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Progressive painless limp
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Progressive painless limp

I am a 58-year old woman with a painless progressive limp and weakness, left leg, and some numbness in my middle toes. I have scoliosis, 28 degree curve to the side, with mild left side impingement at L4/5, and Tarlov cysts, according to an MRI. The orthopedic spine specialist specialist thinks the scoliosis is not bad enough to treat. I am concerned the the limp is getting worse; I am having trouble climbing stairs and have fallen a couple of times recently for no identifiable reason--tripped over my own feet. The limp became apparent to casual acquaintances about a year ago; my mother-in-law insits I had it a year before that, but I was not aware of it then. I have always been very active, and enjoyed walking but in the last few months I cannot keep up with companions, and have begun to fain weight, I think due to inactivity. I do water exercises daily, but the progression continues. Would a neurologist or neurosurgeon be able to help me, or should I wait another six months as the ortho doc advised? I am afraid that I will be much worse in six months.
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Avatar_n_tn
Any focal neurological abnormality should be evaluated as soon as possible by a neurologist. I would advise that you seek a consulatation sooner rather than later. While there are non-neurological causes of a limp in one leg (ie muskuloskeletal), if actual muscle weakness is present this may mean the nerves to that leg have a problem

there are several possibilities and you would need to be evaluated based on your neurological examination - I cannot tell from your history whether this could be from the brain or from the spinal cord or a peripheral nerve. If a peripheral nerve problem is suspected by the exam, an EMG and nerve conduction studies should be done to look for pinched nerves or nerve degeneration/damage. If a brain disorder is suspected then a brain MRI scan would be needed.

Good luck
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
A second opinion is never a bad idea. If he/she confirms what the first one says then you can feel reassured, if not then you can proceed with treatment before things worsen. Listen to your body as well as that little voice that is telling you that something isn't right. Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello.. I would like for you to know that there is someone who has the exact same problem. Ive been battling it for over a year with this and that specialist. MRIs and EMGs have become commonplace stuff. A year ago I got an orthotic made for "foot drop" due to peroneal neuopathy ( an iffy diagnosis that makes no sense) Within the last 3 months, my limp has returned, and the brace no longer helps. I can no longer do my job or even walk my dog. Im seeing another list of doctors to pick up the whole stupid thing again! This is horrible! Im sure you can relate. Good luck indeed. I will say that in the beginning anyway, the brace did a good job. It may well help you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi - My problem is very similar to yours, although I have only been limping for l0 months; also, my limp started after I had done heavy pruning on a tree plus some bushes. This was very foolish, since I have osteoporosis (severe but have never broken a bone). I did feel something happen on my right side and then stopped pruning. The next day I was in great pain, and when I walked my right foot would "slam" down.  After looking it up on the Internet, I learned that,if a person is unable to walk on his/her heels, it is an indication that it could be foot drop.
The pain went away after a few days, but the limp and inability to walk on my right heel remained.  It got so I didn't notice the limp, but I was always aware of not being able to walk from heel to toe on my right leg (after the pruning incident).
My question to you is, Have you had an MRI and/or EMG test?
My EMG test showed active degeneration changes in the left leg, which the neurologist said, in his opinion, would regenerate.
My right leg still gets weak after I have walked on it a while; also, I still limp.  I hope you will get lots of "second opinions" to find out what is happening - or what is causing your limp.  Good luck!
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