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Pain from L5/S1 ONLY in foot !

PaininfootPPaininfoot Posts: 35
Hi there , For 6 months I have had the most excruciating burning pain on the sole of my right foot ( occasionally on the side and round front of ankle too - but mostly on the sole ) . I have had all kinds of MRIs etc of the foot and it is perfectly normal - no inflammation ,arthritis etc. I then had a lumbar MRI which found a herniated disk at L5 with impingement of the S1 nerve. The doctor thinks this is the cause of my foot pain. I am slightly sceptical as I have NO pain at all in my back, buttocks or leg ... Is it possible that an L5/S1 problem could only cause pain the the foot and nowhere else ??? I'd be most grateful for your thoughts !


  • LizLiz Posts: 8,363

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • But if your doctor thinks so probably. Seems a lot of people with L5/S1 don't all have the same kind of pain , all different. I would think it was possible as nerve pain can be erratic. Maybe tell your doctor that u r skeptical and they could explain their reasoning behind it.
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  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 12/27/2014 - 4:05 AM
    if you llook under the FAQ section and find the dermatome link, you will see that the L5-S1 level innervates the sole of the foot and side.
  • Paininfoot, It could be due to disk herniation as i have this occasional pain in my left foot sole. I have an L5/S1 injury
  • I had severe pain in my foot only for 3 months and that was caused by sciatic nerve. At first, I did not feel like it was caused by the nerve, but then, 2 weeks after beginning I got pain in another leg that originated from the back. That kind of pain happened because most of the pressure was at the foot and it happened during the walk. When I lost 10 kg, it became easier. Spine pain can be tricky, because you can feel it in some part of the body not knowing that it actually originates in the spine. I had experienced something that I call "3D" pain; the pain originated from cervical region reflected into arms, the pain from TH region came in all directions to the neck, chest (I thought it was heart attack!) and stomach, while pain from LS region appeared in both legs and in legs only.
    Scoliosis vertebrae THL
    Sy CC et CB
    Sy THS
    Sy LS chr
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  • Thank you for your comments - Henry VIII (love the name!) , did you ONLY have pain in your foot ?- and not in leg or back ?? My dilemma is whether to go ahead with a microdisctectomy not being fully sure that the cause of my foot pain is in my spine. The chances are it is though but it is still a risk. The doctors say it is 'an unusual presentation' - ie the fact that the (excruciating) pain is only in the foot and nowhere else- I have no numbness or movement problems.
  • Between my second discectomy & fusion I only had pain in my ankle & foot. I went ahead with the fusion as my sciatic nerve was being compressed. My surgeon found it odd I had no back or leg pain at this point.

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • Sorry for late comment; I was not here for a longer time.
    At first I had pain only in my left foot, then when I started physical therapy it got worse and radiated into right leg also. I have pain syndrome of whole spine so its difficult to make difference what is what, but the worst pain was associated with foot because it was sharp and I was not able to walk. Now, that's over, but I feel mild pain in both legs (not sharp) and it looks like I was walking for a long time, even if I just get out of the bed for a toilet.
    When it comes to surgery, I could go for it, but since my whole spine is affected it can be of not much relief. My whole body, except hands and head are affected with pain. One day I may go for a surgery in a lumbar area, and second day thoracic, etc... It doesn't seem to be fun...
    Scoliosis vertebrae THL
    Sy CC et CB
    Sy THS
    Sy LS chr
  • I had ridiculous foot pain all summer. It was right under my instep and the ball of my foot. It would flare up so bad! I actually went to see my podiatrist for it and she couldn't find anything wrong, but made me some orthotics anyway. Turns out it was the precursor to my herniated disc, which finally went in November. I WISH I had realized then that it was the disc about to pop. When I saw the ortho in November for the now crazy radiating leg pain, he sent me for an epidural...right after that the foot pain stopped completely LOL.

    So, yeah...a herniation could cause JUST foot pain.
  • dappelgaddappelga Eugene, ORPosts: 1
    Paininfoot, did you find resolution to your foot pain?  I have had a full year of foot pain, sometimes better, sometimes worse.  9 months have been treating for plantar fasciitis.  We are now developing a hypothesis that this is a L5/S1 nerve compression.  What worked for you?
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