The Continuing Saga of My Right Foot – EMG and Other Delights

I went back to my neurologist today. Her level of enthusiasm about my case makes each visit fun. She spent the first five minutes re-familiarizing herself with my symptoms. When I corrected one of her notes (my numbness is more intermittent than constant) she made the correction.  She seems very detailed oriented. Then she began the EMG test.

Electromyography or EMG is a test of the sensory and motor function in a specific area of the body. For me, this was my foot, my lower leg, and my right buttock. The test involves putting sensors on specific nerves and muscles and then using a separate device sending electical shocks into the muscles. When she did this to specific nerves I would feel a jolt down the nerve. When muscles were involved my foot or leg would react. Later in the test she poked a needle into a muscle and zapped the muscle. OW! Suffice it to say, I have very sensitive nerves.

There were many OW moments but they are very brief in duration.

She also did a tuning fork test on both feet. My left

foot felt the vibration of the tuning fork for 29 seconds, my right foot for only six seconds. My left foot felt the coolness of the metal of the tuning fork to the same extent as my left calf. To my right foot the tuning fork was not as cool as my right calf felt it to be. Finally, both feet have muscle atrophy in a small area in front of the ankle. Hmm…. T

She was encouraged at how strong my feet and legs were when she tested them using resistance. I reminded her of how much cycling I do and she said, “Makes sense.”

She concluded that I have peripheral neuropathy of unknown origin. She decide to take do an additional blood and urine test to see if my protein levels are off. She also advised me to take B complex vitamins, even though my levels seem okay. I am scheduled to go for physical therapy in about a week. Lucky for me the PT place is on the Mount Vernon Trail on my way to work.

She doesn’t yet know what is causing the numbness, but she has ruled out my lower back as the problem. This is a huge relief to me. I told her about raising my seat on my bike and she said to make sure to let her know if that changes any of my symptoms. What I like most about this doctor is her method. She starts at “I don’t know” and goes from there. She is very good at communicating what she’s doing. Every time she zapped me she said, “I’m so sorry.”  She warned me about the painful ones in advance.

I go back to her in a month. After I do some PT. Neither of us have any idea where this is heading but she seems to have a plan and that is certainly a start.

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