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My left shin is numb


Beachcomber
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Since last Wednesday, my shin has been numb.  Basically below the knee, and above my ankle/foot.  Today I went to the Doctor and everything checked out Ok for my vitals.  But he couldn't explain why I have this numbness in my left shin.

I was wondering... Could this be from golfing?  I've been trying to get more and more practice sessions in at the range during the week, and playing a lot of golf on the weekends.  I've been trying to incorporate a slight weight shift to my left side (S&T;), and am wondering if this could cause this issue?

My Dr. prescribed an anti inflammatory for me to take 2x a day for the next 2wks... But I wanted to know if anyone else has experienced this.

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I don't know how it would be from golfing. Was it ever sore - like a shin splint - before? I know that people who take up running and things like that can get shin splints and numbness.

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Numb as in if you touch it with your finger you can't feel the finger unless you push hard? Or is it a sharp cramp like pain in the shin? Also, does it tingle when you take a step with that leg?

Because if its number, i will say its probably the Sciatic Nerve that runs from your lower back down to your foot. If you pinched it you can get tingling in the foot and numbness in the leg. If its not, and its a sharp pain then its probably a shin splint.

If its the Sciatic nerve, then your going to be having fun, because those things can linger. I had issues for about 4 months last year with one.

The way i fixed it was, you make sure you sit in a chair right, back straight, feet under your knees, proper posture. Believe me, having your feet up all day will definetly mess with the nerve. At night i slept with a rolded blanket to prop my legs up, this took pressure of the back. Never sleep on your stomach, that puts pressure were the nerve is at in the back. Ice and heat it a few times a day, and stay mobile. Take some walks to keep loose. The anti-inflammetory helps to.

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I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a sciatic nerve issue. If it was it would begin much higher than the shin, most likely starting in the upper thigh and continuing all the way down the leg. It could be something called exertional compartment syndrome. Basically if you dramatically increase activity, you can cause swelling in the front compartment of your leg (shin) that puts pressure on the nerves. It can cause numbness, redness, tingling, pain..etc. Id keep icing it no more than 20 min at a time and if it doesnt get better go see a sports medicine Dr.

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I also experience a numbness in the shin, but mine was the right shin.       After a month or so I started also feeling a slight burning feeling around my ankle, which after another month migrated up the shin as well (kind of odd to feel both numbness and a feeling like sunburn at the same time).     At that point I went to a doctor and she zero'ed in immediately on a back issue and she ordered up MRI's, and after reviewing those hooked me up with a specialist.     Their expectation was that it was caused by a disk problem around the L/T transition area.     In my case this turned out to not be true and it was actually caused by something completely different (a parasitic growth in my spinal cord), but it sounded like a bulging disk is the typical cause.

I'm certainly not qualified to give medical advice, but I'd recommend watching it for another month or so and if it doesn't subside then consider seeking a back specialist.

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Hi guys, thanks for the responses.  I'm taking an anti inflammatory right now.  My Dr. thinks I may have tweaked my sciatic nerve - and or something in the L5 area.  He wasn't sure.  He wants me to take the medication for the next couple of weeks (50mg of Diclofenac 2x a day) and monitor my strength and tenderness/numbness in the shin area.  If I lose strength, or the numbness or any signs of pain start to show up in the lower leg/shin area, then I need to schedule another visit with my Dr.

I believe it could be something like exertional compartment syndrome as nickyt17 pointed out?  That makes the most sense to me... But it just seems odd that I've never had this before... And my back doesn't hurt at all.  Zero pain in my lower back (thankfully)... So I'm not sure how it could be related to L5 or my sciatic?

If I find out what the issue is... I'll report back in with an update.

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Originally Posted by Clambake

I also experience a numbness in the shin, but mine was the right shin.       After a month or so I started also feeling a slight burning feeling around my ankle, which after another month migrated up the shin as well (kind of odd to feel both numbness and a feeling like sunburn at the same time).     At that point I went to a doctor and she zero'ed in immediately on a back issue and she ordered up MRI's, and after reviewing those hooked me up with a specialist.     Their expectation was that it was caused by a disk problem around the L/T transition area.     In my case this turned out to not be true and it was actually caused by something completely different (a parasitic growth in my spinal cord), but it sounded like a bulging disk is the typical cause.

I'm certainly not qualified to give medical advice, but I'd recommend watching it for another month or so and if it doesn't subside then consider seeking a back specialist.

What is that?  I've never heard of it... What was the prognosis and what steps did you have to take to fully recover?

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  • 1 month later...


