I’m 63 and now when I walk for a short distance the back of my right leg starts burning to the point I can hardly walk. What is this?

Leg pain from walking is called claudication.  Neurogenic claudication is leg pain from nerve compression in the spine.  This is called stenosis and results from thickened ligaments, bone spurs and disk herniations.  Some people are at increased risk of spinal stenosis because they were born with a smaller spinal canal then normal.   This is called congenital spinal stenosis.  Spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication presents with back pain and diffuse leg pain and numbness from walking which is relieved by using a shopping cart or sitting down.  Some people describe it “like walking on a cloud”.  Vascular claudication is leg pain from narrowed arteries in your legs.  It is brought on by walking and is relieved by sitting or standing still.  People usually have absent pulses, skin and hair changes in there feet.

You probably have spinal stenosis compressing your spinal nerves and decreasing blood supply to the nerves.  If the nerves can not get enough blood and oxygen they “suffocate” developing pain and numbness in the legs.  Stopping and sitting down or bending forwards decreases pressure on the nerve, improving blood supply and decreasing pain.

Many people benefit from rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, nerve medicine (such as neurontin), steroid injections and surgery.  Please click on Sciatica for more information on lumbar spinal stenosis.  Please contact Executive Spine Surgery for a consultation on spinal stenosis.   Good Luck!