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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM

foot, ankle pain, numbness swelling after back surgery and broken foot

by LH
(San Jose, CA. USA)

I'll try to make this understandable. In Jan/09 I had a fracture in my foot. At the same time I had a herniated disk and had to have diskectomy and lamonectomy done. After 4 days of hospitalization I came home with severe numbness in buttocks outer leg and foot. I also have constant swelling in the same foot and a lot pain, not just where the fracture is, but near ankle and heal. It's now been 6 months. I also have redness or discoloring of that leg and foot. Constant swollen foot. I get electicral shocks in the foot and prickling sensations all over that lower leg. After getting out of my cast I'm now unable to stand on one leg, tiptoe on that side, lift up on that foot. My foot dr. re-xrayed my foot and said it was completely healed. My question to you is...Why all this swelling, pain, unable to walk more than a few steps, and can't bear weight, tiptoe, or lift up on that foot? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. I can't get in answers or help with this. LHowsmon

Hi LH,
The short answer is I think your symptoms are the result of your back surgery and not your broken bone.
Swelling, tingling, numbness, discoloration are all fairly common after back surgery. Why not contact your back surgeon and let he or she take a look at you.
Marc Mitnick DPM

Comments for foot, ankle pain, numbness swelling after back surgery and broken foot

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Oct 16, 2018
Foot swelling and pain after back surgery
by: Richard

I had fusion surgery on lower back on August 16th 2018. I am now two months post surgery and have terrible pain and some swelling in my left foot, ankle and calve. I start the day off with mild pain and some swelling but by noon the swelling and pain have increased that I already begin wishing it was bed time so I can be pain free. I take Gabapentin and Tylenol during the day but prior to bed I also take Tizanidine which seems to both kill the pain and reduce the swelling. After much complaining to my doctor he ordered an MRI and KT Scan which shows a build up of fluid in the area of the surgery. I am waiting now for an appointment for him to review the Scans and to tell me what is wrong. Had I known this would be a long lasting side effect I would never had done the surgery. The spinal surgeons it appears have so many patients that just getting an appointment for follow up is a joke. They are too busy performing the surgery which is far more lucrative.

Dec 21, 2016
need answers. HELP!
by: linda

recent laminectomy with disectomy, after surgery had weight bearing problems left leg. unable to control the leg. must be lifted. now with severe pitting edema.v recent DVT. resolved. what can i do? i walk with walker, but can not pick leg up or kick out. therapy not helping related to swelling and weight of leg makes no control. i just want so possible answers. thank you.echoes
There is no easy answer here. I would suggest you get a second opinion from another back specialist.

Marc Mitnick DPM

Feb 15, 2016
Swollen ankle with some pain 12 weeks after laminar tony and discectomy of L4-5
by: Margaretkl

hi I am having pain and swelling in my left ankle, also my big toe is still with some numbness, a family doctor at a walk in clinic is really not Much help, they just seem to want to prescribe medication when what I really want is an explanation and what can really help this, wondering if I am just being impatient??it is quite bothersome normally at end of day.....

Oct 27, 2015
Foot swelling after discectomy
by: Anonymous

I am post L4-5 microdiscectomy of 11 weeks and still having foot and ankle swelling mainly left side where my symptoms were preop. I am walking but not as much as I want because of severe right heel Achilles tendonitis. The neurosurgeon said recovery is 4 to 6 months. I am doing some stretching exercises he recommended. My left ankle and outer calf has more pain than before surgery. My symptom was nerve pain and transient numbness in upper left thigh. I did have a sermon develop following surgery. That delayed my walking for longer than 15 minutes for nearly 3 weeks. The sermon resulted in regards sidual sciatica type pain on left. It seems to be lessening g. Question is mainly why am I having the swelling and how long will it remain? -Thanks to readers and hoping for a reply.sprite

Nov 08, 2012
foot tingling after my surgury
by: Anonymous

I had a Tumor removed from the bottom of my foot 2 weeks ago,still have the stitches in...i am having alot of tingling in my toes and side of my normal is this???i have to stay off this foot for four weeks and i have been keeping my foot elevated..

Sep 14, 2011
swollen ankles and fee after 7 months post op back surgery
by: Anonymous

I have since June 2011 had swollen feet and ankles. I had my back surgery Feb 2011. I have been tested for kidney problems, gout, etc. Please can someone help me with this

Jun 30, 2011
Spine surguries and knee and ankle swelling
by: Rick

Hi. 2 Years ago I had spine surgury that fused me from the top of my spine and to the bottom of my spine. Also I had 7"screws inserted into the bottom of the spine drilling into both sides of Pelvic.. Last year and into the present I have had swelling in my ankles and my knees to the point I cannot walk. Last night I began to have even my fingers filled with edema and have problems with lack of urine. Doctors are begining to just think of names for it just to get me out of their office.. But I need help and am tired of chronic pain...any advice..I did take lasix, but still no results.

