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Foot/ankle weakness, leg pain...cause and what to do?

Started by Webble on 12/10/2018 1:10am

Good evening all. I’m hoping that I may find some answers, or get a little bit of advice pointing me in the right direction, from the knowledge y’all have gained stemming from your own experiences.

I have a decently demanding lifestyle, and I’ve had several accidents, but nothing of significance in these past couple years. I started another round of physical therapy a month ago for back and leg pain, while the intense pain is less constant, I’ve yet to make progress with weakness in my leg. I have weak dorsiflexion of that ankle, no big toe movement (neither up nor down, other toes wiggle slightly sometimes), and slight quad weakness. Muscles spasms up my entire back. Pain in back, buttocks, thighs and down the weak leg. The last few days I’ve experienced intermittent shooting pains in the unaffected leg now as well.

PT has been treating this as a potential lumbar disc and/or SI issue causing sciatica. They are concerned about the potential of permanent damage and requiring surgery, and would like me to get current mri and have specialist review my case - they don’t feel any amount of physical therapy will help me right now and that if it’s not a severe disc issue than there is another serious issue.

That’s all good and well, however, I have an issue with the expense and the potential that it is unnecessary. My last imaging was 2 years ago - cervical was quite involved but lumbar was pretty unremarkable. I’m 30 years old and haven’t injured myself that severely since then so I can’t imagine having done much damage to my lower back. Some days are worse than others, with periods of severe pain and/or weakness that almost has me going to the ER, but then it always comes back to my baseline.

So my question is, if it were a lumbar issue would it make sense that symptom severity alternates between periods of extreme difficulty walking to only a slight limp? Or I s it possible my ankle and toes just are sort of frozen at the joint while my leg pain and back is strain? Function of the leg has been checked but nothing has been done to address the range of motion issue or strength. Is the imaging and referal really that necessary right now, or is it okay to just try to build up strength in my leg and relieve the spasms on my own for awhile? I don’t want to spend the money unless I need to, but with what I do I can’t afford to lose further function either.

Thank you in advance for any words of wisdom.

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