Can Sciatica Affect the Feet?

Can Sciatica Affect the Feet?

Up to 40% of Americans experience persistent symptoms of sciatica, a condition of the spine that results from nerve compression. For some people, this condition can cause pain in many areas of the body, making a diagnosis more complex.

At The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, board-certified spine specialist Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sciatica.

To help you recognize sciatica-related pain, Dr. Bo offers some insight into the condition, so you can get the treatment you need right away.

Understanding sciatica

Sciatica is a condition that results when too much pressure is placed on your sciatic nerve, the large nerve that begins in your lower spine and travels down into your hips, legs, and feet.

Pressure can come from a spine injury after a fall or car accident. It can also develop over several years due to degenerative conditions like arthritis or spinal stenosis.

Other causes of sciatica include:

Sciatica can cause a wide range of symptoms that range from mild to severe. For some, the condition can become disabling.

Symptoms of sciatica 

The most well-known symptom of sciatica is a shock-like pain in your lower back that occurs with movement. This pain typically affects only one side of your body.

People often experience a shocking jolt when they make sudden movements like a sneeze or a cough. The pain of sciatica can radiate into any of the areas where the sciatic nerve travels, including your hips, legs, and feet.

You may experience episodes of pins and needles, especially in your legs and feet. Over time, your legs and feet can feel weak, which makes it difficult to walk.

Exploring your treatment options for sciatica

In early stages, sciatica may resolve on its own with rest and anti-inflammatories. However, if your pain is severe and persistent, you may need additional treatment.

Dr. Bo offers on-site diagnostic testing to identify what’s causing your sciatica. He customizes care plans to relieve both your sciatica pain and its underlying cause. Options for treatment include:

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is beneficial for spine conditions that press on your sciatic nerve. Dr. Bo can refer you to a therapist who teaches you stretching movements and other exercises that strengthen the muscles that support your spine.

Therapy techniques can also boost blood circulation in your lower spine to improve the health of your sciatic nerve.

Spinal injections

When oral medications aren’t providing enough pain relief, you may benefit from injections that deliver an anesthetic and a steroid directly into your spine.

The medications disrupt nerve signals from traveling to your brain and give your sciatic nerve time to heal.

Surgery

If you have chronic sciatic pain from spinal stenosis, herniated disc, or a spine injury, Dr. Bo may recommend surgery.

He uses the latest minimally invasive surgery techniques to repair spine damage or remove bone spurs or herniated discs. Once pressure is taken off the nerve, you can find long-lasting relief of your pain and reduce your reliance on medications.

If you need a diagnostic evaluation for shock-like pain in your lower back, hip, leg, or foot, call The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care office nearest to you today or book a consultation online.

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