Legs—they’re great things, enabling us to move from place to place and perform our daily deeds. Pain, weakness, or increased discomfort in the legs can be very restricting and may actually be a sign of a serious condition which should receive immediate medical attention. If you are experiencing weakness in legs when walking, read on to find out about the possible causes and suggested treatments.
Causes of Leg Weakness
It is one thing to feel a little weak in the legs after hours and hours spent on your feet; tiredness is completely normal and should not be a cause for concern. However, if you notice your legs suddenly get tired after walking even the shortest of distances, it may be a sign of a more serious health issue which you should check with your doctor as soon as possible. In the end, even if it turns out not to be a medical emergency, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Particularly because the majority of leg weakness causes require speedy medical attention and treatment.
Here is a list of conditions which may cause weakness in legs when walking:
A stroke is a form of brain damage caused by a cutoff blood flow to a region of the brain. Some parts of the brain work to enable our legs to move. Unforeseen and major leg weakness (especially on one side) may indicate a stroke.
With a stroke, time is not on your side. If you have any suspicion that this is your case, immediately seek medical attention to increase the chances of recovery.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
This is a severe nerve disease, the symptoms of which begin with tingling or numbness in the feet. The condition quickly progresses into weakness of the feet which then moves up the legs and consequently through the rest of the body.
The biggest danger of GBS is that by the time it moves up to the chest muscles, it can disrupt breathing which can be life-threatening. This is why, if you suspect you may have this condition, you should immediately seek medical advice.
There is medication available to help reduce the symptoms and speed up rehabilitation. The sooner it is detected, and adequate treatment is applied, the bigger the chances of full recovery.
Spinal cord disease or injury
The spinal cord is what allows communication between the brain and the body. Thus, any impairment of the spine results in complete or partial loss of nervous communication between the brain and lower limbs. Besides weakness of legs, perception of touch, pain and temperature of the legs can also be affected.
There are numerous conditions which can damage the spinal cord, including fractured backbone, herniated disc, multiple sclerosis, infection of the spine (or spinal cord) and cancer spreading to the spine (or spinal cord).
All of these conditions are medical emergencies which should receive immediate attention from a professional. The treatment for spinal cord disease or injury will depend on the specific cause.
Drugs and Toxins
Some medications, including chemotherapy, corticosteroids and statins may lead to leg weakness. In addition, a number of toxins, like lead poisoning, can also be the cause of the problem.
If you detect feebleness in the legs after taking new medication, promptly consult your doctor.
This is a condition where the opening of your spine passes through its narrowing, causing compression on the nerve. If the area affected is the one which provides stimulation to your legs, the end result can be leg pain and weakness, felt particularly when walking.
A safe and effective way to treat this condition is by physical therapy. Through specific exercises and strengthening of muscles, physiotherapy can ease your experience of walking.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
This is a condition where the blood vessels responsible for the supply of blood and oxygen to your leg muscles become narrowed. It causes an insufficient supply of nutrients to the working muscles which can then result in pain and weakness of the muscle.
Other symptoms of the disease include cold feet, absent leg pulses, shiny leg skin and leg hair loss.
If you detect any of the above mentioned symptoms as your own, see a doctor who will be able to give you adequate treatment upon diagnosis confirmation.
Home Remedies to Help with Leg Weakness
Now, if you have been given an ‘A-OKAY’ from your doctor and none of the above mentioned conditions apply to you, there are some home remedies you can perform in order to reduce leg weakness. However, these tricks will have little benefit in the case of neurological defects, autoimmune diseases or spinal cord injury.
1. Give your legs a little rest
Perhaps the weakness felt in your legs is just your limbs’ way begging you to give them some time to recover. Here’s a perfect excuse to stretch out on the couch and watch your favorite movies.
2. Exercise regularly
Low intensity, but regular exercise can actually relieve tired legs due to a gradual building and strengthening of muscles.
3. Pay more attention to what you eat
It’s important to eat a balanced diet with a sufficient supply of nutrients and vitamins to reduce and prevent legs feeling weak when walking.
4. Treat yourself to a massage
Massaging legs will improve blood circulation and thus reduce fatigue in the legs.
5. Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt or vinegar
Doing so is another way of improving blood circulation to the legs.
6. Sleep with two pillows under your feet
This will improve circulation in your legs, which can result in reduced feeling of weakness.