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What is sciatica of the lower leg?



Any pain in the lower leg area caused by irritation and damage to the sciatic nerve is known as sciatica of the lower leg. Sciatica can be categorised as chronic (more than six weeks) or acute (less than six weeks). The sciatic nerve runs from the back of the pelvis to the feet and can cause symptoms at any level. Physiotherapy is a successful treatment for sciatica of the lower leg.


How does sciatica of the lower leg happen?



There are a number of causes of sciatica of the lower leg. These include prolapsed discs, spinal stenosis and infection which can all irritate the sciatic nerve. Direct trauma to the spine is a more rare cause of sciatica of the lower leg and may occur in road traffic accidents and a fall from height.


What are the symptoms of sciatica of the lower leg?



There are various symptoms of sciatica of the lower leg. The main symptoms include referred pain in the lower leg, pins and needles and numbness in the affected areas. Additional symptoms can include:

What should I do if I have sciatica of the lower leg?



If you notice any of the above symptoms of sciatica of the lower leg, it is important to seek a professional opinion as soon as possible. This will give you an idea on what the best management is for your condition. You may need to have various tests including X-rays, MRI scans and CT scans. They will help identify the affected structures and determine the severity of the sciatica. Physiotherapy is an integral part of your rehabilitation as should be started as soon as possible.


What shouldn’t I do if I have sciatica of the lower leg?



Do not continue with any sports or hobbies that you think may be making your symptoms worse. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise you on activities that can and cannot be carried out. Do not ignore your symptoms as this will delay the healing process further.


Physiotherapy treatment for sciatica of the lower leg.



Physiotherapy is an effective way of treating the symptoms of sciatica in the lower leg. The content of your rehabilitation programme will depend on your condition and what goals you may have. Physiotherapy should always be tailored to suit your needs and may include a home exercise programme and electrotherapy. Other treatments can include:

Are there any long-term complications of sciatica of the lower leg?



The length of rehabilitation for sciatica of the lower leg will depend on how long you have had the symptoms and their severity. The symptoms of sciatica are usually reduced within a course of physiotherapy treatment. However in more serious instances, surgery may be advised to ensure that the sciatic nerve is no longer being irritated. Physiotherapy remains an important part of the rehabilitation following any surgical procedures for sciatica of the lower leg.

To book a physiotherapy appointment, please call Physio.co.uk on 0330 088 7800 today.


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