Most of the time, leg weakness is part of a feeling of weakness from head to foot. However, there are instances in which the weakness experienced is limited to the legs — such may affect both or only one of the legs.
Experts say that true leg weakness is something that’s brought about by the loss of strength of the muscles in the lower extremities. There are cases, however, when the matter is not regarded as true leg weakness — the person only feels or believes that his or her legs are weak. Usually, it is due to stress. There are times, too, in which leg weakness is one of the various symptoms of anxiety or depression.
No matter the case, this article is meant for you to read if right now you are experiencing leg weakness. Below you will come across some of the most common causes of it.
If your leg weakness appears out of the blue, make sure that you call an ambulance or ask someone to rush you to the ER. This is especially true if you’re experiencing sudden weakness on only one leg that is accompanied by numbness on one side of the face, dizziness, loss of balance and speaking difficulty — you may be having a stroke.
A stroke is something that is regarded as a medical emergency. Your chance of recovering from it increases the faster you obtain much-needed medical assistance.
Nerves that are situated outside of your brain and spinal cord are referred to as peripheral nerves. These nerves can become diseased or damaged, resulting to what’s known as peripheral neuropathy.
Doctors say that peripheral neuropathy can be due to various causes. One of the most common of the bunch is diabetes. Another is a nutritional deficiency. No matter the causative factor, peripheral neuropathy can cause leg weakness. Some people also experience heaviness, numbness, pain and tingling sensations.
Just like what the name says, a pinched nerve happens when the nerve receives unnecessary pressure from a neighboring structure — a tendon, cartilage, muscle or bone. A pinched nerve that causes leg weakness usually originates from the lower part of the back, and it can be blamed on a number of things such as inflammation and arthritis.
More often than not, weakness of the legs due to a pinched nerve is gradual, which means that it tends to worsen with the passing of time. It’s also accompanied by pins and needles sensation and discomfort.
There is a progressive type of disease that is characterized by damage to the protective covering of the nerves, and it’s called multiple sclerosis. MS for short, it can cause weakness of one leg or both at the same time.
Aside from leg weakness, multiple sclerosis also causes many other symptoms. Some of them include cognitive issues, vision problems, dizziness, trouble with balance, urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction. There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis to date, although there are various treatments available for its symptoms.
Medications or Toxins
According to health authorities, there are some medications that can cause leg weakness as one of their side effects. Some examples of those are drugs that are used for chemotherapy. If you believe that an orally-taken prescription drug is the one to blame for your leg weakness, get the matter reported to your doctor.
Exposure to certain toxins or harmful compounds can also cause the legs to feel weak, numb or painful. One common example is lead poisoning.
NOTE: The above should not be regarded as medical advice. If the weakness you are experiencing in your legs does not go away after a few days or seem to worsen or is accompanied by unusual symptoms, you should definitely pay your doctor a visit. Again, something that shows up suddenly can be a sign of stroke, so make sure that you seek medical attention ASAP.