Can Foot Pain Be Caused by Spine Issues?

Today we’re going to go over the various causes of foot pain and assist you in figuring out what’s causing your discomfort.

Could sciatica be causing my foot pain?

Sciatica pain can shoot down your leg and into your foot if nerve roots in the lumbar or sacral spine (lower back) are irritated or compressed.

  • Pinching the S1 nerve, often known as typical sciatica, can result in discomfort on the outside of your foot.

A variety of factors can cause nerves to become pinched or inflamed.

Typical examples are:

  • Herniated discs in the lower back can cause the inner contents of the intervertebral disc to leak out.

  • Lumbar degenerative disc disease (LDD) is a type of degenerative disc disease that affect disc narrowing and shrinkage

  • Spondylolisthesis: A vertebra slipping over the vertebra just below it.

  • Narrowing of the pathway for spinal nerves and/or the spinal cord is referred to as lumbar spinal stenosis.

What About Foot Drop?

Foot drop is an inability to fully lift the front part of your foot, causing frequent tripping when walking. The compression of the L5 nerve root is the most common cause of this ailment. Also, compression of the L4 and/or S1 nerve can induce foot drop in rare cases.

When nerves in the hip, knee, or leg are compressed or injured, it can cause foot discomfort.

Consider the following example:

  • While trying to move your foot, peroneal neuropathy, a disorder in which the peroneal nerve is pinched or injured near the knee, may cause some pain in your foot and can also cause foot drop.

Injury to the sciatic nerve in the pelvic area can cause foot discomfort and weakness.

  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome, or tibial nerve dysfunction within the tarsal tunnel of the inner ankle, can cause intense shooting pain in the ankle and down the sole of the foot.

Sural Nerve

The sural nerve is a cutaneous nerve that only provides sensation to the lateral aspect of the foot, heel, and ankle, as well as the posterolateral portion of the distal third of the leg.

Sural neuritis can happen in the leg or around the ankle, causing shooting pain along the outside of your ankle and/or foot.

Other Causes

A corn may also form on the skin around your toes. Corns form as a result of constant contact and can compress adjacent nerves, producing discomfort and other symptoms.

How to figure out what’s causing your foot discomfort.

With so many probable reasons for nerve pain in the foot, pinpointing the exact underlying cause can be challenging.

  • Foot discomfort that occurs as a result of a recent injury to the lower back, hip, knee, or ankle may suggest the location of nerve damage.

  • A nerve that is compressed can cause foot discomfort as well. However, it usually affects one leg at a time.

  • Foot pain that arises after wearing tight boots or shoes at the knee or ankle could indicate peroneal or sural nerve compression.

  • Sciatic neuropathy can cause foot pain following a hip injection or surgery.

  • Nerve discomfort in the foot can also be caused by nerve damage from systemic diseases like diabetes or multiple sclerosis.

  • Foot discomfort can result from injury of foot bones, the ankle joint, damaged blood vessels, or injured muscles and/or tendons.

To accurately diagnose the reason for your foot pain, make an appointment with your doctor. Treatments for foot pain vary significantly and must focus on treating the underlying cause rather than simply concealing the symptoms. A herniated disc in the lumbar spine, for example, may require heat therapy and exercise, whereas a corn on the toe may usually be treated with specific shoes and warm water.

In Closing

Foot discomfort can be caused by injury, overuse, or conditions that produce inflammation in any of the ligaments or tendons in the foot. Foot pain is frequently caused by arthritis. Injuries to the feet’s nerves can cause excruciating scorching pain, numbness, and tingling (peripheral neuropathy).

If you are in need of physical therapy in the Asheville, NC area, reach out to us here at 1on1 Physical Therapy!


If you enjoyed this article, you may also like: What Are Torn Muscle Symptoms & How Is It Treated?

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