Causes Of Fatigue & Aching Legs
Many medical conditions can cause both pain in the legs and fatigue, and determining the cause of these symptoms often requires a trip to the doctor. To make a diagnosis, your doctor needs a thorough understanding of your symptoms, including what brings them on, what improves them, and other symptoms you may have.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Expert Explains Possible Causes Of Muscle Weakness Or Leg Fatigue
- 24 Mar 2021, 10:16 IST
Pain or fatigue in the legs is a very common symptom, which can be caused by various underlying factors. You may have an increased risk for leg fatigue if youre female, overweight, or older.
This happens because the lower body carries the weight of the upper body. You must have experienced that sitting or standing for a long time can cause the legs to feel tired and heavy. A variety of underlying factors can also cause leg discomfort.
To understand this better HerZindagi exclusively spoke to Dr Santosh B Patil, who is a consultant Neuro and Vascular Interventional Radiologist at The Vein Center
Pain, soreness, or cramping, leg fatigue may be accompanied by any of the following factors. Leg fatigue isnt usually a cause for a major health concern, but its still significant that you pay attention to your body when fatigue occurs. Especially if you have other symptoms, said Dr Patil and explained some possible causes for leg fatigue:
I Have Muscle Weakness
If you have muscle weakness and visit your doctor, they will first need to know the following:
- How it began and how long you have had it for.
- Whether it is getting worse, getting better or staying the same.
- Whether you are otherwise well, are losing weight or have travelled abroad recently.
- What medicines or other drugs you have been taking and whether there are any muscle problems in your family.
Your doctor will need to examine you to see which muscles are affected and whether you have true or perceived muscle weakness. They will check to see whether your muscles are tender to touch or unusually ‘fatigable’. They may want to watch you walk.
They will then need to test your nerves to see whether the muscles are getting the right signals to act. Your doctor may need to test your central nervous system, including your balance and co-ordination. They may need to perform blood tests to look for abnormalities of hormones, salts and blood cells.
Depending on the results of these tests your doctor may also order the following:
- Nerve studies to make sure the nerves are conducting properly.
- A muscle biopsy to see whether the muscles themselves show signs of inflammation or damage. A biopsy is a procedure where a small sample is taken to look at under the microscope.
- Body scans such as CT or MRI to look for conditions elsewhere in the body which may affect muscle power and function.
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Understanding Muscle Weakness Symptoms
Lets talk about the role that muscles play in your legs and throughout your body. Your body has around 600 or so muscles consisting of three types of muscles: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. Muscles comprise 40% of your body weight.
Smooth muscles help aid in digestion, while cardiac muscles enable your heart to beat correctly. The muscles responsible for movement are skeletal muscles. When your body works right, you should be able to move your skeletal muscles at will, that is, whenever you want to.
While each muscle type has a specific purpose, the different muscle types work together to help your body function at its best. So, its possible that when theres a problem with one type of muscle, it can affect other areas of your body.
Skeletal muscles give your body the power and strength it needs to move. When the skeletal muscles in your legs contract, they allow motion in your legs. The smaller muscles in your legs help you to rotate the joints in your legs and promote stability.
When your leg muscles dont contract as they should, you may feel as though the muscles in your legs are weak. Some people say their legs feel like rubber or jelly when their leg strength is diminished. Weak leg muscles can make it difficult to walk or stand. Because you may not feel as stable, you may experience a fall.
Leg Muscle Weakness In Seniors
Are you a senior whos lost some mobility due to having leg muscle weakness in one or both legs? Maybe youve had a fall or two because youve been experiencing weak leg muscles?
Weak legs are a common problem in seniors because we lose muscle mass as we get older. As we age, we tend to become less active, and this causes a reduction in our muscle strength.
While some physical conditions can cause leg weakness, chances are, your weak leg muscles are part of the aging process. But dont fret, there may be some things you can do to improve the strength in your legs and help you become more active.
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Using The Brain To Move A Muscle
Also, the amount of muscle tissue must be normal, and the tissue must be able to contract in response to the signal from the nerves. Therefore, true weakness results only when one or more part of this pathwaybrain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles, or the connections between themis damaged or diseased.
Weakness may develop suddenly or gradually. Weakness may affect all of the muscles in the body or only one part of the body. For example, depending on where the spinal cord is damaged, spinal cord disorders may cause weakness only of the legs.
Symptoms depend on which muscles are affected. For example, when weakness affects muscles of the chest, people may have difficulty breathing. When weakness affects muscles that control the eyes, people may have double vision.