Originally Posted by Clambake

I also experience a numbness in the shin, but mine was the right shin.       After a month or so I started also feeling a slight burning feeling around my ankle, which after another month migrated up the shin as well (kind of odd to feel both numbness and a feeling like sunburn at the same time).     At that point I went to a doctor and she zero'ed in immediately on a back issue and she ordered up MRI's, and after reviewing those hooked me up with a specialist.     Their expectation was that it was caused by a disk problem around the L/T transition area.     In my case this turned out to not be true and it was actually caused by something completely different (a parasitic growth in my spinal cord), but it sounded like a bulging disk is the typical cause.

Originally Posted by Beachcomber

What is that?  I've never heard of it... What was the prognosis and what steps did you have to take to fully recover?

Yeah, it was literally a parasite (cysticercosis) that somehow got inside my vertebrae and was literally crushing the spinal cord from the inside out, causing the symptoms mentioned above but it got much much worse.    It took a laminectomy and a later second surgery to finally figure out what was actually going on and the surgeon was able to remove it without causing further damage to the spinal cord - a huge risk since it was entwined in the cord.  I've recovered from the back surgeries fine, but the residual symptoms from the nerve damage will probably never go away - my shin always feels sunburned and partially numb at the same time, and parts of my foot also feel numb.    Good thing is I got used to it and it is never really painful or anything - just something that is always "there".

Hope your sciatic nerve problem has subsided and is staying away.   Let us know an update when things get better!

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I have my second visit with an Orthopedic today. First visit was to review my Xray. Which came back normal. This visit is to review the MRI. My shin has been more painful than numb the last several weeks.
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My MRI was normal. The Orthopedic said my leg looks perfectly normal. Pretty frustrating because it feels far from normal. I think whatever it is, I'm going to feel this pain for the rest of my golfing life. I'm going to start doing more leg exercises at the gym to see if it will help reduce the strain on my left shin when I swing. That is when I feel it the most.
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  • 4 months later...
I would guess it is L4-5 related. Oddly, it is not a given that you'll feel low back pain if you've slipped or herniated a disc. I lost feeling in my right shin last tues and just got my MRI results. I slipped the L4-5 disc and the disc is pressuring the nerves causing numbness in my thigh and right shin. I am getting a steroid shot next week to (hopefully) relieve the pressure on the nerves, just hope there is not permanent damage to the actual nerve. Either way I would suggest getting an MRI immediately, you don't want to mess with these things trust me! I've been dealing with this stuff for about 15 years but by no means am I a doc- I just want to make sure I can keep playing! Good Lucknow- better safe than sorry with these things.
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  • 2 months later...

I am actually experiencing this right now. I found your entry when I was looking up why my shin would be numb. Mine is also my left shin. It started on Friday and it is monday now and it is still the same. I have not hit it on anything, and I am not active in any sports right now. So if anyone knows anything else, Please let me know. I have not went to the Doc. as of yet.

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I don't think the cause of your shin's numbness is golf. My brother had that too before but he never play golf. Numbness is like he can't feel anything even if we pinch his shin. He walked every morning for about 30 mins.. somehow it helps..

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  • 2 weeks later...

My numbness - which turned into pain - was diagnosed as a shin splint.  The doctor prescribed rest... Which I ignored... And kept playing.  I also started to go to the gym (this is back in the Spring) - and was doing a Les Mils - Body Pump class - which does a lot of squats, lunges and other exercises with light weight - lots of reps.

The classes helped strengthen my calves, quad and hamstring - which helped eliminate the stress on that tendon in my left shin.  I don't have the issues any longer - and still playing a ton of golf and hitting a lot of balls.

I believe the biggest issue I had was that I had a pretty sedentary lifestyle for many years... Way too much time on the computer.  And then started golfing a lot this past year, and my legs - left leg in particular wasn't strong enough to bare the weight shift to my left side.  So that stress just caused the tendon to inflame and caused issues with the nerves in that area.

My recommendation... Get it looked at by the doctor.  Make sure you don't have a stress fracture.  If you are cleared of any fracture... It is likely a shin splint.  The way to eliminate them is to strengthen your legs.  Exercise.  Walk, and do light weight reps (squats, lunges, leg lifts, etc.) until you have a solid glutes and hamstrings to support the activity.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 9 months later...
Actually L4 would more likely be the area of insult but young guys without significant injury or intense exercise have us look at more common reasons.. Shin splints are pretty common and can cause this. "Numb" needs to be clarified. Numb means painless and general lack of sensation. If there is a burning sensation it's usually a neuropathy which could be due to the sciatic. Anti-inflammatory meds are a good start. I often see prednisone help as well if it's neuropathic. Shin splints are annoying but seldom any big concern.
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