Post-hernia surgery, burning pain down left leg
Hello, all. I am delighted to find this discussion forum, as I have been impressed by Dr. Towfigh’s website (though I don’t have experience with her practice itself). Her website may be one of only two places in the World Wide Web where I’ve seen any mention of hip exercises following hernia surgery, when I quite clearly have had tightness in my hip and internal oblique before and after my surgery.
But I write about a tremendous burning sensation in my left leg when I exercise it — 12 on a scale of 10 when I bicycle, 5 or 6 out of 10 climbing briskly up stairs, maybe a 3 or 4 if walking uphill, 0-1 at rest. And I am an avid cyclist, so the bicycling part really bothers me.
The burning pain started at 9 weeks post-surgery. I had a laparoscopic bilaterial hernia repair, by a general surgeon who in particular focused on laparoscopic procedures. He described the hernias as large. I had a bulging only on my left side, but they were both direct hernias — no bulging in the scrotum. (I believe I may have had a hernia on the left for years and didn’t know it, now seeing how flat my left side is compared to what it was.) Before the surgery I did develop pain on the left side from coughing, right under where my belly fat protrudes, approaching my left hip; I suppose that’s where my inguinal ligament is. I had allergy problems at the time, and I had to work to contain my cough. I still have this pain to some extent now, especially when I sit at my desk at work. I have learned that pre-surgical pain can predict post-surgery pain.
That pain has been on and off. Then a couple of weeks ago it just remained persistent. Again, 2 or 3 on a scale of 10, always just annoying. I did ride my bike a lot starting with the fourth week post-surgery, gingerly at first. In my 7th week I felt wonderful and even pulled off a 100-mile ride. I’d say I got up to 85 percent of my normal athletic self. Then the burning pain began one day when I got on my bike for my usual daily ride. I did have some warning of it when I felt a shooting pain in my leg, probably a 4 or 5 like a soreness or funny bone kind of sensation, just bending it while in bed, while my left groin pain had gotten a little worse.
I’ve been prescribed an anti-inflammatory, to no avail. I await an appointment with a pain specialist, to see about a nerve block as suggested by my surgeon. In the meantime, I can go for walks with minimal pain. I don’t feel weak, and I have begun abdominal exercises (now I’m 11 weeks post-surgery) with no problem except the usual soreness from being a bit out of shape. For a month or so I’ve done some delicate hip and oblique stretches, too.
I’m eager to know that this is indeed a possible nerve entrapment, and hopefully not a sudden circulation issue in the left leg. The two doctors I’ve seen don’t seem to think it’s circulation at all, and there’s nothing visibly wrong with my left leg. Then if it is nerve entrapment, of course I’d like it to stop! And know what it will take to make it stop. And could it even stop on its own? Will I ever ride a bike again?
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