I herniated the L5-S1 disk in my back and had severe sciatica going down the left leg. I've had a microdiscectomy performed and now I have no more sciatic nerve pain. However, I do still have severe weakness in my left calf; I can't even push up on the ball of my left foot. The doctor told me that this is due to muscular atrophy and prescribed exercises to strengthen the muscle, however I don't know if he's aware of how bad this is. I disagree that this is all due to atrophy (no noticeable difference in size of calf on either leg) and I think it's nerve damage.
I'd like to know if this is caused by nerve damage and if so, what can I do about it? What is the prognosis?