January 1st, 2015 , J Am Acad Orthop Surg

Mimickers of Lumbar Radiculopathy

Orthopaedic surgeons frequently treat patients who report pain that radiates from the back into the lower extremity. Although the most common etiology is either a herniated disk or spinal stenosis, a myriad of pathologies can mimic the symptoms of radiculopathy, resulting in differences in the clinical presentation and the workup. Therefore, the clinician must be able to distinguish the signs and symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy from pathologies that may have a similar presentation. Being cognizant of these other possible conditions enables the physician to consider a breadth of alternative diagnoses when a patient presents with radiating lower extremity pain.