I have had 7 epidurals over the last 6+ years. The first 3 didn't help at all. The doctors thought I wasn't responsive to them. Well, after the 3rd one I realized I had a "dent" in my back. The doctor said that the epidural was administered incorrectly and never was injected into my spinal fluid, instead into my fatty tissue. It then caused necrosis of the fatty tissue. So, it seems clear that the guy that did these 3 shots didn't do such a great job. I then saw another doctor who came highly recommended; he was trained as an anesthesiologist -- who have far more training in epidurals. All of his shots have worked for me. It has truly been the key to getting me well. I now won't see anyone else but him.

    So, nerves can heal and your lives can be full again after rupturing your disks. Try epidurals and make sure you get someone that is good. Not all doctors are the same! Take good care of your backs and give things time (lots of time, many months to a couple years).

    While I can't do all the activities as people that don't have this kind of back injury, I do lead an active and largely pain free life. The key is take it easy and don't re-injure them once they get well!

    I hope my experiences are helpful to you all.


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