What’s Causing the Shooting Pain Down Your Leg?

You’re walking along feeling fine, and all of a sudden, it hits you in a flash: pain that shoots all the way down your leg. This isn’t the first time this has happened, either. What gives?

It could be sciatica. Your sciatic nerves start in your lower back and run through your butt and hips, then down the back of each leg to the foot. Sciatica is radiating pain or numbness along the path of this nerve, usually on just one side of the body. The pain is caused by compression of the nerve, which can result from a herniated disk, bone spurs on the spine or spasm of the piriformis muscle in the butt. Spinal stenosis, when the spaces within your spine get smaller, is a less likely but possible cause of shooting pain.

Mild sciatica might go away on its own, but more severe cases can be treated with medication, physical therapy or an injectable steroid. Surgery can be performed in serious cases, such as those in which the patient is experiencing a loss of bladder or bowel control because of the compressed nerve. The good news is that most disk problems do not need surgery.

Baptist Health Orthopedic and Sports Medicine specialists can help you maintain your busy lifestyle.

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Located in Louisville, KY, Baptist Health owns eight acute-care hospitals throughout Kentucky and Indiana, as well as clinics and immediate care and wellness centers. Baptist Health also operates Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville, a joint venture with Deaconess Health System. Our focus is on specialized services for women’s health, pediatrics, cancer, heart, orthopedics, neurosciences, emergency care, rehabilitation, sleep disorders, occupational health, and behavioral health, including psychiatric and chemical dependency care. Flourish is maintained by the Digital Team at Baptist Health.