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Anthony Bray, MD
Anthony Bray, MD, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 10341
Experience:  14 years as clinician in the field of Family Practice
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My toes are numb and when I lay on my side, it's worse. I've

Customer Question

My toes are numb and when I lay on my side, it's worse. I've had back surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve but it's not better. I know have leg weakness and a drop foot on the left. I've seen every doctor around and no one can tell me what it is or what to do. I'm at the end of my rope. Any ideas?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
Hi--can you first tell me what you meant by saying that no one can tell you what the problem is?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have been to every kind of doctor available. No one can help me or tell me what to do. I run dog agility and I can't do it any more, It's killing me.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
Sorry for the delay. Have you had a recent MRI of your lumbar spine and nerve conduction studies?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Of course. I'm told nothing is wrong with my back and yet, the numbness that started in my left foot is now starting in the right.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
OK--what about the nerve conduction studies?
And what about a check of your vitamin B12 levels and a screening for autoimmune disorders?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Done, done, done. All fine.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
Sorry for all the questions but are you saying your leg nerve conduction studies are entirely normal despite a drop foot and numbness in your toes?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It showed a problem but MRI's with and without contrast show nothing, according to a neurosurgeon. Just forget it. We could go back and forth with questions forever.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
Then the problem is likely with a nerve pinch in your knee Have you seen a physiatrist--a physical therapy and rehabilitation MD specialist?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have and that is what I keep trying to tell these doctors and they say no, that's not it.
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
I see. So how exactly can I help you with this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just wanted another opinion. Thank you!
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 2 years ago.
Another opinion?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Never mind
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 2 years ago.
Just to interject my 2 cents here >>
You had surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve.. so I presume from this history that you had a radiculopathy ( a spinal nerve that may have been injured by compression perhaps from a ruptured disk??)
The nerve probably was already INJURED as you had the surgery. The underlying problem of compression on the nerve MAY HAVE been corrected but some damage to the nerve MIGHT not be reversible.( we often see some gradual improvement of a nerve injury for six months following...)
You note that symptoms increase with lying on your side. I note that when we lie on our side that we tend to scissor our legs apart and this rotates the pelvis and lower back. I think that is an important clue as to your ongoing problem. I recommend that when you lie down at night to lay on side with pillow between knees and if on back place 1 or 2 pillows under the back of the knees. These positions are helpful for more NEUTRAL positions of the lower back.
I think that you may benefit from follow up and second opinion from another NEUROLOGIST to review all your recent studies ( MRI and never conduction studies.)
I agree that further referral to rehab specialist may be of help for you but I would seek 2nd opinion from neurologist. I suspect that if you had follow up with neurosurgeon then this may have only led to conclusion that further back surgery is not indicated at this time. A surgeon is going to be most focused on your need for surgery or not...
I hope that this is helpful for you as you go forward. Best regards,
Anthony Bray MD