Tagged: Foot Drop after back surgery
HKSParticipantJanuary 11, 2018 at 11:30 amPost count: 1
I’ve read your posts on this website and they’re very helpful. My husband had surgery two weeks ago to fuse his 3 lowest vertebrae due to degenerative disc disease. He had no issues with his legs or feet prior to surgery.
Since the surgery, his back pain is gone, but his legs are extremely weak, he can only walk with a walker, and his left foot has drop foot. My main concern for him is the drop foot issue, because I recognize that the leg strength is something that’s just going to have to heal. whereas the drop foot could be from nerve compression or nerve damage.
At his two-week post-op appointment with the surgeon yesterday, the surgeon basically said, well, it’ll get better or it won’t, and wrote him a script for orthotics for his shoes and of course he’s doing physical therapy as well.
My question is: does his drop foot have a good chance of improving just with physical therapy? Should he continue to just do PT or should we find a specialist and be seen asap?
Everything I’m reading says that the quicker a drop foot is addressed (in terms of finding out the reason – a compressed or damaged nerve – and getting that dealt with medically), the more of a chance it has to be 100% repaired. Time seems to be of the essence.
Thank you in advance for any expertise you can lend to this situation!
All the best,
Heather SimsDonald Corenman, MD, DCModeratorJanuary 14, 2018 at 12:46 pmPost count: 6361
This needs an immediate new MRI. Motor weakness can occur post-surgery but it is extremely unusual and in all cases, has to be accounted for. If there is no “reason”(i.e. no obvious current post-operative compression), then there might be nothing to do but wait. The current physical examination is extremely important as documentation of motor weakness, reflex changes and sensory loss along with allodynia (pain from gentile touch of the leg) all contribute to the diagnosis and information regarding healing. You do need to act now.
Dr. CorenmanPLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.If this forum has helped you, please let Dr. Corenman know!
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