woman suffering with foot and leg pain

5 Unique Causes of Foot and Leg Pain with Roots in Your Lumbar Spine

Foot And Leg Pain Causes

We use our legs and feet every day, but we usually pay little attention to them unless they start to hurt. When pain begins to formulate in our lower ligaments, whether in the form of tingling, numbness, throbbing, or burning, it’s tough to ignore.

At Advanced Spine and Posture in Lansing Michigan, we’ve seen many patients experiencing foot and leg pain who were surprised to discover there was nothing wrong with their feet and legs, at all. While the foot and leg pain you’re experiencing may be coming from the leg itself, what might also be happening is that the pain is radiating from a problem in your lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is the section of the spine in your lower back and is where nerves branch out toward your legs and feet. The vertebrae and discs in the lumbar spine have to bear the weight of your entire torso, which is why it is the section most often plagued by injury and pain.

woman suffering with pain in her foot and leg

 5 interesting causes of foot and leg pain that stem from a problem in the lumbar spine.

Herniated disc:

The most common cause of leg pain stemming from the lumbar spine is a lumbar herniated disc. Herniated disc refers to when the inner fluid of a vertebral disc bulges outwards. This inner fluid can cause inflammation in the surrounding area of the spine, affecting nerves like the sciatic nerve, which leads to your legs and feet, causing pain.

Spinal stenosis:

Nerve roots exit the spinal cord between each vertebra in the spine and branch out toward the rest of the body. These exit points for each nerve root are called foramen. If you suffer from spinal stenosis, your nerve roots are being compressed by surrounding joints, discs or narrow foramen. This compression can irritate the nerves that lead to your legs and feet, causing shooting pains, numbness, and weakness.


Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra in the lumbar spine slips forward and covers the vertebra below it, affecting the stability and natural structure of your spine. This condition may cause nerve compression and inflammation, resulting in leg and foot pain.

Facet joint arthritis:

The facet joints located at the back of the spine have cartilage in between them that aids in flexibility and movement. Over time, this cartilage can break down, causing friction between the joints that results in inflammation and pain down the back of the legs.

Degenerative disc disease:

The fluid-filled discs between the vertebrae in your spine can degenerate significantly over time, causing aching pain that can radiate from your lower back down your legs. Degenerative disc disease does not always affect the nerves leading to your legs. Instead, it may be causing referred pain. This means the brain is unable to process exactly where the pain is centralized, making you think and feel like your leg or foot hurt when there is nothing wrong there. Foot and leg pain caused by an issue in the lumbar spine will often present themselves simultaneously. If you experience pain in the foot with no pain in the leg, it is less likely that the issue lies with your spine.

Using a Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach, the chiropractors at Advanced Spine and Posture in Lansing, Michigan may be able to help patients experiencing leg and foot pain by examining the lumbar spine and diagnosing the issue. Once the exact cause of pain is located, chiropractic manipulations may rectify the problem or ease your pain, making life more comfortable.

Visit us today or schedule online for a free consultation and let us show you the benefits of a tailored CBP approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can lumbar spine issues cause foot and leg pain?
Yes, problems in the lumbar spine, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and others, can cause pain that radiates to the legs and feet due to their impact on the nerves branching out towards these areas.

Q2: What is a lumbar herniated disc, and how does it cause leg pain?
A lumbar herniated disc occurs when the inner gel-like core of a disc bulges out through a tear in its outer layer, potentially inflaming and irritating nearby nerves like the sciatic nerve. This irritation can lead to pain in the legs and feet.

Q3: How does spinal stenosis contribute to foot and leg pain?
Spinal stenosis involves the narrowing of spaces within the spine, which can compress nerve roots exiting the spinal cord. This compression can irritate the nerves, leading to symptoms like shooting pains, numbness, and weakness in the legs and feet.

Q4: What is spondylolisthesis, and what symptoms might it cause?
Spondylolisthesis happens when one vertebra slips over the one below it, disrupting the spine’s stability and possibly compressing nerves. This can cause pain, inflammation, and nerve-related symptoms in the legs and feet.

Q5: Can facet joint arthritis in the lumbar spine lead to leg pain?
Yes, facet joint arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage between the facet joints in the spine, causing friction, inflammation, and back pain that can radiate down the back of the legs.

Q6: What role does degenerative disc disease play in leg and foot pain?
Degenerative disc disease refers to the wear and tear of spinal discs, which can cause chronic pain in the lower back. While it may not directly affect leg nerves, it can lead to referred pain in the legs and feet due to the interconnectedness of spinal and nervous system pathways.

Q7: How can Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) help with foot and leg pain originating from the lumbar spine?
CBP is a scientific, research-based chiropractic technique focused on correcting spinal alignment to eliminate nerve interference. By addressing the root cause of lumbar spine issues, CBP can alleviate related foot and leg pain.

Q8: What should I do if I suspect my foot and leg pain is related to my lumbar spine?
If you’re experiencing foot and leg pain with possible roots in your lumbar spine, consider scheduling a consultation with a chiropractor trained in Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) for a comprehensive evaluation and tailored treatment plan.

Q9: How can I find out more about receiving CBP treatment in Lansing, Michigan?
For residents of Lansing, Michigan, interested in exploring CBP treatment for leg and foot pain, Advanced Spine and Posture offers consultations and customized treatment plans. Visit our website or contact our clinic directly to learn more and schedule your appointment.