Chronic feet pain only, from sciatica/herniated discs??

Hey all,

Ive had chronic burning and aching pain in both feet (mainly heels) for over a year now (ever since I got out of military training) regardless of whether or not I'm sitting or standing. I've gone through pretty much every treatment for plantar fasciitis including the TOPAZ procedure a few months ago which didn't help at all.   Dozens of orthotics (custom and OTC) have never worked. All foot imaging (MRI, emg, ultrasound, x rays, blood tests) comes up normal. 

Most doctors and PT's I've worked with have assumed that all the pain I've been feeling has been localized in the foot since up until recently, I never had any back, butt, or leg pain.

I was finally sent to a neurologist for this constant burning, weakness and aching I was feeling in my feet. The only reason he suspected a possibility of this coming from my back is because I told him recently I would get a mild ache down my legs into my ankle when I'm about to have a bowl movement. But it usually wasnt very noticeable. So I did an MRI and he said there were 3 herniated discs in my back, one of which was broad based and going into the L5 S1 nerve. EMG/NCS also confirmed a "chronic" pinched nerve. 

He was very surprised that I only had pain in my feet and not really in the leg or buttox. He said usually JUST foot pain is localized in the feet.

My question is, could this be the reason for all the foot pain I've been having? Can a herniated disc or sciatica mimic symptoms of plantar fasciitis? Just curious if anyone has had similar experiences.




  • potassiummixppotassiummix Posts: 3
    edited 08/01/2019 - 9:37 AM
    I have heel pain as well on both of my feet. The last MRI I had was in 2013, and showed a significant disc protrusion at the L5S1, after doing deadlifts with the incorrect form. First noticed the heel pain in maybe around 2016.

    My calves are very weak due to the disc protrusion on the nerve. It seem like it is always tight in spasm. If I attempt a single rep of calf raise with the full stretch and contraction, it would cramp. I supposed the nerve was pressed on L5S1 has died over the years? My big toes are also partially numb.

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,389
    edited 08/01/2019 - 9:38 AM
    hello hotsauce3mk

    Welcome to Veritas Health Forum

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    please click on the welcome link below as well as the system tutorial.

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  • tjlazerttjlazer TacomaPosts: 121
    It is a bit odd that you don't have much leg or butt pains.  How about back pain, have you had any at all?  Even in the past?  I have had incidents of back pain that wouild then go away over the pasy 25 years.  This on going pain and recovery took it's tolll on my poor sciatic nerves and now I have sciatica down both legs and feet.  I also have numb burning and painful feet.  Had a Micro D in Jan '17 at L5/S1 as it was pushing on the S1 nerves.  Hoping to get better but it can take years for nerves to heal.
  • thank you everyone for your responses.

    kundabuffer- i have been given a definitive diagnosis on the disc herniation but no doctor since then has given me a definitive answer on whether or not that's causing my foot pain. so yes, it would seem "obvious". but between my podiatrist, pt, and neurologist, they all seem to have different opinions on what's causing it and think there's more going on. which is very frustrating. i've posted on a forum just to see if anyone has had this specific issue as my doctors say they haven't come across anyone that has only foot/heel pain from a herniation and hardly any back, leg or butt pain. 

    potassiummix and marwin- thank you, this actually makes a lot of sense. my calves (and lower leg muscles in general) have always felt just unusually weak (but not painful) since this all started. it does feel like the load bearing/alignment could be off and i can tell my right foot is bearing more weight than my left, and that's where most of the pain is. i'll bring this up to the chiropractor i'm seeing this afternoon.

    tjlazer-  no back pain at all since this all started. 8 or 9 years ago when i was lifting, i pulled a muscle pretty bad in the lower back and it was painful for about a week, but then it went away. no other back pain since then. hope you feel better.

    thanks again!

  • Yes!  My husband had the same thing, very little leg pain, but constant pain in both feet. We spent 9 months on every possible test and imaging before someone bothered to X-ray his back. Then another 9 months before he had surgery. He's 4 weeks post-op and we hope it did the trick. 
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  • @HubsBackSux Thanks for your comment. How is his foot pain now that he's had the surgery? I'm giving physical therapy one more try for 6-8 weeks before I do the surgery. 

  • It's a s-l-o-w healing process. He was compressed for 18 months, then had a laminotomy, facetionomy, nerve decompression, removal of bone spurs, shaving of ligaments, and a foraminotomy. They say 12 weeks to see improvement, up to a year to heal. Still, we would do it again. He couldn't go on living this way. Nothing conservative worked, and his PT told us no amount of therapy could ever pull the bone spurs out of his nerves. Time will tell. 

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  • There can be several reasons behind your foot problems but
    the most common ones are as follows:

    Bunion, Corns and Calluses, Gout, Plantar
    Warts, Athlete's Foot, Fungal Nail Infection, Hammertoe,
    Toenail, Flatfoot (Pes Planus) etc.

    You might of heard about some of theses and also don’t know
    about some others. So, get complete knowledge about these foot problems and try to cure it
    immediately otherwise the problem gets alleviated and leads to incurable stage.

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  • LizLiz Posts: 2,256

    This is an old discussion created by a member no longer on the forum so I have to close it.

This discussion has been closed.
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