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    What causes constant vibration and pulsating feeling in the sole of the foot?

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Posted on Fri, 11 Aug 2017 in Brain and Spine
Question: I've had a vibrating pulsating sensation on the bottom of my foot on and off since this morning. I've been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. What do you think is going on and what can I do about it?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 54 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

Such abnormal sensations such as vibration are usually found in the case of peripheral nerve issues. Peripheral nerve damage can have several causes. In your case given the history of lumbar stenosis the primary suspect would be irritation of a nerve root, most probably the S1 nerve root which covers that area.
Other possible causes of nerve issues might be diabetes, long term alcohol abuse, nutritional issues like vitamin B12 deficiency etc, the list can be long.

In some cases though it may also be related to anxiety and not nerve damage.

In any case it is not a threatening issue necessitating an urgent intervention. So I would give it a few days as at times such sensations may disappear on their own, probably due to anxiety. If persisting then a test called nerve conduction study would be advised to check for the type of damage. If due to nerve root compression then no need to search further given the knowledge of lumbar stenosis. If nerve conduction studies show damage to be more peripherally then some more blood tests might be needed to search for the other causes I mentioned before.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 11 minutes later
Thank you. If it is nerve damage does that mean the sensation will not go away? Is there some treatment or medication to relieve the discomfort?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 7 hours later
Brief Answer:
Depends on the cause

Detailed Answer:
Sorry for answering a little late.

It doesn't necessarily mean it won't go away. It depends on the cause and whether it can be removed. If due to nerve root compression, some of the compression is also due to local inflammation and as inflammation subsides it may go away. Same goes if there is a traumatic damage to a peripheral nerve. As for metabolic causes it again depends on the cause and whether it can be corrected.
For the moment I wouldn't take any medication, only rest. If persisting and nerve damage is confirmed by nerve conduction studies then medication like Gabapentin may be considered.

Let me know if I can further assist you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 9 hours later
Thanks. I'm already taking gabapentin. It doesn't seem to help. Someone else also is taking it for nerve pain and it is helping him either. Does that medicine really work? Would you expect etodolac to be more effective? Does that have to be taken on a continual basis or just as needed?

Thanks.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 33 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
Gabapentin is a first line treatment for neuropathic and chronic pain. They are difficult to treat, there isn't any medication which helps all patients, the success rate of Gabapentin from studies is at about 55-60%.
Etodolac is used for pain treatment, it is an anti-inflammatory analgesic. I would expect it to work for inflammation related to spinal stenosis. It is something to be used for short term only though, as long term regular use may have some side effects. Also if pain is due to other causes of neuropathy shouldn't be as effective doesn't modulate nerve signals like medication for neuropathic symptoms.
If Gabapentin doesn't work for you maybe antidepressants which are another first line option for chronic and neuropathic pain may be attempted, like duloxetine.
However we are speaking of a vibrating feeling which has started only yesterday and hopefully will be transitory. Before delving any further in medication used for chronic neuropathic symptoms the diagnosis must be confirmed first through the steps I mentioned and I would consider such medication only if symptom is really affecting quality of life and is persisting over time.

Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 12 minutes later
Thanks very much. Just one more question: for etodolac, how would you define short-term use?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
Your question is a tough one I must admit. There is not an established threshold, a defined period. It depends also on the person's age and accompanying conditions.

Personally I would define short term use not more than 1 week in a row and for not more than 2 weeks a month. As I said there is not a definition, simply try to save it for when symptoms are exacerbated, not use it on a daily basis.

I hope to have been of help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 43 minutes later
Very helpful. Thanks very much
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Hope you'll feel better soon.

Detailed Answer:
Hope you'll feel better soon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Olsi Taka

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