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Leg Weakness - Causes and Treatment

Leg Weakness - Causes and Treatment

So many people may not even realize that they have leg weakness. Leg weakness is frequently accompanied by loss of touch sensation and shooting pain, which generally come before the leg weakness. This is especially important for people having low back problems, who have a greater chance of getting leg weakness.

What is Leg Weakness?

It is the weakened strength of the leg muscles, which is manifested by inability to do certain movements with the foot or leg. Leg weakness should also not be confused with muscle cramps or arthritis which causes a painful inability to move the foot or leg. Leg weakness also interferes with walking especially when it is involving the foot muscles. This is known as foot drop, in which a person is unable to lift the foot upwards.

How does Leg Weakness occur?

The leg is supplied by nerves which come out of the spinal cord and backbone in the lower part of the back. The vertebrae in the lower part of the back are a common site of diseases like slip disc (slipping of cartilage intervertebral disc which normally lies between two vertebrae causing compression of nerves or spinal cord), sciatica (compression of a nerve bundle as it comes out of the hip bones), and leprosy (fibrosis of superficial nerves near the skin). The nerve damage caused by these diseases results in abnormal functioning of the parts supplied by the nerves (generally muscles and touch sensation). Consequently, when a large part of the leg loses its nerve supply, like a major muscle, it makes the person unable to do the movement performed by this part (muscle) or makes the part insensitive to touch.

Treatment of Leg Weakness

Leg weakness due to local nerve disease is treated as per the disease condition. Most of these diseases are treated with medicines and do not require surgery. However, the medicines have to be continued for many months, or sometimes even a couple of years.

Leg weakness caused by spinal cord or nerve compression is treated by surgery more often than by medicines.

In the presence of leg weakness, surgery is a logical choice as one is eventually going to end up in paralysis without the surgery. But in the absence of leg weakness, there is still time and one can try medicines and physical therapy for improvement.