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Drop Foot Pain anyone??
TTurtles posted:
Hi Everyone, I am new here and have been looking for some info or just plain support for my drop foot.

I had major reconstructive back surgery Oct 16, 2009. L-3 to S1 at the UWMC. When I woke up from surgery I could no longer move my right foot. Oct 23, 2009 they went back in to move a screw over. Still couldnt move my foot. Oh and by the way those were my 5th & 6th back surgeries. Between the the 2 surgeries, my kidneys started failing and I bloated up, I was huge, they estimated I gained 20 pounds in just fluid, so much fluid that it was seeping out of an old scar on my leg. Then all of a of sudden the kidneys started working. I ended up in the hospital for 12 days. The medical community at the UW was wonderful, they fitted me with all the braces and gadgets that I would now need since I could no longer walk normally. I was loaded on tons of medications that I figured the Drop Foot wasnt gong to affect my life too much. They also set me up with a Bone Growth Stimulator to help with my fusion. The day after Thanksgiving my back became infected. Ended up back at the UW for another 8 days, they had to do a wash-out surgery. I came home with a PICC Line(Nafacilin) and also 2 oral antibiotics(Levaquin & Rifampin). Had the PICC Line taken out in mid January 2010. But still taking oral antibiotics. Started weaning down on the pain meds(10mg Oxycodone, top was 24 pills a day) at the end of Jan. 2010. As I weaned down, the more my Drop foot started hurting. It burns, stabs, pricks, contracts and spasms. My best definition is, if you imagine a downed live power line on the ground snapping all over, that is what is happening inside my foot.

I am down to just 20mgs of Oxy a day since March 2010. In July they finally started trying other meds. Also taking 2700mg of Neurotin a day, and 600 mg of Tegretol. My surgeon commented back in Feb 2010 why I was complaining about my foot hurting. Told him it had to be the reduction in pain meds since I did fine from Oct to Jan. He just looked at me. He had been holding off on doing anything until they knew my infection was gone. Stopped taking the antibiotics Oct 13th 2010. Have had clean blood work every month since then, which is great news. Because they were going to go back in and remove all the hardware they put in. My back feels great, best it has felt in the last 20 years.

Today my surgeons office called and suggested getting a neuro-stimulator implanted to control the pain in my foot. But I am not so sure. I wanted them to just completely sever the peroneal nerve to my foot.

Can anyone help me out, any advice??
Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Tturtles,

I'm sure others will be responding when they can but, in the meantime, I wanted to welcome you here. You've found a wonderful place here.
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you'll help them to become what they are capable of becoming. ~Goethe
David Maine, MD responded:
Thanks for joining the community. It sounds like things have been a quite struggle. I am glad to hear your back is better. As for your foot...a spinal cord stimulator may be a viable option. The advantage of this as a therapy is that it is non-destructive (i.e. - compared to "cutting" the nerve) but it is an implantable device and is not to be taken trivially. You should talk with a pain specialist in detail about this option. This is typically conducted in two parts. A trial is done first whereby an electrode is placed into the epidural space via a needle. You go home for 4-7 days and get to see if your pain improves with use of the device. If successful, then you can move forward with permanent implantation. There are surgical techniques that can address a specific nerve if in fact that is the cause. These typically involve cutting and burying the nerve into tissue or bone. The issue with this is that your pain may not improve. That is a real risk with any type of neurolysis procedure. Unfortunately, that can be an issue with almost any therapy. Sometimes there are other blocks that can help address this pain. You should discuss this with a pain specialist. Also, there are myriad of medications that can be used to try an address your neuropathic pain. Do not loose hope — these things can be treated! I hope this proves helpful. Best of luck.
annette030 responded:
I am sorry, I just do not know enough about this kind of thing to be helpful. I will think good thoughts for you, and hope all goes well whatever you decide to do.

Take care, Annette
SpitfireMama responded:
I read your post and finally registered on WebMD just so I could respond to you. I have also had 6 back surgeries, but my outcome has not been as good as yours. I'm very happy your back pain is doing better. As far as your foot goes, I had some similar issues after my 3rd surgery, but it did get better.

