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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

This is my first posting borne out of frustration. Has anyone had persistent leg weakness following disc hernaition and microdiscectomy? I had a large central disc herniation (extrusion and calcified sequestration) at L5/S1 and following deterioration of both pain and unilateral footdrop, as well as some bladder/bowel problems, had a microdiscectomy mid last year (2007). Leg pain has been greatly reduced following surgery, but footdrop has persisted and I now have lower backpain that I never had before. Surgeon at 6 weeks post surgery said that he had fixed everything, just a matter of retraining and that bladder issues are just a 'coincidence' but did not test reflexes, gait or anything other than look at the scar. Almost a year out from surgery and my physio has graded dorsiflexion 1/5, plantarflexion 1/5, quad and gluts 4/5 (only one leg affected). Recent review MRI has shown new disc bulges at L4/5 and L5/S1 but nothing significant. I have been aggressive in efforts to maintain fitness through walking and cycling and to maintain healthy weight. I am interested if any one else has had similar problems and if they recovered?
Thanks for the feedback.
Yes I have moved on from the surgeon and seeing a sports dr that specialises in backs. He says I needed the surgery at the time, but sometimes the damage has been done and may not recover (in terms of nerve function). He also feels that some of my problems are from the SI joint but I don't understand how that can cause the leg weakness. Painwise I am 100% better than pre-surgery - very little of that horrible sciatica leg pain, just a very sore back, so its probably not a surgery issue. I do have 'ants' crawling up and down the back of my legs and between my thighs most of the time though which is a little disconcerting. I wear an AFO otherwise I struggle to walk very far and tend to trip a lot. With an AFO I still walk with a limp, but can remain pretty active (probably spend 2hrs+ on the bike a day + 30mins walking) but find it tiring.

It is confusing though - you read everywhere that disc herniation doesn't cause paralysis but I can hardly move my foot at all, can't feel my toes or wiggle them, can't lift my foot up or point it. I also read that once decompressed the nerves should recover etc etc. So is it just uncommon but can happen - therefore deal with it, or should I be looking for other causes. Some say nerves can continue to recover for up to 3 years - has anyone experienced recovery after 12 months?

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