Spinal stenosis leg pain tends to start in the buttocks and extend down and tends to manifest as an ache or a burning sensation, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This pain can be accompanied by numbness, tingling and, in severe cases, muscle weakness.
The pain and other symptoms of spinal stenosis can extend all the way to the foot, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In severe cases with muscle weakness, a phenomenon known as foot drop occurs. Foot drop is where a person feels that his foot limply flaps against the ground with each step.
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces in the spinal column, compressing the spinal cord, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This narrowing generally occurs because of arthritis. As people age, their cartilage can shrink and be damaged by wear and tear.
A large majority of people have some degeneration in the spine as they age. Sometimes, the bone of the vertebrae grow to compensate for this loss of cartilage, which can compress the nerves. The ligaments around the spine can also increase in size and compress the nerves. It also occurs in a few people because of the way their spines formed before birth.