Sciatic Nerve Pain and Foot Numbness

Updated March 2, 2018

Sciatic nerve pain causes numbness in feet, which can occur due to many reasons with or without the involvement of spinal cord. The sciatic numbness in the foot is often accompanied by pain, weakness and tingling sensation; and often diagnosed with "bone spur complex" and "herniated disc".

Sometimes, there is numbness in the foot but no associated pain in the spine or foot. This occurs as a result of deprivation of oxygen in the spinal nerves or local musculature.


The sciatic nerves, or the nerve roots at the bottom of the spine, are very sensitive. The inner segment of the disc contains proteins, which are inflammatory and can irritate the nerve. This segment may extrude or herniated. If part of the inner segment of the disc (the nucleus) comes near to the nerve, the nerve may become inflamed and irritated, resulting in sciatic nerve pain.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It runs from the base of one foot, up the back of the leg, through the lower back (right above the buttocks) and down the other leg to the bottom of the other foot.

There are so many way that someone can hurt their sciatic nerve. Common reasons for an injured sciatic nerve include:

(1) Sitting in an office chair with the legs up on a desk, and then you sneeze. The sneeze causes the lower back to lurch forward in an unnatural way, causing an injury to the sciatic nerve.

(2) Turning wrong while holding something heavy.

(3) Bending down to pick something up.

(4) Sitting on the toilet and twisting to get toilet paper.


Sciatica symptoms are of different types, and the severity of pain depends upon the conditions which cause the symptoms, as well as the individual tolerance of the pain.

The most common form of sciatica foot pain and numbness originating from the sciatic nerve is described with the following four symptoms:

(1) It usually occurs in a single leg.

(2) It begins at the buttock or lower back, and then continues down to the lower leg, back of the thigh and the foot.

(3) It is usually experienced as a sharp and acute pain, in contrast to dull ache or throbbing pain. Such sciatic nerve pain is explained by patients as include searing, burning and sharp pain. This pain is usually located right where the sciatic nerve is injured, either to the left or the right of the tailbone area, right about the left or right side of the buttocks. It will be a sharp pain right there and most likely that are will be slightly swollen.

(4) Is often goes worse when standing or stationary. The patient feels better walking or when lying down.

(5) Another symptom of an injured sciatic nerve in addition to the pain down the back of either leg is muscle atrophy in the affected leg. It seems as if there are no muscles at all in the back of the thigh and the back of the calf. This loss of muscle can make it very hard to walk on the affected side, as if your foot will not work right.


Numbness in a single foot is related to "unilateral sciatica" and "bilateral sciatica" with both the foot. Regardless of the diagnosis, foot numbness is a typical sciatica symptom that experienced by most patients. It must however be remembered that numbness in the feet can also be raised by other different diseases or problematic conditions, including diabetes.

Numbness in feet (or in a single foot) usually gets worse when the body is stationary, regardless of the position. This may be caused by an inadequate or improper blood supply to a specific part of the body arising from total or partial blockage of artery. This condition is called "ischemia". In most patients, a decreased heart rate can contribute to a further deficiency of oxygenation, leading to escalation in the pain.


When you first hurt your sciatic nerve, the first treatment should be lying down and use an icepack. Do not use heat at first. Ice will help the swelling go down, which will help the pain. After a couple of days, you can start alternating with ice and heat. It is simple to use something like an Icy Hot patch.

Sciatica foot numbness can be treated with drugs, injections and surgery. Alternative herbal treatments and home treatments are also beneficial. Simple home treatments include hot and cold compress, preparations of garlic, potato juice, celery, horseradish etc.

Drugs should be the very last resort. Too many doctors will just prescribe pain killers and tell the person to just go home and lay down for a few days. This advice does nothing at all to heal the sciatic injury. Every chiropractor I have ever dealt with refused to give drugs, saying that drugs actually retard the healing of the injured sciatic nerve.

A good sports medicine doctor or chiropractor can show you the proper exercises to heal the sciatic nerve and how to build up the core muscles. A strong core of your body can prevent another sciatic nerve injury in the future. Exercise is an important process to reduce the sciatica pain and the foot numbness caused by sciatica. Exercise improves the blood circulation, and keeps the body active.

Yoga and meditation can help in the complete relaxation of body, and also reduce stress.

Such natural remedies have no side effects, and provide a good alternative to the painkiller drugs and injections.

Home Remedies for Sciatic Nerve Pain Treatment

Exercises to Strengthen the Lower Back and Sciatic Nerve