Nerve pain in the foot

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Lisa here...Before my S1-L5 fusion, I had some foot pain caused by waiting two weeks to have a laminectomy/descectomy in my L 4 and 5 discs after a herniation (5 years ago). After my fusion - about 7 weeks ago - I have had terrible burning pain, sensations that feel like I am being bitten on a toe or have tape in between my toes. At night the pain is worse. Walking intensifies the pain and weakens my ankle and leg. I can't wear any of my shoes. Does anyone have any experience with this? I've called my nuerosurgeon and he wants an x-ray. Suggestions? Comments?

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    It's probably a nerve, I had a ganglionectomy but didn't work to get feeling back but my burning sensation gone, now I have total weakness in left leg n foot with drop foot and no feeling in leg. Been like this for 20 years. Tried the SCS no go, there is a new thing coming to USA already in UK called a dorsal root stimulator. Looks like the one I have but goes deeper into the nerves more, I can't wait for it to get here.

    Good luck best of luck and I hope you don't have what I had

    God bless

    Cindy( Cynthia)

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    • Posted

      Thank you Cindy for writing back. Did you have back pain or back surgery beforehand? I don't know how I can possibly work through this. I cry each time I think that it may be irreversible. I am 50, but following my fusion I didn't expect to feel worse. In fact, I may have traded the back pain for the foot pain. Now I wobble when I walk and socks or shoes are a joke. Even the softest of slippers hurt. 

      Thank you again,


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    • Posted


      I had a exploded disc, long story short they wanted me to do pt I was put in a pool and the chick was young eating her apple and watching soap operas and she flipped the jet for the therapy m I felt it instantly, it hurt like heck she turned it off and I couldn't walk that's when I started sorry peeing myself and not feeling, I don't know how I got home to call the Dr had emergency discetomy which was when my nightmare I kept telling the Dr which told me I was crazy so I finally got a second opinion which turned out that when the girl blew up my disc it did something to the nerves like shorting out, than I had the fusion S1to L5 and a ganglionectomy which stop the burning sensation and.left me with no feeling in leg and foot, and still in pain after a spinal cord stimulator.

      I hope the find out what's wrong

      Best luck


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  • Posted

    Hi Lisa. 

    I am sorry to hear that there may be some complications or else your neurosurgeon would tell you it takes time to heal.  I had a C3-C4 fusion and that is close to the brain stem with bundle of nerves leading to the brain getting closer to the brain stem.  Very, very sensitive up there.  Rehab was hard and the doctor told me to keep the neck brace on until I tell you to remove it.  For the first week, I kept it on and I felt miserable.  I would dread going outside and face people.  The only time I did go outside was to the doctor.  Even then, I wanted to put a bag over my face because a hoodie would not even cover it. lol  Gota keep my humor.  My head looked like someone built an erector set on it.  another lol.  I didn't want to be called "boxhead by the young little kids.  Even adults look at you and shake their heads.  I had young children laugh at me and make fun.  They didn't understand.  I had to get used to it though and even if I looked like a freak, life goes on.  When I was questioned, then I always politely gave an answer of the whys.  I am not doing this to make any harder for as yours is your lower back and yes, you do have to wear a brace but it doesn't show much.  I also had an L4-L5 back surgery and it wasn't half as bad as the neck.  You will heal, pain will diminish, and eventually you will feel a lot better.  It does take some time to heal but when you finally get to take it off at certain times, you will feel relieved.  So, keep your head up as well as your spirit and things will get a lot better.  Good luck to you and take care.


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  • Posted

    Hi Lisa

    I feel for you. To cut a long story short, 4 years ago I had L4-L5 fused after discectomies etc. I have failed back syndrome and sciatic nerve damage.

    My right leg is partially numb and my right foot is mostly numb. However, I get exceutiating nerve pain in my right foot. Much worse at night time. Feels like a million spiders crawling inside my foot with metal pins on their feet! Also like someone is driving a hot needle into my toes and back of ankle and lower calf into back of ankle.

    The fusion helped my back pain a lot but the nerve pain it didn't touch.

    I've had a spinal cord stimulator fitted and this has helped a lot with upper leg pain and general sciatic pain but they can not "tweak" the machine enough to get to my foot.

    The foot nerve pain has diminished somewhat after 3 years but it still is painful and wakes me with its "stabbings" it's something that I've come to terms with and just "live with" as I'm told there isn't anything else they can do. A hot water bottle on the lumbar fusion area and laying on my right side I've found helps a lot at bed time with the foot pain.

    I hope they sort you out. If you find a miracle cure, let me know!!!

    Good luck

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    • Posted

      Thank you! I am so glad that I am not the only one. I have sensations like I have strings betwen my toes and that bandages ar tightly around my foot. When I walk it's painful and feels like I am walking uncoordinated at the very least and I alwasy feel like I am walking on sand. I am on 1800 mg. of Gralise (like gabepentin, I think), a pain patch, and I take Percocet and Zanaflex...they seem to have helped the pain in my back and have lessoned the the weird sensations in my foot somewhat. I am currently on disability (private) and am worried I will be taken of and made to work. I am a teacher and work 10-12 hours on my feet. I have my first surgeons appt. thhis week (first after surgery, 3 months), and I am afraid he won't understand the calf, foot problem. Any advice? Thank you so much. Lisa
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    • Posted

      I totally understand those sensations. I also get terrible cramps in my calf and toes too.

      Your surgeon should understand as it seems to be fairly common. Tell him you have really bad neuropathy in your foot.

      I'm really not sure what can be done, if anything. I was offered nerve ablation (burning the nerve) but that's totally irreversible and I'm deco NOT gonna have that done!!

      They'll probably tell you it's early days and to bear with it as it will get better. Mine has been about 4 years now, it is better than it was but still bloody painful!!

      Please knee me posted on what they say. Will be interested x

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    • Posted

      Lisa I totally get your problem in your foot/feet.

      I had an L5/S1 fusion in 2008 after my discs disappeared(?)

      I have suffered for the last 2 years with the pain you describe. Mine is like electric shocks, severe burning, stabbing and the pain you describe.

      I have it in both feet. Although my right is worse than my left at times.

      I notice that it's worse come late afternoon and by evening I can barely stand /walk.

      I've been told there are various things going on with my feet, nerve damage, planterfacitus and something else they won't confirm yet.

      Yesterday I was told by the Pain Clinic that I have a failed fusion and this has caused nerve damage from my spine down my legs into my feet and the only thing they can recommend is an SCS.

      At the moment I'm looking into it to see if it works well although they did say it might not help my feet. Which is disappointing. I've been off work long term sick since February '14. I just want to get back to work but it's looking very unlikely.

      To top things off I'm starting to have bladder problems, infections and wetting myself, loosing control of myself which is very embarrassing.

      Talking to the people on here with similar issues is great as no one understands the constant pain I'm in and how it's affecting my life.

      Best wishes

      Shelly x

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