Complete muscle weakness causes paralysis. People may have other symptoms depending on what is causing the weakness. Weakness is often accompanied by abnormalities in sensation, such as tingling, a pins-and-needles sensation, and numbness.
Weak Left Arm And Leg
Usually, if there is weakness in the left arm and leg, first of all they suspect a stroke – an acute disorder of cerebral circulation. Indeed, a characteristic symptom of this pathology is the numbness of one half of the body, in this case the left one. This is quite probable, but not the only factor that can be expressed in the weakness of the limbs. So what else can cause this condition?
- vegetative vascular dystonia, obliterating endarteritis
- disease of the left kidney, including the tumor process
- disease of the spleen
- obliterating atherosclerosis, or thromboangiitis
- diseases of the spine, including curvature of the spine, protrusion of the disc, hernia, tumor process in the spine.
It is almost impossible to diagnose such diseases without special research methods. Therefore, the doctor must necessarily send the patient to a follow-up examination to pinpoint the possible cause of weakness of the left arm and leg. If you suspect a stroke, you need to see a doctor immediately.
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Food Allergies Food Intolerance And Fatigue
Symptoms: Fatigue, sleepiness, continued exhaustion
Although food is supposed to give you energy, medical research suggests that hidden food intolerances — or allergies — can do the opposite. In fact, fatigue may be an early warning sign of food intolerance or food allergy. Celiac disease, which happens when you cant digest gluten, may also cause fatigue.
Ask your doctor about the elimination diet. This is a diet in which you cut out certain foods linked to a variety of symptoms, including sleepiness within 10 to 30 minutes of eating them, for a certain period of time to see if that makes a difference. You can also talk to your doctor about a food allergy test — or invest in a home test such as ALCAT — which may help you identify the offending foods.
What Feelings Of Weakness And Fatigue Mean In Children
Its normal to feel weak or even fatigued at times. But when it happens too often, there may be a greater issue at hand.
If your child is constantly complaining about feeling weakness or fatigue, its best not to shrug it off as a minor issue. Listen to their concerns and evaluate the seriousness of the condition.
To help you with this, weve created a brief guide on the different types and causes of weakness and fatigue in children. We also included some actions you may take regarding your childs condition.
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Prevent Deconditioning Using Exercise
Exercising as part of the Overcoming MS program will help you to gently build up muscle strength and endurance which will improve any fatigue and weakness. Regular exercise will also ensure that you prevent any deconditioning and muscle wastage.
Strength exercises such as squats, lunges and leg lifts will all help you to strengthen your legs if you have been feeling heaviness. Hold onto something as you are doing these exercises at first and you will gradually build up the strength and balance.
Specific Causes Of New Onset Muscle Weakness
- Polio. A severe spinal cord disease that causes paralysis. It is prevented by the polio virus vaccine. Polio is almost wiped out in the entire world. There have been no cases in the US since 1979. Now, it only occurs in 2 countries.
- Acute Flaccid Myelitis . A rare infection of the spinal cord. It acts like polio did. It causes sudden onset of arm or leg weakness in one or more places. The main cause has been an enterovirus. There has been a rise in cases since 2014.
- West Nile Virus myelitis. See the Mosquito Bite care guide for details. Also acts like polio did.
- Guillain-Barre syndrome. A severe nerve weakness that starts in the feet and moves up the body over several days. It affects the same parts on both sides of the body. It can follow some viral infections.
- Tick paralysis. A rare problem from a tick that has been attached for 5 or more days. Often it is hidden in the hair. Once the tick is removed, the weakness clears. It takes a few hours to a day.
- Poisoning. Some types of poisoning can cause weakness, often with confusion.
- Viral myositis. Muscle pain in the leg muscles is seen with some viral infections, such as influenza. The pain can make some children not want to walk. This is different than weakness. The muscle pain lasts a few days to a week.
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General Measures For Leg Weakness
In general, some general measures can be used to improve the feeling of weakness in the legs , however, a medical evaluation is necessary in any of the aforementioned cases to indicate the specific treatment:
What Causes Weakness In Ms
The muscle weakness that you are feeling can be directly linked to MS because the damage to your nerves can disrupt signals to the muscles. This nerve damage makes it hard to move your muscles and leads to a heavy feeling in your legs . MS spasticity can cause any muscle in your body to feel weak, heavy and difficult to move. It is a result of damage along the nerves of the brain and spinal cord controlling movement.
