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About a year and a half ago, I was rear-ended pretty hard. The car was totaled, and I sustained minor injuries on the left side of my body where the impact threw me against the driver's-side door. I had no back or neck pain, but I did have bad pain for nearly two weeks in my shoulder, hips, and legs. After the pain went away, I was, for all intents and purposes, fine.

As of the past two weeks, however, I've been feeling the same type of numbness and tingling in my leg that one would feel after their leg had fallen asleep. I have no back pain and no weakness.

The numbness and tingling is almost always there (it doesn't come and go), starting about 7 inches above my right knee and all the way down to just above my ankle on the outside (not the inside) of my leg. It becomes very mild to the point where I'll forget about it if I'm distracted, but, if I stop to think about it, sure enough, it's there.

I will also note that I purchased a standing treadmill desk early January of this year and have been standing for six hours a day after work during the week and all day long during the weekend. I'd attribute the numbness and tingling my constant standing if it weren't for the facts that 1) it's only started to happen only recently and 2) I feel it in the morning when I wake up and at work while I am sitting down.

Is it possible that my accident resulted in a lower back injury that is only now starting to cause symptoms to emerge?

  • Questions - How much do you actually walk in a day? What type of shoes do you have, and how old are they? – JohnP Apr 25 '15 at 1:38
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    @JohnP I usually walk on my treadmill about 2-3 miles a day five days a week, and I do so most barefoot, though I'll wear my New Balance cross trainers if my feet are sore. Those shoes are less than a year old. At work, I wear Doc Martens high top shoes (or boots or whatever) which are probably about six or seven years old (gotta love Docs, right?). – oscilatingcretin Apr 25 '15 at 1:41
  • I edited in your info. If I got anything wrong, please correct it. Thanks. – anongoodnurse Apr 25 '15 at 2:21
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I will not get into the possible association between your symptoms and treadmill or any possible etiologies regarding your symptoms. However, I am fairly certain that your numbness has nothing to do with your accident.

When we are considering symptoms in limb and possible spinal injury the pathophysiology would be some kind of nerve or medullar compression in back causing symptoms in extremity. First of all, numbness you are feeling is not following any anatomical boundaries, ie. dermatomes (eMedicine).

You don´t specify exactly how you hurt yourself during the accident. For example, was there any forceful forward flexion in your lower back. Anyway, if you had injured your lower back in the accident, the most dreadful injury would have been a vertebral fracture. That would have been symptomatic instantly. We can rule that out.

Another likely outcome from the accident would have been some kind of injury or trauma to any of intervertebral discs in your lumbar region. Repetitive strain or forceful movement can cause deterioration of annulus fibrosus in those discs (Wikipedia). Weaking of annulus fibrosus would result to disc herniation some time after the accident if another forceful movement is targeted to lower back (MayoClinic). It is however very unlikely that the time interval would be one and half years. A week or two would be very likely.

There are some other more uncommon reasons for radiculopathy in younger persons, but none of them are not a result from injury (Wikipedia).

As so, I am fairly certain that your numbness is not due to the accident. Any form of neural damage or compression in peripheral nervous system is possible in your case but as far as the accident and possible injury to your lower back is considered, I will stick to the aforementioned.

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