Symptoms of L5 radiculopathy

What are the symptoms of L5 radiculopathy? 

Here are the symptoms of L5 radiculopathy

  • Radicular Back Pain with radiation
  • Sensory loss
  • Weakness of the muscles

L5 root compression produces pain radiating to the posterolateral buttock, lateral posterior thigh, and lateral leg.

Sensory loss is most likely in a triangular wedge involving the great toe, second toe, and adjacent skin on the dorsum of the foot.

Weakness occurs in the muscles innervated by the L5 root (gluteus medius, tibialis anterior and posterior, peronei, and extensor hallucis longus).

This results in difficulty in ankle dorsiflexion, eversion, inversion, and hip abduction.

It is most easily identified by weakness in the extensor hallucis longus (extension of the big toe). The ankle reflex is usually normal.

Lumbar radiculopathy is one of the most common complaints evaluated by a spine surgeon.

Its prevalence has been estimated to be 3%-5% of the population, affecting both men and women. 

Age is a primary risk factor, as it occurs secondary to the degenerative process within the spinal column. 

Symptoms typically begin in midlife, with men often affected in the 40s while women are affected in the 50s and 60s.

How is L5 radiculopathy treated?

Someone with significant lower extremity pain in an L5 dermatomal pattern experiences significant relief after an epidural injection, indicating the pain generator is likely the compressed left L5 nerve root, not arthritic changes in the facet joints.


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