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    What causes radiating pain in lower left leg and foot

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Posted on Mon, 6 Jun 2016 in Pain Management
Question: Having lower leg (left) discomfort (aching pain) that travels as far down as instep of foot. No problem walking or running. Just a nagging discomfort for about a week now.
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Answered by Dr. Matt Wachsman 36 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Several points about pain.

Detailed Answer:
Several features of pain can be helpful in clarifying what is going on and the next steps for diagnosis and treatment.

Type of pain. Burning mostly means a nerve is having problems. This can be either a sick nerve or a nerve that has had an injury. Electrical, shooting would be others implying nerve source for pain.

Location of pain. There is a lot to this. First, if something goes in the pathway of a nerve, then that is the nerve involved. Nerves are long and the pain is in a belt-like long pathway. Smaller areas are smaller nerves. This also tends to say what might be going on. Obviously if there was an injury to the area and then there was pain outward from it "hit a nerve" would be a possibility. Sick nerves are MULTIPLE areas and tends to be the TIPS of the nerve not the whole nerve


Traveling in a pathway implies a pinched nerve and problems starting in the back are very common. Sometimes this can be from a tumor (the question I answered 2 minutes ago was about a fatty tumor right there with those symptoms; my wifes mother had a blood blister there causing the same pain. both of these can be surgically fixed). So, there is a strong reason to get doctor intervention (and an MRI). Frankly, it is much less common to have pain travel BACKWARD from the problem (pain shooting back from a hurting arch) then out. Likewise diabetic foot pain is rarely just ONE limb and it is at the ends of the foot and nerve and not traveling backward.

However, it is easy to tell if it is the heel because it would be tender to the touch. Pain from a disk in the back is also triggered by moving the part that hurts but that involves straight leg lifts and perhaps turning the torso to yank on the affected nerve.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Matt Wachsman

Addiction Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1985

Answered : 3703 Questions

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