What numbness in your foot might mean

lumbar radiculopathy

I remember early in my physical therapy career, I saw a young man who had chronic foot pain and numbness.  He had seen doctors, chiropractors and therapists who treated his foot without any results.  I took him through a thorough evaluation and asked key questions like:

  • Where are your symptoms?
  • When are they worse?
  • Does any position or activity give help to lessen your symptoms or make them worse?

His answers helped me make the correct diagnosis.  It ends up he drives all day for work and that’s when his symptoms were worse. This is consistent with something called lumbar radiculopathy which, loosely translated means, a pinched nerve in the low back is referring pain and numbness down the leg to the foot.  The picture above illustrates some common patterns. If you have these symptoms you need to contact a health professional like a physical therapist that can treat your condition and educate you about prevention.  Don’t wait. Symptoms usually go away but come back worse eventually.

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