Weakness in the legs is usually not a sign of a serious problem, and can happen for simple reasons, such as intense physical exercise or poor circulation in the legs, for example.
However, in some cases, especially when this weakness continues for a long time, it worsens or makes daily tasks more difficult, it can be a symptom of a more serious condition, which should be treated as soon as possible.
Some of the conditions that can be the source of weakness in the legs are:
1. Intense physical exercise
One of the most common causes of the appearance of weakness in the legs is physical exercise, especially in people who are not used to training their legs, for example. This weakness may arise right after training, but it tends to improve after a few minutes.
In the following days, it is possible that the weakness returns for some periods, being accompanied by muscle pain, which indicates that there was muscle wear, but that it improves naturally after 2 to 3 days.
What to do: in most cases it is only recommended to rest and massage the leg muscles to relieve discomfort and help with muscle recovery. However, if the pain is very severe, you can consult a general practitioner to start using an anti-inflammatory, for example.
2. Poor blood circulation
Another relatively common condition that can cause weakness in the legs is poor blood circulation, which tends to be more common in people over 50 or standing for a long time.
In addition to weakness, the appearance of other signs and symptoms is common, such as cold feet, swelling of the legs and feet, dry skin and the appearance of varicose veins, for example.
What to do: a good way to improve blood circulation in your legs is to wear compression stockings during the day, especially when you need to stand for a long time. In addition, raising your legs at the end of the day and exercising regularly, such as walking, also help to alleviate the problem.
3. Peripheral polyneuropathy
Peripheral polyneuropathy is characterized by severe damage to peripheral nerves, responsible for transmitting information between the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body, causing symptoms such as weakness in the limbs, tingling and persistent pain.
Usually this disease is a consequence of a complication, such as diabetes, exposure to toxic substances or infections, for example.
What to do: Treatment consists of resolving the cause of the nerve damage. In some cases, it may be necessary to maintain constant use of medications to control symptoms and improve quality of life.
4. Herniated disc
Herniated disc is characterized by the bulging of the intervertebral disc, which can cause a feeling of weakness in the legs. In addition, other symptoms may appear, such as back pain, which can radiate to the buttocks or legs, difficulty moving and numbness, burning or tingling in the back, buttocks or legs.
What to do: treatment can be done with medication, physiotherapy or surgery, depending on its severity.
Stroke, or stroke, is characterized by the sudden interruption of blood flow to some region of the brain, which can lead to the emergence of weakness in the limbs and symptoms such as paralysis of part of the body, difficulty in speaking, fainting, dizziness and headache, depending on the affected site.
What to do: Both conditions must be treated urgently, as they can leave sequelae, such as difficulties to speak or move. In addition, preventive measures are also very important to prevent stroke, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and avoiding high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides and diabetes.
6. Guillain-Barré syndrome
Guillain-Barré Syndrome is characterized by a serious autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks nerve cells, causing inflammation in the nerves and, consequently, limb weakness and muscle paralysis, which can be fatal.
What to do: Treatment is done at the hospital, using a technique called plasmapheresis, in which blood is removed from the body, filtered to remove the substances that are causing the disease, and then returned to the body. The second part of the treatment consists of injecting high doses of immunoglobulins against the antibodies that are attacking the nerves, reducing inflammation and destruction of the myelin sheath.
7. Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body itself, leading to the degradation of the myelin sheath that lines the neurons, compromising the functioning of the nervous system.
Some of the symptoms that may arise are weakness in the arms and legs or difficulty walking, difficulty coordinating movements and holding urine or stools, loss of memory or difficulty in concentrating, difficulty seeing or blurred vision.
What to do: the treatment of multiple sclerosis consists of the use of medications and physical therapy sessions.
In addition, other diseases that can cause weakness in the legs are Parkinson’s disease, Myasthenia gravis or spinal cord injuries, for example.