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after taking a fall and stretching a couple muscles in my back, it aggravated a twenty plus year old back problem. i was down for a week or so with the old familiar back pain from years ago, but my question comes next. now the pain in my back has for the most part receded, but my big toe on the same side of my body as the original injury seems to be swelled or at least has limited movement. my hand on that side also seems to go to sleep routinely. am i looking at a pinched nerve, you think, and will it fix itself?
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replied October 27th, 2011
Especially eHealthy

A compressed nerve in the lower back will not give you symptoms in the upper extremities. Though compression of the L5 nerve root can give a patient numbness and tingling in the top of the foot going into the great toe, the symptoms you describe are not really that of a radiculopathy.

It is more likely that you have something like degenerative arthritis in the metatarsalphalangeal joint (MTPJ) of the great toe, or possibly hallux rigidus. This area is also commonly affected by gout.

The hand is probably due to a "pinched nerve" by in the upper extremity. Compression of the median and ulnar nerves is common, and will give you numbness and tingling in different parts of the hand. The median nerve causes the symptoms on the thumb side and the ulnar nerve on the small finger side. Though, it is possible to have a compressed nerve root in the cervical spine (neck), causing numbness/tingling in the hand (C6, C7, and/or CCool.

If the numbness and tingling and other symptoms that you are experiencing bother you significantly, you should probably see an orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation.

Good luck.
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