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What Causes Buzzing Sensation In The Left Foot?

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Posted on Mon, 20 Nov 2017
Question: Hi,
I seem to be getting a buzzing in my left foot which started about 12 hours ago. It is continuous and there is buzzing for about half a second before stopping for half a second as well.
Sometimes the buzzing can be slightly shorter or longer and it can vary in intensity slightly. There is sometimes a pause of about 5 or 10 seconds.
Possible related incidents are that I have tried to lift or position a large filing cabinet. Also I have been wearing quite a heavy backpack and after wearing the backpack last night, the buzzing seemed to have a sudden onset. What could be the cause of this?


Thankyou.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ishu Bishnoi (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Probable differential diagnosis and need more information

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX thanks for asking from HCM.


I can understand your concern. The buzzing feeling in foot is most probably positive sensory symptoms. The sensory symptoms in foot is usually due to tibial and/or perineal nerve involvement (L4-S2 nerve roots). These nerves can be involved due to various causes like

- Disc disease in lumbar spine
- Peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes mellitus, alcohol, age related, drugs.
- Direct nerve injury
- Neuritis
- Mass lesion of bone compressing nerve
- Vitamin deficiency like B12, folic acid

To know the cause, I need more information about you. Kindly answer following questions

- Is there any pain, current like sensations?

- Is there any history of diabetes mellitus, alcohol intake?

- Is there any history of direct injury to spine or foot?

- Did you get any investigations done? If yes, please send me the reports.

- Do you feel tingling, numbness, insect crawling feelings also?

- Is there any history of long standing illness?

Hope you will understand my point. If any doubt, do let me know.
Thanks. Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Ishu Bishnoi (1 hour later)
Thanks Dr Bishnoi,

To answer the questions:
There isn’t really any constant pain although possibly at times there is some pain on the left toes and there do seem at times to be slight pins and needles or sharp sensations but these also affect the right arm and hands and maybe seem to affect the right more than the left even though the buzzing is only on the left.
The pain on the back apart from lower back few days before from lifting before, seems to be in the central back area in between the shoulder blades and might be related to carrying the backpack.
I don’t have a history of diabetes mellitus but do have slightly high glucose readings about 5.7. I normally don’t take alcohol but had a slight drink on the day.
I don’t have history of obvious injury to spine or foot except soreness in the back upon lifting heavy weights some times and mostly during travel. I did have a bit of lower back pain after lifting the cabinet as mentioned. There could be unknown injury caused from heavy backpacks of about 7 kgs.
I have not yet had investigations but will do some blood tests.
I don’t at this time have numbness but there is some tingling as mentioned but it is very slight.
I don’t really have any history of significant illness.


Thankyou.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ishu Bishnoi (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
History interpretation

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX welcome back.


Thank you for providing the answers and detailed history. Your pain, buzzing sensations are most probably due to lifting weight. It can cause some pressure on nerve or stretching of nerve and muscle both. This might be the cause.

As there is no history of diabetes mellitus, chronic alcohol, chronic pain, no weakness, no there chronic illness, the chances of neuropathy and permanent nerve damage are highly unlikely.

You will recover in some time. You can follow few steps to get relief

- Avoid lifting weight and strenuous activities for at least 3 weeks.
- Do stretching exercise to make muscles flexible.
- If pain, tingling, buzzing sensations increase, take tablet Pregabaline to get relief.
- At pain site over back, apply hot fomentation, diclofenac gel to get relief.
- You can also take nerve specific vitamin like B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine.

If still no relief, consult neurologist for local examination. Investigations like MRI lumbosacral spine, nerve conduction velocity will rule out any nerve damage.

If you have any doubts, do let me know.
Thanks. Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Ishu Bishnoi (32 hours later)
Thanks Dr Bishnoi,

I will follow the steps as advised.

Would light running be advisable or would it put pressure on the spine? Is it possible based on the symptoms to determine likely injury site whether it is localised to the left leg or which area of the spine might be affected? At this stage, I have noticed some sharp sensations which are a little painful on the left foot if moving the toes, particularly the large toe.

Is a nerve conduction study able to pick up light injury and to determine site or can it determine the level of injury to the nerve site?



Thankyou.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ishu Bishnoi (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Spine injury site

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX welcome back.

Avoid running, however you can walk.

Your symptoms are on left side, pain is reaching up to toes. This is suggesting L5 to S2 nerve roots. If big toe is more involved, it should be L5. If rest toes are more involved, it should be S1. If the plantar aspect is more involved, it should be S2.
Here, L means lumbar and S means Sacral.

Nerve conduction study can pick partial or complete damage to the nerve. However, it usually becomes positive after 2-3 weeks post-injury. It can tell the value of nerve root or type of nerve. It can not tell the cause of nerve injury.

Hope It will help you. If any doubt, do let me know.
Thanks. Take care.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Ishu Bishnoi (3 days later)
Thanks Dr. Bishnoi,

Lastly should I try to maintain an upright posture and avoid any bending in the area of the site? I have a sofa which doesn’t really have much back support and the lower back would be curved when seated. Would using ergonomic chairs be helpful?


Thanks,
Regards.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ishu Bishnoi (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Straight posture is best

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX welcome back.


For preventing any back pain and disc disease, the best posture is straight posture. Don't use that sofa which dose not provide back support. Ergonomic chair or back supporting sofa will be best for your spine.

Also avoid sitting for more than 1 hour. After every hour, either stand and walk or lie down. Prolonged sitting is not good.

Hope it will help. If you have any doubts, do let me know.
Thanks. Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
doctor
Answered by
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Dr. Ishu Bishnoi

Neurologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2007

Answered : 901 Questions

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What Causes Buzzing Sensation In The Left Foot?

Brief Answer: Probable differential diagnosis and need more information Detailed Answer: Hi XXXXXXX thanks for asking from HCM. I can understand your concern. The buzzing feeling in foot is most probably positive sensory symptoms. The sensory symptoms in foot is usually due to tibial and/or perineal nerve involvement (L4-S2 nerve roots). These nerves can be involved due to various causes like - Disc disease in lumbar spine - Peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes mellitus, alcohol, age related, drugs. - Direct nerve injury - Neuritis - Mass lesion of bone compressing nerve - Vitamin deficiency like B12, folic acid To know the cause, I need more information about you. Kindly answer following questions - Is there any pain, current like sensations? - Is there any history of diabetes mellitus, alcohol intake? - Is there any history of direct injury to spine or foot? - Did you get any investigations done? If yes, please send me the reports. - Do you feel tingling, numbness, insect crawling feelings also? - Is there any history of long standing illness? Hope you will understand my point. If any doubt, do let me know. Thanks. Take care.