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Thread: Spodylolesthesis, Sciatica, Possible Interferrence with torn Achilles recovery?

  1. #1

    Spodylolesthesis, Sciatica, Possible Interferrence with torn Achilles recovery?

    I am new to the forum and have a question. It will take me a while to get to the question -- but I will be as brief as possible.
    I have grade 2.25 - 2.5 spondylolesthesis, which means almost a 50% slippage of a vertabral body in my lower back. This causes parts of bone to be pressing against nerves running to my legs. This is an old injury, going on 15 years now and have also worn away the disc below it entirely. The first 2 years after discovering that I had this situation I quit playing sports entirely, sat on the couch, got fat, sad, and full of pity. Needless to say my condition went from bad to worse. It even became difficult for me to do my own grocery shopping. I slowly fought my way back to the point of being able to play Tennis 3-4 times per week for as much as 3 hours at a time.

    The trouble is my movement on the court is designed sub-consiously to protect my lower back. I move very upright, with the legs doing a lot of work to dampen shock and this has resulted in a partially torn achilles tendon and a partial tear in my one of my knees. I know that in some cases, long term sciatic pain can lead to "focal wasting" or muscle loss in the legs. Is it possible that my sciatic pain is somehow contributing to my slow recovery with my knees and achillees issues?

    I've not asked my podiatrist and knee Docs this question because I always feel rushed at my appointments, and the question sounds kind of kooky coming out of my mouth.

    Regards, Jack
    Last edited by ChicagoJack; 02-23-2006 at 03:32 PM.
    "The income gap between the rich and the rest of the US population has become so wide, and is growing so fast, that it might eventually threaten the stability of democratic capitalism itself." -Alan Greenspan, US Federal Reserve Chairman 1987-2006

  2. #2
    Chicagojack,

    If your spondilolisthesis is not compressing your spinal roots sufficiently to cause any muscle weakness, you should not be getting focal atrophy. It sounds as if your primary symptom is sciatica or pain. Non-use, however, can cause reduction in muscle size. Is there some reason why you do not engage in some other form of exercise that does not put so much stress on your back and ligaments For example, swimming should allow you to get your heart-rate up without stressing your joints and tendons. Healing of the achilles tendon is retarded by too much movement of the tendon.

    Wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJack
    I am new to the forum and have a question. It will take me a while to get to the question -- but I will be as brief as possible.
    I have grade 2.25 - 2.5 spondylolesthesis, which means almost a 50% slippage of a vertabral body in my lower back. This causes parts of bone to be pressing against nerves running to my legs. This is an old injury, going on 15 years now and have also worn away the disc below it entirely. The first 2 years after discovering that I had this situation I quit playing sports entirely, sat on the couch, got fat, sad, and full of pity. Needless to say my condition went from bad to worse. It even became difficult for me to do my own grocery shopping. I slowly fought my way back to the point of being able to play Tennis 3-4 times per week for as much as 3 hours at a time.

    The trouble is my movement on the court is designed sub-consiously to protect my lower back. I move very upright, with the legs doing a lot of work to dampen shock and this has resulted in a partially torn achilles tendon and a partial tear in my one of my knees. I know that in some cases, long term sciatic pain can lead to "focal wasting" or muscle loss in the legs. Is it possible that my sciatic pain is somehow contributing to my slow recovery with my knees and achillees issues?

    I've not asked my podiatrist and knee Docs this question because I always feel rushed at my appointments, and the question sounds kind of kooky coming out of my mouth.

    Regards, Jack

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    Chicagojack,

    If your spondilolisthesis is not compressing your spinal roots sufficiently to cause any muscle weakness, you should not be getting focal atrophy. It sounds as if your primary symptom is sciatica or pain. Non-use, however, can cause reduction in muscle size. Is there some reason why you do not engage in some other form of exercise that does not put so much stress on your back and ligaments For example, swimming should allow you to get your heart-rate up without stressing your joints and tendons. Healing of the achilles tendon is retarded by too much movement of the tendon.

    Wise.
    Wise - Thank you for the thoughtful response.I now understand the focal wasting issue a little better. I do swim as a small part of my general fitness routine, but tennis has been my passion since age 9. I'm mid forties and compete at the state, open level, here in Illinois. I have quite an emotional attachment to the game, and am anxious to get back.

    A. Back in September 05, my doctor misdiagnosed me as having patellar and achilles tendonitnis. I quit playing tennis and, he prescribed Physical therapy 3x per week for two months.

    B. After showing no signs of improvement, I had an MRI of my achilles wich revealed a partial tear. My Doc then changed course 180 and put me in a walking boot/cast for 4 weeks.

    C. After the 4th week re-check, my achilees was still suprisingly quite sore, so I got another two weeks the cast.

    D. I'm now out of the cast and walking very gingerly. Can't really push off any weight at all.

    E. In the mean time, I pressed the issue for getting an MRI of my knee as well, even though my doc did not seem to think it nessesary. The MRI of my knee also reveals a possible partial tear in my knee.

    Events A-E have me caused me to be -- gracefully said, really unsure about my doctors judgement. I'm in the process of switching over to the University of Chicago Hospital as they have outstanding staff in the area of Sports Medicine.

    A quick look into the cure section of the forum has my particular condition seem petty and insignificant by comparison. But when I have Sciatic pain down both legs all the way to my feet, plus pain in both knees and ankles at the same time.... It makes me wonder what my future will look like. I guess just knowing that the sciatica should not impede the other issues is comfort enough, and gives me one less thing to worry about today.

    Thanks again Wise Young
    -Jack
    "The income gap between the rich and the rest of the US population has become so wide, and is growing so fast, that it might eventually threaten the stability of democratic capitalism itself." -Alan Greenspan, US Federal Reserve Chairman 1987-2006

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