Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica is a condition that is most often characterized by back pain or leg pain, but there are other symptoms as well.
Pain is the most common symptom of sciatica. Pain may involve the buttocks, the back or side of the leg or the foot, particularly the heel. Sciatica can cause pain in one or more or of these areas. The pain is often described as a dull, deep, aching pain, but, for some people, it may have more of a sharp or burning quality.
Numbness or Tingling
Some people who have sciatica experience an area of numbness or a tingling sensation. This can involve a patchy region of the buttocks, the leg or the foot, and it is typically deep, rather than superficial.
Most people do not notice sensory loss with sciatica, even if they have a loss of sensation. But sometimes the sensory loss can be obvious, especially if it involves the foot. While you may not notice the sensory loss that can result from sciatica, your doctor may detect loss of sensation or decreased sensation in a small area or patch of skin on your neurological examination. Sensory loss of sciatica generally involves the foot or the side of the leg.
Like the sensory symptoms, weakness can involve any part of the leg or foot. In general, sciatica is less likely to cause weakness than it is to cause pain. The most characteristic type of weakness involves trouble bending the knee, which may be apparent when walking. Some people with sciatica have trouble raising the foot, which is often described as a ‘foot drop.’