Sudden Weakness In Legs When Walking – Causes, Treatment, Home Remedies

Sudden Weakness In Legs When Walking – Causes, Treatment, Home Remedies

For humans, legs are a source of mobility and support up to a certain extent. Our legs enable us to walk and carry out our routine day-to-day activities. Any kind of pain, discomfort or weakness in legs can be very disabling and restrict our daily chores.

Have you been experiencing sudden weakness in legs when walking? This article will let you understand why you may be experiencing the same, along with its treatment and home remedies.

What Does It Mean To Have Sudden Weakness In Legs When Walking?

  • The sensation of weakness can either be generalized (felt all over the body or generally) or only in one or both legs.
  • One would experience weakness in muscles of legs when there is a loss of strength to work or carry out normal activities like standing or walking.
  • It is not normal to have such a sudden weakness. It could be due to a major illness like stroke or due to some pathology related only to the legs.
  • Feeling generalized weakness or fatigue is not a weakness in the true sense. Having sudden weakness in the leg when walking is an alarming symptom and it needs to be evaluated as soon as possible.

What Causes Sudden Weakness In Legs When Walking?

Our spinal cord is a means of communication between the brain and the body. Any pathology of the lumbar spine results in reduced or loss of nervous communication between the brain and lower extremities.

Pathologies related to the lumbar spine not only result in weakness of legs; it also affects the patient’s perception of pain, touch and temperature in the legs.


Causes Description
Spinal Cord Injury Trauma To A Lumbar Or Sacral Portion Of Spine Results In:

  • Some loss of function of the hips and legs
  • Little or no control of bowel or bladder
  • Minimal or complete loss of ability to walk

After a spinal cord injury, the person may or may not recover completely from the damage.

Spinal cord injuries are seen commonly in men in the age group of 16-30 years.

Lumbar Spine Osteoarthritis

(Facet Joint Osteoarthritis)

It is a degenerative type of disc disease frequently seen in elderly and is a common cause for neck pain and back pain.

Signs And Symptoms Include:  

Lumbar Disc Herniation

(slipped disc)

It is an age-related degeneration of inter-vertebral discs or from trauma or over-lifting. Tear in the disc ring or bulging out of disc irritates the surrounding nerve roots causing inflammation.

Signs And Symptoms Are:

  • Low back pain radiating to thighs or feet.
  • Tingling, numbness or weakness of one or both legs.
  • When the sciatic nerve is affected, the condition is called sciatica; the patient complains of pain along the entire leg extending from either side of back to thighs or calf muscles.
  • Patients also present with a burning type of pain along the affected leg.
Spinal Stenosis It is the abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal.

Causes are osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis, age-related, inter-vertebral disc prolapsed, and compression fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, tumors or trauma.

Signs And Symptoms Include:

  • Low back pain relieved by bending forward.
  • Tingling, numbness, and weakness of affected nerve roots.
  • Pain or weakness at thighs, buttocks, knees or below the knees.
  • Spinal stenosis can also result in sciatica.
Stroke Reduced Blood Supply To Brain Results In:

  • Sudden weakness and heaviness of one side of the body
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in speech and slurred speech
  • Bowel and bladder incontinence may be present

Timely detection and early diagnosis can reverse these signs and symptoms.

When these signs and symptoms appear temporarily due to momentarily loss of blood supply to the brain is called a transient ischemic attack.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome This Is An Acute Onset Autoimmune Condition Characterized By:

  • Sudden weakness of leg and inability to stand.
  • Ascending paralysis. That is, weakness starts in the extremities and progresses upwards.

It usually follows an acute viral infection of the stomach or respiratory tract.

In severe cases, it causes death due to cardio-respiratory failure.

Rhabdomylosis It is a serious disease syndrome in which muscular injury causes a release of its contents into the bloodstream.

Causes For Rhabdomyolysis Are:

  • Direct trauma like accidents, crush injuries, electric shock injuries
  • Snakebite or insect bite
  • Acute bacterial or viral infections
  • Use of alcohol or illicit drugs
  • Seizures

Signs And Symptoms Are:

  • Muscular pain in thighs, shoulders or back
  • Weakness of muscles and difficulty in movement
  • Reduced urine output
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Confusion, dehydration, rapid heart rate and loss of consciousness
Lou Gehrig’s Disease

(Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

It is a rare neurological illness in which there is a progressive weakness of motor neurons, that is, the nerve which controls voluntary movements like walking, chewing, etc.

It belongs to the category of motor neuron disease. Neurons deteriorate and gradually death of motor neurons occurs. Subsequently, the communication between the brain and affected parts of the body is lost

Signs And Symptoms Are:

  • Muscular twitching, cramps, and stiffness
  • Progressive weakness of legs, face, and arms
  • Difficulty in swallowing or talking
  • Slurred speech
Drugs and Toxins Medications like corticosteroids and statins used to control dyslipidemia may cause leg weakness.

Botulinum toxin and organophosphate poisoning are also some causes for sudden weakness in legs.

Treatment And Home Remedies For Sudden Weakness In Legs When walking:

Treatment for sudden weakness in legs when walking will depend upon the underlying medical condition. Treating the cause is more important.

For example, degenerative disc disease and herniated disc may be treated conservatively with the help of medications and exercise. However, severe cases may require surgery to relieve complaints.

Neurological conditions like Guillain Barre Syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s disease and stroke need urgent medical attention and treatment.

Home remedies for sudden weakness in legs when walking can be used only in cases of treatable clinical conditions. In the case of neurological defects, spinal cord injury and autoimmune conditions, home remedies will have little or no role to play.

Home Remedies To Reduce Weakness In Legs

  • Warm and cold application to reduce pain, aching and inflammation of back.
  • Soaking feet in warm water with Epsom salt or vinegar improves blood circulation to legs and reduces pain and weakness.
  • Take adequate rest.
  • Massaging legs improves blood circulation to the legs and reduces fatigue.
  • Exercising regularly can relieve tired legs. Weakness in legs due to spinal causes can be treated with medications along with appropriate physiotherapy.
  • Eat a balanced diet with an adequate amount of nutrient and vitamins to reduce and also prevent sudden weakness in legs when walking.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Sleep with two pillows under your feet to improve circulation and reduce weakness.