Donald Corenman, MD, DC
Moderator
Post count: 8408

“Had a major L5-S1 ruptured/herniated disk which required a microdiscectomy (2013) because of calf weakness. The time between the weakness and surgery was about 1 week. Right before the surgery and right after, I could not do any single leg calf raises. The calf weakness after the surgery improved a small amount, but it took a lot of work, over a long time”.

Unfortunately, some nerves are irreparably damaged from the initial “violence” of the large disc herniation and even timely surgery (which yours was) is not enough to allow allow repair of the damaged fascicles (nerve fibers). Your nerve was probably operating on 50% of the remaining fibers until the puddle jump. I would have suspected a new herniation from that jump but you report no new changes. In this case, it probably was the stretch of the scarred root that caused further damage. Your interventionist hoped “a epidural shot was was performed because it was thought it might help with the weakness” but unfortunately, steroids are remarkably good for pain but don’t work for weakness.

See these for a better understanding:

https://neckandback.com/conditions/how-muscles-recover-from-nerve-injuries/
https://neckandback.com/conditions/peripheral-nerve-anatomy/

Dr. Corenman

PLEASE 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.
 
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.