Sciatic nerve and foot pain
Updated: February 2020
As your feet are such complex structures, there are many potential causes of foot pain, and sometimes the cause lies somewhere other than the foot itself. One example of this is the pain associated with sciatica.
Foot pain: Is it sciatica?
The cause of foot pain is likely to be sciatica if it is accompanied by a pain in your lower back that radiates down your leg before reaching your foot. Other signs of sciatica include pins and needles in your foot or leg, numbness, and muscle weakness.
Causes of the pain
When you have sciatica, the pain you feel is usually caused by a slipped disc pressing on the sciatic nerve root. The sciatic nerve starts in your spine and goes downward all the way to your toes – this is why the pain radiates down your leg to your foot. Sciatica can also be caused by an injury, bone condition or tumour.
Relief from foot pain due to sciatica
If you have foot pain that is related to sciatica, taking painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs should initially help to relieve it. It can also be helpful to apply a hot or cold compress to the painful area. Some devices designed to help manage pain, such as OMRON HeatTens for example, combine the pain-relieving benefits of heat and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) in order to treat this kind of pain. You might also find that your symptoms improve with a course of physiotherapy, but if the pain persists, you should see a doctor.