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Burning Foot Pain after L4, L5 microdiscectomy/decompression

dwebbddwebb Posts: 2
edited 01/20/2015 - 2:06 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 12 days post-op microdisectomy/decompression on my L4 and L5. I had a herniation/tear in each of them. Approximately four days after surgery, I started having burning pain in the top and bottom of my foot and up my ankle/shin of my right leg. It seems to have come from nowhere as I had not bent or twisted. I was actually sitting in a chair when it began. It is extremely sensitive to touch and having the sheet/blankets rub across it at night is excruciatingly painful. The strange part is that most of the original pain I was having in my back seems to be gone. I get the occasional pinch if I twist or bend too much, but nothing major.

I spoke with the surgeon, my general practitioner and my vet (it is my sister and she does lots of surgeries). They all seemed to agree that the pain was due to the nerve(s) "waking up". They thought it would go away once the impacted area adjusts to not having the nerve(s) impinged any more. Conversely, I spoke with my chiropractor. He believes that the pain is being caused by an impinged nerve. He practices on many of the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, etc, so I believe him to be a good source.

I have been taking it easy and doing what the surgeon told me to do: laying down/sitting for an hour then walking for ten minutes. Has anyone else had this or a similar problem, and will it go away? I am starting to worry that my surgery did not go well or that it created new problems. Thank you in advance for any advice.


  • I had a similar experience. It is most definitely nerve pain, but what is causing it is a guess. My best guess (and that's all it is) is that it truly is the nerves reawakening and refiring. It's incredibly painful and there are medications that can help, but it takes time for them to be effective and sometimes there's a trial and error period to figure out which one works best.

    In my case, I got nerve pain from a severely damaged nerve. It began after my second surgery (L5/S1) and has not stopped since. It may be permanent for me. It is decently controlled by Lyrica, but never gone. I can stand to touch my foot again, so that's a vast improvement, but the pain is never completely gone.
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
  • I also have the burning foot pain in both feet and my calves this is happened right after surgery and has really not let up. I did not have this pain before surgery and I'm really concerned. I am six weeks postop spinal fusion and laminectomy.

    If anyone has any advice or experience with this I would really appreciate hearing from you
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  • DevxaviourDDevxaviour Posts: 1
    edited 08/25/2015 - 11:32 PM
    hi all,

    i've been in intense accute nerve pain i guess over the last two weeks post op. i upped my lyrica dose to 600mg a day along with two dose of oxycontin 5mg long release & around 1-2 times of endone 5mg for quick relief a day. live had limited relief now from burning nerve pain in my lower limb from knees down and especially top of my foot. however side symptoms include slowing of cognitive thinking, speech (due lutica) and a case of tight/clicking jaws almost like tmj symptoms. i've been fairly active walking for around 1.5 - 2 km & sitting for a combined duration of 1-2 hrs each day. my old sciatic pain seems to have all but gone except on only few occasions.
    however two days ago, my partne & i decide to try some light sexual iintercourse, after 10 mins we stopped and i didn't feel any immediate increase in pain other than my usual burning foot nerve pain. however by that night i felt a definite pressure against my lower back around the iteration site & pain down my buttocks like i e just fallen on it hard. fast forward to yesterday afternoon, i developed this sudden unbearable shooting pain now where when i stand after laying down the first few minutes feels like my left foot is swollen & the pain in my foot is intense to the point i can't stand on it. strangely enough elevating the foot, laying backdown or even walking through this pain after a few more minutes seem to fade away a little enough for me to continue walking but return when i'm stationary. during the episodes of intense pain, the top of my foot and surrounding area is mostly numb to the touch with a little bit of that burning nerve pain sensation.

    does anyone have anything similar they went through? thank you for your help.


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  • I'm 4 weeks post op going thru the same thing you just explained as I type even plus a few other things. My foot is 3x. It's normal size right now it cannot stretch any further and the burning is out of this world can't even rub your foot across a sheet or blanket it's excruciating so your not alone I've read a few others even further out than I dealing with the same. Only someone who endures this understands the torment of it all :/
    Michelle McNary
  • I have this issue too. Unlike the others here though I am 9 months post op, and this pain has come on in only the last couple if weeks or so.
    Just after surgery I had a few new and strange pains as well and was told basically the same things as everyone else...it was because the pressure was off of the nerves and they were working properly again, these new symptoms would wax and wane then I would return to normal. At 4 to 6 months post op this seemed to be perfectly true. I was a little surprised by how long it took to start feeling normal again but just as my dr. Said it did happen.
    What worried me most is that it just seemed to come on out of the blue after doing so well for so long and like has been described here this pain is INTENSE.
    It's also made me wonder if its due to a minor change in life recently. In the past few weeks I've had a cold and have wondered if maybe I could have sneezed or coughed hard enough to irritate a nerve? I've bought new shoes and thought maybe the new ones could be making me walk strange but, even after switching back to the old ones I got no relief. Or could it be as simple as changing weather? I've heard from others who've had the same or similar surgery in the past that autumn tends to bring on some painful symptoms that last for about six weeks or so.

    Anyone else had the same or similar changes happen at the onset of their pain?
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  • Purplegirl34: You wrote that "'I've heard from others who've had the same or similar surgery in the past that autumn tends to bring on some painful symptoms that last for about six weeks or so." Do you know where I can read more about this? It is in particular the 6 weeks that got me of my bed (mentally only unfortunately).

    I had a disc replacement March last year and I'm at the moment on my second bad spell/flare up of this weird pain/severe cramp which the first time lasted 6 weeks, and the second lasted 6 weeks. It's by no means easy to get back to work, but I manage after 6 weeks.

    Got me curious!

  • I have no clue aside from these forums here where to read more on this. Maybe you can google something on it? The little info I have on it came from friends and family. Don't hold me to it but I believe the six week period has something to do with it taking that long for the avg. temp. to change.
  • Okay - no worries. Thanks anyway. I'll see if I can find some info somewhere else.
  • So many of us who had spine surgery are having pain after surgery. The pain is a nerve type burning achey cold at times stabbing. The pain may be better in the morning and worse at night. Or whatever. The pain is there and we did not expect this after back surgery. It doesn't matter what type of surgery it many of us suffer in pain and wonder why. I had no pain before surgery prior to surgery only getting leg weakness due to s bulging disk. Now even after 3 months I have nerve pain in both feet and lower legs. I can only surmise it must be related to scar tissue putting pressure on nerves and spinal cord. I hope i am wrong and my pain and others resolves. I'm surprised the medical knowledge post surgery is so minimal. I hope all of us in pain get better in time. The body may need many months to years to heal from these invasive procedures and rebalance itself. Being patient is the only way.
  • Now here I was, thinking I've had a clean getaway. I was one of the lucky ones. All my pre op symptoms had gone. My surgery related pain was abating and at five weeks post op I felt like I had beaten the odds. I went back to work today and this evening after work I had a sudden bout of intense burning, searing pain in my metatarsal area if my left foot.

    The pain may have been because I wore my shoes for the first time and perhaps over did it. It may gave been some nerve awakening like some folks have written about. But it is the first real issue I've had post surgery as far as "new pain" goes...

    I bandaged my foot for a short while and it didn't help. Trying icing now as I post this. I just hope that this us just a blip and it will go away over night. Because the pain is pretty much ouch..
    L4-L5 TLIF surgery Nov 25, 2015?
    2nd degree Spondylolesthesis at L4/L5, Degenerated disc at L4/L5 and L5/S1 compromising nerve root
    Osteoarthritic changes of facet joints at L4/L5
    Lumbar canal stenosis at L4/L5
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