Jul 19, 2010
weight bearing after oats 14 weeks post op
by: Pat

burning pins needles.walking on much pain in ankle joint now. fine all before no pain. now dr. said healed now walk, What is he crazt. my family are pushing me to walk what am i to long to bear weighy without excrueating pain HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jul 01, 2010
same problem
by: dbug74

I just had a L5-S1 laminectomy on June 14th. I was supposed to have a microdiscectomy but because the herniated buldge was hardened, my surgeon opted to shave the bone and loosen the nerves. Apparently it was a successful surgery (for the most part) but I'm still suffering from leg and foot weakness and numbness. I do have some deep pain in the back of my left thigh and calf and I'm still hobbeling around but now that I've returned to work (2 weeks after the surgery) I'm noticing that my left ankle is swelling and calf is kind of getting red. Should I be concerned?

Sep 21, 2009
Leg/foot problems - post back surgery
by: Jerry Lapple

2 1/2 months after back surgery/fusion. Foot numbness, swelling ankle, swollen soles sometime cause instability...slightly improving.
Leg stiffness continues but is lessening. Hamstring swelling pulling on partial knee replacement (1 1/2 yr ago) large problem. After
arising AM leg/hammy/knee pretty good however tire
throughout the day. Sitting aggrevates hammy causing increased knee discomfort and stiffness, condition is improving and I'm now walking fairly confident with less pains. Lower back pains lessening (almost tolerable), knifelike, sharp,
disabling pains are all but gone. Dull to annoying pains still sometimes linger. Recuperation is a long slow process. I have a friend who had same surgery, he and others all say it "takes a year". In the meantime I work out 6 days with 1 day off per week and the improvement is obvious. I do 3 "sets" as follows: 10 minutes stationary bike (0 resistance). 100 compresses on hand springs. 35 frontal leg lifts (35 lbs). 35 Bench presses (lying on bench)(40 lbs.) Make sure to stretch out legs and arms before starting. Drink water between "sets". Being patient is sometime difficult but it's working for me.

Aug 14, 2009
Your problem
by: Anonymous

Five months isn't very long for healing. With my experience of 4 shoulder surgeries, 1 knee surgery and 2 carpal tunnels, it takes just about a year to fully heal. I would just give it more time. My foot Dr had told me that the swelling is the last part to go away. Just my opinion. I'm not an expert.

Aug 14, 2009
by: Anonymous

I had foot surgery, Mortons neuroma & hammertoe repair in March 09. It's now August and my foot & leg swells daily. By the end of the day I have elephant ankles and the skin feels like it will pop. The foot dr. took xrays and said it's part of the healing process.
Sounds like a bunch of bull to me. My foot hurts more now that before the surgery.
Any thoughts?
ps, the leg feels cool like the other one to touch but the top of the foot feels warm

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(location unknown)
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San Clemente, CA

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Dr. Mitnick, Thank you, you were 100% correct. The pain finally brought me to the ER. I spent 8 days in the hospital. The Doppler you spoke of was able to show that there was no pulse in that foot. This was an arterial clot that split and traveled throughout my leg. My leg was almost amputated. I am in rough shape but have all my parts intact!! You certainly know what you are talking about. Thank you for taking the time to answer. Yours Truly!


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Seattle, WA

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New Jersey

Thanks so much for answering my question. You've been more help to me than my own Dr. has been lately. Thanks again....I hope to be able to walk without pain someday.


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Dear Marc

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San Diego, CA

Dr. Mitnick, Just want to say thank you so very much for your quick response and very informative reply! After reading what you had to say, I called the doctor's office and was able to get in and see him the same day as my injury. Toe was x-rayed and luckily, it is not broken or fractured. Very badly bruised and will probably lose the toe nail. And although my toe and toe nail are still very black and blue and very sore, they ARE both starting to feel a little better. So again, thank you! I am so very happy that I came across your website. The service you provide is outstanding and immeasurable!


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Whichita, KS

thanks again, this site is very helpful.


Boston, MA

Like others have stated...This site is amazing and I am so thankful that it was created.

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Thanks again for the information provided on your site. It's easy for non-medical folk to understand your writing, and helps provide better communication between patient and doctor.



Wonderful advice

by: Anonymous

This is the best site for foot problem info.

Thank you for this information. This description fits my pain and inflammation behind my 2nd toe perfectly.

by: Max

location unknown
Again, I really appreciate that you responded to my inquiry, and that your mention of Parkinson's helped me to find my way to a diagnosis of this difficult to diagnose disease. Most patients see on average 16 doctors before they are diagnosed. I hope that you can help other people that ask for your expertise in the future.

Barb D.

I just wanted to say that I am very greatful for this website!! I have had a fusion in my rt foot and am finally getting a little bit better......


location unknown
Again, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to answer my question....your an angel!


Thank you for your response. You have provided some great insight (to my question)....


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North Carolina
Many Thanks Dr Marc!
Thank you for your response. It sounds like a good plan to me. He did not cut the wart out first ...


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Bessie Mae

Dear Dr. Mitnick, Thank you so very much for taking your time to answer my question. You have greatly relieved my anxiety related to the continual tingly I feel in my feet. I will share your response with my podiatrist next week. God bless you for having this question and answer page on your website! Most gratefully,

Lynne T.

location unknown
Your webpage is excellent, I commend you on sharing your knowledge to the public.


New Jersey

Thank you. you were more detailed than what others have told me they finally called from the last xrays and my son is now in a cast for 2 weeks he did have a fracture that was not noticeable.

a mom

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I have read your website and I have to admit that I am amazed at all the information that is on here. I have learned more than the three years I have been going to several doctors that I have seen!!


Lenoir, NC

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Bellevue, WA

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