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Sciatica
sciatica can cause heel pain.

Sciatica causes pain that begins slowly and can grow progressively worse over time.

If you have pain that runs from your buttock down the back of your thigh to your lower leg and even to your toes, it is likely you are experiencing a common condition called sciatica. The pain is named after the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back and down the back of each leg.

Generally, sciatic pain affects only one side of the body. The pain can be mild to debilitating and vary in intensity depending on your activities and other factors. For example, the amount of time you stand or sit, sleeping on a soft mattress, pregnancy, being overweight, wearing high heels and hard impact (such as from running) can make the pain worse.

Symptoms

At the Heel Pain Center of Atlanta, the doctor will conduct an examination and ask whether you are experiencing other common associated symptoms, such as:

  • Tingling or burning sensation down the back of the leg
  • Difficulty moving your leg or foot because of weakness or numbness
  • Pain that shoots down the leg, which makes it difficult to stand
  • Chronic pain in one buttock
  • Leg and/or buttock pain that is worse when sitting


Typically the pain begins slowly and can grow progressively worse over time. The pain also may increase after standing or sitting for prolonged periods, when sneezing or coughing, at night or when bending backward.

Causes of sciatic pain

Sciatica is caused by factors that irritate the root of the lower (lumbar) spine. One of the more common causes is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar region (spinal stenosis). Other causes can include a slipped vertebra (spondylolisthesis), degeneration of the discs, piriformis syndrome (involvement of a muscle in the buttocks), tumors, and injury to the pelvis.

Treatment options

Some patients experience symptom relief over time without the need for treatment. Nonmedical treatment options include exercise and physical therapy, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen) and alternating heat and ice packs.

Some patients benefit from injections of steroids into the affected area. Alternative medicine options include acupuncture, chiropractic and massage. Surgery is generally reserved for severe cases that do not respond to other treatments.

If you are experiencing sciatic pain and live in the Atlanta or the South Atlanta Metro area, the professional staff at the Heel Pain Center of Atlanta can help. Call to make an appointment today.