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Forum Name: Bone trauma and fractures

Question: broken coccyx followed by foot numbness


 tclose - Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:52 am

HISTORY: My father is 61 years old and in good health. No signs of diabetese after blood work. He has compressed discs at the base of his spine, but has suffered no real effects from them, other than occasional twinges. He fell from a ladder in July and fractured his coccyx and stretched his pelvic ligaments. He subsequently had surgery to repair the coxyx. They put two screws into the bone to hold it stable, along with a plate in his pelvic area. The screws can be removed if necessary, since the bone has healed. He takes cholesterol medicine and I believe, an anti-depressant, both of which he has been on for several years.

ISSUE:He has been experiencing numbness and sciatic nerve pain since the surgery. The sciatic nerve pain crops up when he is more active or if the weather is extreme - cold or hot. The numbness is constant, but also increases with activity levels or weather. He has never suffered any type of numbness in the past, despite his vertebrae compression, and has always been very active, going to the gym 6 days a week, kayaking at least twice a week in the warm weather and bike riding.

QUESTION: What could be causing the numbness? Should he have the screws removed? He's concerned about his mobility which is still severely hampered. The surgeon keeps saying that is must be his previous back issues and has nothing to do with the surgery, although the symptoms never existed until then.

Thanks so much for your help.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:02 am

User avatar Hi Tclose,

There are a few possibilities for the cause of this pain. First, a fall hard enough to break the coccyx may also have caused some damage higher up the spine that could now be causing some pressure on the sciatic nerve.

With his pain getting worse with cold weather I wonder if he is developing some arthritis around the area of the sciatic nerve roots. There may also be some scar tissue that has developed compressing the nerves some. I would recommend your father follow up with his orthopedic surgeon about this. I'm less likely to think the screws are causing a problem but his surgeon can better comment on this also.

Best wishes.

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