I specifically wanted to address the neuro-stimulator implant. JUST BE CAREFUL! I had an implant and then had to have it removed after just 2 years. It never helped with my pain, but it did manage to create additional pain. It is possible that the implant was incorrectly placed. I used to hit it on everything. Because it "stuck out" slightly from the upper buttock/hip area (especially after I had lost some weight), I was constantly bumping it on chairs. The real problems came upon removal. The implant site is still extremely painful even though it was removed 5 years ago. Almost 4 years ago, I elected (after it was suggested by my pain mgmt doctor) to have the remainder of my hardware removed (2 sets of rods with pedicle screws - had to leave a cage placed at L5/S1). At that time, they also removed the lead lines that had been attached to the neuro-stimulator. It ends up that the lead lines were defective. I was in the hospital for 13 days after that surgery due to spinal "nicks" and the ensuing massive headaches that were brought on if I tried to sit up past a 20 degree angle. I tried returning to work, but my back finally got the best of me after that surgery. I had to file for disability and give up a wonderful career.

I wanted you to know that I can truly empathize with you, but I also want to tell you to be very careful in making any decisions for additional surgeries. I too considered severing a nerve, but after doing my own research, I decided that I don't want to take that least not yet. I have a friend with an implanted morphine pump and she has not had any issues with it. I don't know if that's an option or if it would help your foot, but maybe you could check into that.

I wish you the best and it's great to hear someone say that they have had a major decrease in pain after having multiple back surgeries. It gives me hope for the future. Do your research on neuro-stimulators. If you decide that's the best option for you, I would also suggest you research the specific brand that your doctor uses. I won't state the brand I had, but there have been class action suits brought against them for defects.

Good luck!!
ladydistitches responded:
hi Tturtles,
I have also had back surgery and do still have radiating pain going down my right leg & foot. The anti-depressant Cymbalta has help this greatly. It has been approved for diabetic neuropathy and recently has been approved for chronic nerve pain so it might help you also.
I also have a procedure called radio frequency ablation or radio frequency leasioning to help reduce pain. In this procedure a probe is inserted into the back at the facet joint of the vertebra and radio waves are used to "cook" the nerve ending. For me it lasts about 8 month and the procedure can be repeated without ill effects. I go to a pain clinic for this treatment.
Maybe one of the above will be an option for you to investigate. Good Luck.
cinlouwho replied to Tarponfish's response:
I had drop foot. I went through a lot of trauma about 12 years ago. I went through diabetic ketonasadosis and that is what caused the drop foot. I wore a brace for almost a year and then I had physical theraphy. They used a tens unit and my physical terapist recommended b complex. I tried it and I went from The nueropathy from myknee to my foot. I have ahad a recovery of it only bening in the foot. Hope it helps.
59Lisa responded:
Understand what you are going through and am so thrilled to find WebMD is having a discussion on foot drop. It has been challenging to find a support network. I had a spontaneous bone fragment take out my right foot 13 months ago. No back pain and no prior surgery although had herniation 25 years prior. I had emergency surgery 30hours after fragmentation but still have foot drop. I bought a bed with foot board and keep a pillow to press my foot into at night. The night splint was too uncomfortable. My Mayo Clinic doctors say it can take up to 3 years for a nerve to regenerate(if it is going to do so). Have you researched muscle transpositions surgery? I also use an electrical stimulator one hour a day on my lower leg muscle, and take Neurontin and Lamictal. I found a foot brace to help with the lift at This is more comfortable to me than the regular AFO which is given to us.I can use this with a regular tennis shoe.
ladydi0624 responded:
I can relate to your back pain and a little of your foot drop. I have had back pain for as long as I can remember. I have had several back surgery's as well as a total knee replacement and two foot surgery's, I have neuropathy as well.

Now this is going to sound funny... One thing I have done for my foot is I take and elastic head band... The kind that looks like a pointy tail holder, put one end around the back of your heel (ankle). Twist it a few times, then put the other end around your big toe (on top of foot). When you look down it almost looks like a sandal on your foot. I came up with this method when I had my knee replacement. I have used it off and on ever since then. I was even able to wear my shoes with it on.

Now as far as the Neurostimulator implant. I have had mine for over 6 months. They didn't have to cut any kind of nerve endings. I did the trial first to see if it would even be a candidate. I was and it has helped me a lot. As far as a pain pump goes, I have heard horrible things about it.

I have had feet problems for around 30 or so years. Another, thing that might even help as well are injections to kill some of the nerves that are causing you the problem.

As far as pain pumps, I know a few people who have had them and do no recommend. Changed their mood really bad, also their is the risk of addiction. Good Luck I really wish you well....

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