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Swelling and pain in lower legs, feet and toes! Help!

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Old 02-05-2013, 08:14 AM   #1
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Swelling and pain in lower legs, feet and toes! Help!

Hi all,
Let me start out by telling you a little history about me. In 2006 I had a double fusion instrumentation on L3/4--L4/5 to get rid of scacia pain. A bout six months I noticed that I was leaning to the right. Scacia was gone though. But I was pitching to the right and leaning to the front. A second surgeon looked at me an said he could fix me. It would be a. Very big surgery as they fuse d from T12 to my pelvic. After the surgery it 'twas home to recover. Fast forward three months and I was pitching forward again. The same surgeon took me into surgery again and extended the rods up to T4. I was a little better and did alright for a few months, but slowly my body started bending over, and rods were breaking through my skin in back on my lower spine. I had screws popping through my skin also. The same surgeons removed them. I was bent over 50 degrees. I looked at the floor all the time. I started doing a lot of research and found a surgeon that handled only the worst cases. I qualified and on Oct.29th, 2012 a surgeon went in and fixed my sagittal imbalance and straightened me up. It was a ten hr. surgery. I have felt good for a couple months during recovery, and the a couple months in I started having swelling in my feet,ankles, and calfs of my leg. And there is burning and pain with it, I am walking every day. But it burns so bad sometimes! I take neurontin and oxycodone. In the morning the burning is sometimes in my shoulders, arms and hands of both arms. So add this to burning leg and feet, it's not a pretty picture. The. Last surgeon really had to do a lot of work on my spine to stand me up. And right after surgery, I was still in the hospital, I had the electrical shocks that ran up and down both legs. When they wanted me to get up it was horrible. Then they gave me Valium and it helped the electrical shocks, but I think it had something to do with what's going on now. Both my surgeon and my GP say it's nerves causing the symptoms, but they don't say nerve damage. So the also say it takes time for nerves grow back. Does that make sense? Should I wait a while, and then go to a neurologist? I hate to think I am fixed and standing so straight, but have been left with burning pain. Sorry this is so darn long. Any input would be deeply appreciated. I'm scared right now. Wish I knew for sure. Warmly, Linda(boomer)

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Old 02-05-2013, 08:39 AM   #2
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Re: Swelling and pain in lower legs, feet and toes! Help!

I usually post on the Back board, but happened to see your post. Many people develop swelling when taking neurontin. Also, when that many levels are fused, it can just take a really long time for the body to adjust and for all systems to begin to work normally again. I had a 3 level lumbar fusion and I recall it taking many months for the leg and foot swelling to go away...I can recall asking my surgeon about it and he just kind of shrugged his shoulders and indicated he wasn't sure why it was occurring.

I do know that I could take up to a certain dosage of neurontin. Anything beyond that, swelling would start in earnest.

You have had a really big surgery which has disrupted all the fascia and soft tissue in your lower spine. It will take awhile for everything to adjust to its new position and structural alignment. Everything is affected by alignment, beginning with the feet and moving on up to the head.

Nerves are notorious for healing very, very slowly. Many spine surgeons tell their patients that after a year, whatever progress they have achieved will be as good as it is going to get. However, I am 27 months post surgery and am still regaining feeling in my feet, toes, etc.

It is possible though with all your surgeries that you have developed a pain syndrome called complex regional pain syndrome, the new name for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome. The first symptom of this is burning pain. You might want to learn about it to see if it sounds like anything you are experiencing. Also, there is a separate board for RSD here on Healthboards.

Hopefully your body is still adjusting to the surgery and you will gradually start feeing better.

Old 02-06-2013, 08:17 PM   #3
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Re: Swelling and pain in lower legs, feet and toes! Help!

I have CRPS and the symptoms that I had when it first started was the burning and aching pain. Plus I get pain that shoots through my legs. Now that I have been in this for a little over eight months, I now have skin sensitivity. At times, anything rubbing against my skin will feel like sandpaper. I can touch my leg without pain but not anybody else. Mine started due to an ankle injury. For the longest time it was confined just to my foot. I had three nerve blocks performed on me and the third nerve block caused my CRPS to spread. It is now from my left ankle to my lower back. With CRPS, it really isn't nerve damage, it's just the sympathetic nervous system gets overactive and keeps firing pain signals. I agree with teteri66, you should look up CRPS and see if your symptoms go with this. Oh, I also have skin color changes. My bad leg at times turns red to a bluish/purple color. There is also a difference in the skin temperature. My skin is colder on the bad leg than it is on the good leg. Symptoms vary from person to person. Research is key!!! I wish you the best of luck!

Old 02-09-2013, 02:59 PM   #4
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Re: Swelling and pain in lower legs, feet and toes! Help!

I agree with the last post. RSD sounds like most of the symptoms that you have. It can start after a surgery or accident. I have had sellate ganglion shots in my cervical to help with the burning in my hand. I also have RSD in my feet although it started in my right foot. Not to much fun when it acts up. Good luck with your quest for answers

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