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Injections caused foot drop?

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Old 03-23-2005, 07:14 PM   #1
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ladybird988 HB Userladybird988 HB User
Injections caused foot drop?

I have noticed a few people lately have mentioned that they think injections, cortisone or nerve blocks, caused their foot drop.

I had leg weakness but no foot symptoms until I had a lumbar block, and then 4 days later, I awoke with stabbing leg pain and on day 5 awoke unable to lift my toes. I then had surgery 10 days later to "save my leg" as I had to practically walk on crutches, except that I couldn't bend that much due to the back pain.

I asked my doctor if the lumbar block caused the foot drop and he said no. He said I was well on my way to foot drop, so why didn't he do surgery before I go the foot drop???

He said I would have had bad pain immediately after the injection. Well, it hurt like h ll when he performed it, then felt okay. But hurt more for 3 days. Then leveled off and I got foot drop. I looked it up in my diary.

I am going to mention it to him again, as i think that lumbar block, even though it was done under xray, gave me foot drop and I think even though he says I'll heal in 3 years, that I am permanently disabled. It has been 8 mons since surgery, and my foot pain is worse.

I am furious and devastated that what started as a back problem, has left me disabled barely able to walk. It just isn't right. My accupuncturist warned me not to do the lumbar block. But the doctor wouldn't perform surgery until he had tried the corisone injection first, so I felt I had to do it.

I am curious if anyone else had foot drop come on right after or soon after an injection?

Also, I still cannot sit and am 8 mons post op, and he now wants to do a cortisone shot. I told him no more shots! He said this one won't be deep. Can anyone tell me anything about this?? Was my nerve just so messed up that placing corisone in there just inflammed it worse??

By the way, my lumbar block only increased my pain. Did nothing to lessen it.

I had a compressed sciatic nerve L4/L5 that had herniated onto the nerve.


I need to find out if the nerve block caused my foot drop, because when I asked the doctor if he'd ever had anyone have any complications from the lumbar block, he said no. And I am thinking that I did have a complication, a very serious one, and he ought to know that, and his record isn't what he thinks it is.

Am I wrong?

What are your stories? I'm barely hanging on anymore and wondering if life is worth living anymore. I had another MRI today to see if disk has reherniated. If so, that means a new disk. But that won't heal the foot drop and leg weakness.

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Old 03-24-2005, 11:40 AM   #2
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Disc HB User
Re: Injections caused foot drop?

I am scared to death ,i have a nerve root block in couple of days,What is the immidiate respose to these nerve blocks does the pain in leg and back go away on the spot or what,how the doc uses it as a dignostic tool.

Old 03-24-2005, 02:02 PM   #3
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mtngirl62 HB User
Re: Injections caused foot drop?

I truely believe that the cortizone shots caused my foot drop. The same day they did the shots in my hips I developed problems dragging my left foot. It came and went for years. About 3 weeks ago it flared up and is almost unbarable. Not necessarily pain just lots of pressure, tingly, and I am SO SO SO tired of falling. My toes drag when I try to walk. I have no more skin left to scrap off my knees and elbows. I am still awaiting the results of my MRI from last Friday. I am afraid another surgery is in the wings. I am so tired of surgeries and wonder if my body can stand another one so soon. I have had two major ones in the last 4 months. Good luck to you. If there is any information or web sites you can share I would appreciate it.

Old 03-25-2005, 01:01 PM   #4
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ladybird988 HB Userladybird988 HB User
Re: Injections caused foot drop?


Sorry to get back to you so late.

I will try to answer your questions as best I can, but that may not be too well. ASK YOUR DOCTOR.

yes, the doctor often uses it as a diagnostic tool. Mine wouldn't do surgery until he'd done the cortisone shot first, as some people do well with the shot. Their pain decreases for a few days, a few months, or longer. others get no pain relief at all. I think it depends too on what is wrong with yoru spine exactly.

I think he was using the shot as a diagnostic tool to see how bad off my back was.

For me, the shot was terribly painful (I now wish I'd told him to STOP and take it out). I had nothign for the pain other than a local anesthetic.

I then got more pain that day, and for the next three days, then it leveled off to w hat it was prior to s hot, then I awoke with stabbing leg pain (only had pain before, n ot stabbing) then next day foot drop.

You know, i dont' know what to tell you other than that.

Creepily enough, my mother told me when I was a little girl and my back was damaged (I was attacked and kicked in the back and pelvis by a man) not to ever let anyone put a needle in my back, as if she saw it happening long into my future whenI grew up. That was 30 years ago. She was psychic and would have premonitions. I think she saw my future and I should have listened. I thnk she saw me getting that shot and becoming disabled. I'm kickign myself for not having listened. But the doctor said the shot was safe and he'd had very few problems ever with complications. And he wouldn't consider surgery til he'd done the shot so I felt I HAD to have it.

Anyone else have problems?

Old 03-25-2005, 02:39 PM   #5
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tracer HB User
Re: Injections caused foot drop?

hmm well i had 2 injection before surgery but i had a limp and painful leg before the shots now after surgery i still have lower leg pain and dropfoot i cant really say but i think i had drop foot before the injections.

Old 03-26-2005, 02:52 PM   #6
injured betty
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injured betty HB User
Re: Injections caused foot drop?

I was scheduled to have a ESI about six months ago. The doctor told me to make sure that I have someone to drive me home as my leg might go out from the shot. I had never heard of this before so asked my DO what he thought. He said, *run*. He thought that if the doctor was actually telling you about this possible complication, he is covering his own behind because it has happened to someone in his care, before. I never went back to that doctor who was to give the shot.

just my two cents,

Old 03-27-2005, 07:08 AM   #7
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Re: Injections caused foot drop?

Well going by all this i think i should take a second opinion from another Specilaist before getting into all this.

Old 03-27-2005, 01:49 PM   #8
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jdlfmc HB Userjdlfmc HB User
Re: Injections caused foot drop?

Hi, I'm so sorry to hear this happened to you and I don't blame you I'd want answers also.
I've been dealing with spine problems now for close to 6yrs and know how frustrating it can all be.
I want to say however that you said the dr wouldn't do surgery with out first trying the injections.I was told by one of my drs that they had to try the injections first or the ins. co. wouldn't okay the surgery until other methods had been done and failed, unless the surgery was an emergency.
I only wanted to pass this along as it may be the reason, I don't know, the injections failed for me and I'm not operable and I now have permanant nerve damage.
I hope that this turns around for you soon and you are doing beter.

Old 03-27-2005, 02:55 PM   #9
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kt41577 HB User
Re: Injections caused foot drop?

I just had my second epidural on Thursday, and I did horrible! I wasn't able to walk for at least a 1/2 hour. now my left leg feels very heavy, and I noticed my foot drags a little. is that part of foot drop? can it come and go? or are the symptoms from the ESI? aslo during the injection, my doctor kept asking if I felt in my leg, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Old 03-27-2005, 04:43 PM   #10
injured betty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,137
injured betty HB User
Re: Injections caused foot drop?

The ESI are supposed to be used as a tool to see if it was just inflammation from a pulled muscle or ligament or maybe just moving incorrectly. If the ESI stops the pain and you never go back, then it was just temp pain. But, if there is a real problem, then the ESI is either not going to work at all, or just take the pain away momentarily.

The doctor has to offer them because it is part of insurance protocol, but you don't have to accept them. My husband had a neck fusion without ever getting ESI's. When they went in, he had a damaged nerve and herniated discs that no ESI's were going to help.

I think that it is just one of the ways that the doctors and the insurance companies use in order to get you through a period of time when you are in pain. We are a *instant gratification* society. We want pain relief, yesterday. ESI's sometimes do that, but given time, you might have healed on your own. I was told that the Medrol Pack is just as effective and less evasive but may the whole prompt and circumstane behind getting a shot makes you think that it is going to work. What other choice is there? And, those who don't educate themselves on the ESI's or those who want pain relief immediately, agree to the shots. Inflammation causes pain and ESI's stop pain, but only in certain circumstances. I have found that ice and Advil has more of an effect on my pain levels.

Bottom line, no one has to accept an ESI, no matter what they tell you. You just move to the next modality on the list.

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