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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


Hi guys. Like some of you, I have a weak leg and foot from nerve damage due to a herniated disk at L4/L5. It's hard to walk and I have poor balance and the foot flops. Toes have been numb about a year and a half, sometimes it feels like I'm wallking on broken glass, and I have severe stabbing pain in the foot, mostly the big toe, that the neurontin has helped with quite a bit. My microdisectomy was July 2005 to remove the disk fragment from the nerve. I couldn't walk at all prior to surgery nor lift my toes, and after surgery could put foot out in front of me and lift toes again so it was successful. Doctor gave me a three year recovery to let nerve heal. Recently he upped that to perhaps a five year recovery but with a 90% chance of regaining the use of that foot.

I recently tripped and sprained the ankle a month ago, because of the weak foot, making it even harder to walk now.

Two weeks after spraining it, I felt an electrical charge bathe my entire foot at midnight (it always happens at midnight for some reason) and regained the feeling in my toes. I had twice before felt my toes for 3 seconds then it reverted back to numb, but this time it stuck! It felt likea blockage let loose in my toes.

So that was great. this week I saw a foot doctor and he said my foot is strong and I no longer have drop foot. I do actually, when the nerve fatigues and I can hardly lift my foot or leg at all but that's usually only when i overdo it. So on the one hand I feel lucky to have made it a year without a sprained or broken ankle (as I've tripped dozens of times), but on the other hand, had I made it another 2 weeks, I might have been walking real welll with the feeling come back. This is so frustrating. Talk about timing.

The doctor and PT didn't want me in a foot brace wanting me to wlak on the foot and strengthen it, but now the ankle is sprained. I use a cane now. This is so frustrating. At least I can still work out in the pool in the deep water with a belt. I refuse to quit exercising because the doctor said those who heal their nerves are those who exercise.

But I wanted to post to let people know that the feeling can come back after over a year of numbness. And it looks like I've regained some more strength toowith that last bout of feeling coming back. At first I had only 20% strength in the leg right after surgery according to the PT, then I had increased leg pain and bam overnight the strength increased to 50% at about 6 months post op. Then I got to 70% strength at about one year post op, and now at 14 mons post op, over one year of having a numb foot and totally numb toes, my toes have regained some feeling overnight and evidently the foot has strengthened too thought that's hard to see with a sprained ankle. But I could tell it had strengthened because I could push against the doctor's hand whereas before I could not. As I pushed my foot against his hands, I cried!

I believe the water aerobics daily has caused the feeling and the strength to come back. Plus I walked daily even if it meant dragging my leg. I would take a percocet and go walk. I have not let up on the exercise and the doctor said exercise was crucial to healing. so hope that helps someone. There IS hope. It's just hard to be patient and believe. I for one am getting overnight improvements, most very dramatic. Also, my improvements are always preceeded by increased nerve pain for 3 to 7 days before the dramatic improvement. Thank heavens for percocet or I would not be able to withstand t hat.

So hang in there! I have been reading about some of you with leg and foot problems like me and needed to share my recovery progress to give you hope. EXERCISE!





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