The pain you’re feeling in your feet may be caused by a problem located a bit higher — in your spine. Since foot pain has many causes, you may find yourself taking over-the-counter medications or relying on other remedies that aren’t treating the true source of your discomfort.
Spine-Related Foot Pain Symptoms
Spine-originating pain felt in your feet is often due to an irritated or compressed nerve root. Pain signals then travel, often from the lower back, to your legs or feet. In some cases, the pressure on the nerve root may cause pain in your feet without any discomfort in your back, which is what makes diagnosis difficult. Possible symptoms of foot pain originating from a spine problem include:
- Inability to bring a foot upward
- Foot heaviness or weakness
- Difficulty walking on tiptoes
Sciatic Nerve and Foot Pain
Spine pain felt in your feet is often related to the sciatic nerve. The longest nerve in the human body, it’s a nerve that extends from the lower back through the buttocks and into your thighs and can deliver pain signals into your lower legs and feet.
Herniated Lumbar Disc
A disc may become dislocated or damaged to the point where it begins pressing on nerve roots. When disc herniation occurs, resulting nerve pressure may travel along adjacent nerves to the sciatic nerve and down to your feet.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Spaces in the back sometimes become narrow and compress on nerves. Foot pain from lumbar spinal stenosis may include:
- Tingling sensations
- Recurring numbness
- General muscle weakness
This condition, often originating in the lower spine, can contribute to numbness or weakness felt in one or both legs that may cascade down to your feet. The condition is characterized by one vertebra slipping over an adjacent vertebra. A resulting pinched nerve may transmit pain signals downward.
Identifying a possible spine problem that may be contributing to your discomfort often involves an evaluation of your medical history and subsequent image testing to eliminate other conditions. In order to achieve an accurate diagnosis, your primary care physician may refer to you to a Los Angeles spine specialist for further evaluation.
Individuals living with chronic pain may benefit from decompression surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerves and spinal cord. Find out if you’re a candidate for spine surgery or learn more about the available treatment options by calling (310) 828-7757 and requesting an in-person consultation with a spine specialist at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration.