In 2000, I herniated L4-L5 disc with resulting excruciating pain down my right leg into my foot with residual right lateral foot numbness and calf weakness. I underwent partial disectomy and laminectomy of L4-L5 eight weeks later and within a year I had minimal pain and about 85% of my calf strength back. The next 7 years were unremarkable and I played sports, worked as a nurse, basically returned to my normal life. Then in December 2007, I developed a slight limp, suddenly realizing that my calf muscle was once weak again. I, however, was not in any pain. An MRI confirmed that I have re-herniated L4-L5 and there is nerve compression. I saw a neurosurgeon and he told me that I really shouldn't have surgery because my level of function is so high and that my pain is not debilitating. He told me there is no guarantee that with surgery that my leg weakness would get better, and in fact I could end up worse because of scar tissue. Here is my question: Is there anyway that I can increase the strength in my gastrocnemius if the nerve is compressed? I am a nurse and have a physical therapy backround as well.....how can I strengthen a muscle that is not receiving the impulse from the nerve? Should I have an EMG? The lateral head of my gastrocnemius seems to be working fine, it is the medial head that isn't working, resulting in weak plantar flexion. This causes me to limp when I walk and my right leg gets very tired, followed by my left leg for picking up the slack. I also cannot run very well. Did the neurosurgeon take this too lightly? Should I be considering surgery to avoid permenant nerve damage, or is it already too late?