You may feel that as a result of MS you arent exercising regularly. This inactivity can lead to your muscles naturally becoming weaker which is known as deconditioning. This is why it is vital to keep up some form of gentle exercise at all times as part of the Overcoming MS program.
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Primary Sarcopenia Muscling Up
If blood flow isnt the issue, your tired legs may be due to loss of leg muscles. The clinical term for a loss of leg muscle and muscle strength is primary sarcopenia. Primary sarcopenia is due to aging. Starting sometime in your 30s, you begin to lose muscle mass. Bone density also declines with age. And in women, the hormonal changes triggered by menopause make bones even more likely to fracture in a fall. Both women and men also see an acceleration in muscle mass loss and muscle weakening after age 50.
Even if youre not planning a career as a senior bodybuilder, losing muscle mass should be a concern. Tired, weak muscles can limit your ability to be active and enjoy such activities as tennis, dancing, hiking, and much more. Growing weaker can also affect your daily functioning and independence.
What Does It Mean When Your Legs Feel Weird
Restless legs syndrome , also called Willis-Ekbom Disease, causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Symptoms commonly occur in the late afternoon or evening hours, and are often most severe at night when a person is resting, such as sitting or lying in bed.
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Why Do My Legs Feel Like They Are Going To Give Out
Causes of nerve damage include direct injury, tumor growth on the spine, prolonged pressure on the spine, and diabetes. A spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries are among the most common reasons that legs give out. These injuries vary in severity but should always be evaluated immediately by a spine specialist.
Tired Legs: Causes Treatment Prevention And More
Why are my legs tired?
Tired legs are a fairly common symptom with a variety of underlying factors. You may have an increased risk for tired legs if youre female, overweight, or older. Tired legs can also occur in people who regularly sit or stand for extended periods of time.
Read on to learn more about this symptom, including common causes and treatments.
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Sleep Disorders And Fatigue
Symptoms: Chronic fatigue, feeling exhausted upon awakening, snoring
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that disrupt or prevent restful, restorative sleep. That can take a toll on your health and quality of life, so its important to look out for signs and symptoms.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders. If you or your partner notices loud snoring and you wake up tired and stay that way, you could have sleep apnea. More than one-third of adults in the U.S. snore at least a few nights a week. But if the snoring stops your breathing for seconds at a time, it could be sleep apnea. Learn more about the best sleep positions and see if sleeping on your stomach is bad or not.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes low blood oxygen levels. That’s because blockages prevent air from getting to the lungs. The low oxygen levels also affect how well your heart and brain work. Sometimes, the only clue that you might have sleep apnea is chronic fatigue.
Your doctor may prescribe a medical device called CPAP that helps keep your airways open while you sleep. In severe cases of sleep apnea, surgery may help. The surgeon will remove tissues that are blocking the airways. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack.
But sleep apnea is just one of many sleep disorders that cause fatigue. Other common types include:
Causes Of Muscle Fatigue In Legs
Fatigue leg is often caused due to over exertion.
The other most important cause of fatigue leg syndrome is due to circulatory disturbances in the lower leg. Peripheral artery disease is the common cause. PAD is caused due to atherosclerotic changes in the arteries of the leg. The plaque in the arteries blocks proper circulation of blood in the legs resulting into pain and leg fatigue. The classical symptom of PAD is pain in calf muscles while climbing the stairs or walking, and ameliorated after rest. The disease is common in old people and in those having history of cigarette smoking since years. It is also common in diabetics and patients suffering from high cholesterol.
When all other causes are excluded, and the specific cause is not determined, the condition is diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome. The other symptoms of this condition include generalized muscle aches, insomnia and headache, depression is associated with this disorder and a person often improves after treating depression.
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Why Do My Legs Feel Weak And Heavy
Feeling weakness in one or both of your legs is called monoparesis or paraparesis and can be a direct result of MS. You can also feel weakness in your arms and other areas of your body, but to feel it in your legs often occurs more frequently.
The weakness can make your legs feel heavy, as if they are being weighed down by something. They may also ache and hurt. Some people with MS describe it as like having bags of sand attached to their legs.
This muscle weakness combined with MS fatigue can be upsetting. Weakness in your legs can cause balance and walking difficulties and you may be more likely to fall. You may find that your legs can tire quickly making you feel a lack of physical strength, while fatigue brings on an intense exhaustion and lack of energy. Due to your legs feeling weak you need that extra energy to keep moving! Its a vicious cycle as muscle weakness and MS fatigue are closely linked and one can make the other worse.