Foot numbness is one of the most prevalent neurological sciatica symptoms experienced by patients, regardless of their diagnosis. Numbness in one foot is associated with unilateral sciatica, while bilateral sciatica might cause 2 numb feet. Remember that numbness in the feet can also be caused by a variety of other problematic conditions, including diabetes, so all new symptoms should be reported directly to your treating physician.
This commentary will explore the incidence of numbness in the feet of sciatica sufferers. We will also provide information on the relevance of such symptoms and how they may or may not correlate to the diagnostic conclusion.
Sciatic nerve pain syndromes involving numbness in the feet can be caused by many possible spinal and non-spinal sources.
Central spinal stenosis change anywhere in the vertebral column can also enact numbness in the legs and feet.
True objective numbness in the feet, without pain or tingling, is far more likely to be sourced by a spinal causation, but not always. However, subjective numbness is much more common. Both symptomatic expressions can be the result of oxygen deprivation of the spinal nerves, local musculature or sciatic nerve itself.
Numbness in the foot or feet often gets worse when the body is at rest, such as in a horizontal position. This may be a true indicator of ischemia in some patients, since the decreased heart rate and positioning both contribute to a further lack of regional oxygenation.
To solve any sciatica pain syndrome, an accurate diagnosis is essential. Without it, subsequent treatment is based on guesses rather than facts. When you are talking about treatment choices such as drugs, injections and surgery, you surely do not want to guess. To this end, I recommend evaluating all foot numbness conditions with a qualified spinal neurologist. If they can confirm or deny involvement of the spinal structures, you will be well on your way to a valid diagnosis.
As long as serious health conditions have been ruled out by your doctor, finding the actual source of numbness in your foot or feet should not be too difficult. If a structural diagnosis is made, such as a pinched nerve in the spine, then symptoms should correspond exactly with what is clinically expected. If they do not match, then the diagnosis may well be wrong. In this case, I advise you to research ischemia or central spinal stenosis as possible causes, since these are two of the most prevalent sources of long lasting chronic sciatica conditions.
If there is a verified anatomical issue causing your pain, at least you know that treatment should resolve the matter and allow you to regain your health and full functionality. If not, then you might have to keep working at your diagnosis, by including the possibilities of piriformis syndrome, disease, local injury, circulatory disorder or other process being the root source of agony.