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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery
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I woke up with a numb ankle and cannot flex my ankle upward.

Resolved Question:

I woke up with a numb ankle and cannot flex my ankle upward.   I try and there is nothing. I also cannot engage the cafe muscle when flexing up. I can flex down, turn and do everything else with my ankle except flexing up. When I walk I do not have the heel to toe motion, my foot goes down all at once. Any idea what this can be. Doctor said there is no blood clot, fracture (took x-ray), no injury etc.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.
Do you have numbness over the top of the foot -- but the bottom of the foot is normal?

Do you have numbness over your shin as well?

Any back pain?
Outside of the knee pain?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The top of my foot and shin tinglies when touched. The ankle also tingles now and not so numb. I do have back issues and had surgery at the L-5 level 10 years ago. Does any of your diagnosis require surgery to fix this? I do not want to go through my life with only a half functioning foot since I"m only 48 and love to jog. As far as I know I do not have diabetes.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.

You are describing symptoms of a "foot drop", which can be either irritation of the L5 nerve root, or the peroneal nerve at the knee.

What makes me concerned is that you have had surgery at the exact level -- the L5 level -- where this L5 nerve could again be having issues causing your foot weakness and numbness.

It is impossible to know if this will require surgery, since you don't know exactly what is causing this.

Please tell your doctor about your history of back surgery at the L5 level, and ask for a MRI of the lumbar spine to evaluate this. Further testing would be with a neurology evaluation and a EMG test.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

It makes perfect sense on what you said and scary

to think my back is causing this problem. If it is indeed my back causing this, (sounds like it is) would it require more surgery to decompress the nerve? I know you can't tell me definite answers without MRI etc, but what is the possibility? I'm a realist and know that all opinions are just that unless there is evidence to back it up. I understand that your answer is only hypothetical at this time without the MRI.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.
Well -- one of the causes for a L5 foot drop is a herniated disc in the back putting pressure on the nerve.

This would be seen on a MRI, and if large, would probably require surgery.

However -- generally a herniated disc in this area would also cause pain that shoots down the leg.

So I really don't know -- but certainly the MRI should be done to make sure there isn't a potential surgically correctable reason for the foot drop.

There are other reasons for "foot drop", but given your history, making sure it isn't the lower back should be one of the first priorities.
Dr. Mark and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Can you give me some other reasons for "foot drop" so I can further research this and educate myself.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you very much for your time and I apologize for going on and on. My health is very important to me. Thanks again
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 7 years ago.
Hopefully you get some answers soon -- best of luck to you.