Many patients who suffer from foot and ankle pain have issues stemming for their spine. A pinched nerve can often lead to pain the the foot, ankle, and leg. As part of the foot and ankle institute at One Oak Medical Group our team includes a board certified spine surgeon who can help to rule out the spine as a source of your foot and ankle pain.
Nerve root irritation or compression in the lumbar or sacral spine (lower back) may cause sciatica pain to radiate down your leg and into the foot. Specifically, compression of the S1 nerve root, also called classic sciatica, can cause pain along the outer side of your foot.
Nerve roots may be compressed or irritated due to a number of causes. Common examples include:
- Lumbar herniated disc: The inner contents of an intervertebral disc herniate (exit) the disc leading to compression of the nerve.
- Lumbar degenerative disc disease: Age-related changes causing narrowing and shrinkage of the disc which can lead to compression of the nerve(s).
- Spondylolisthesis: Slipping of a vertebra over the one below it which leads to compression of the nerve(s).
- Lumbar spinal stenosis: Narrowing of the bony openings for spinal nerves and/or the spinal cord, a common process as the spine ages.
The inability to lift the front part of your foot or frequent tripping while walking may be due to a condition called foot drop. This condition is typically caused due to compression of the L5 nerve root. Additionally compression of the L4 and/or the S1 nerve roots may also cause foot drop.
Nerve compression affecting the foot can also occur at the hip, knee, or ankle. The foot and ankle team at One Oak Medical Group also includes fellowship trained nerve specialists and orthopaedic surgeons to help treat these issues.
It is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to accurately diagnose the cause of your foot pain. Treatments for foot pain can differ widely and must be directed at resolving the underlying cause; not just masking the symptoms.