My partner has been having rippling/twitching effect in his lower legs/calves for a couple of weeks. There is no pain with this but it is almost like there is something running up his leg. It appears more noticable when he is sitting down. Any ideas what this could be?
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.
Without the ability to obtain a history and examine your parter, I can not comment on the what these ripples or twitches are nor what is causing them. However, I will try to provide you with some information regarding possibilities.
One possible cause of these symptoms is what is called fasciculations. Fasciculations are twitches or ripples that can occur in any muscle of the body including the eyelid, arms, legs, chest area, and even tongue. These fasciculations often occur during relaxation and do not continue during voluntary muscle movement.
There are several possible causes.
Most commonly, fasciculations are benign, meaning that they are of no consequence and are not resulting from a serious cause. In such cases, they may be related to anxiety, and often occur after recent strenuous activity or muscle over-use. If they are bothersome, there are some medications which can be taken to reduce them.
It must be emphasized that in the MAJORITY of cases they are BENIGN. However, when fasciculations occur in the setting of associated symptoms such as loss of sensation, tingling or numbness, weakness, trouble swallowing and other symptoms, the cause may be due to a peripheral nervous system problem. The location of the problem could be the anterior horn cells, the area where the nerves that supply motor innervation to our body comes from. These are the cells that give off the nerves that allow us to voluntarily contract our muscles. The diseases that might affect the anterior horn cells include ALS (also called Lou Gherig's disease), a condition called spinal muscular atrophy, polio, west nile virus, and other infections.
Another nervous system problem, neuropathy, may also lead to fasciculations. There will again be associated weakness or sensory changes.
It would be best for your partner to be seen by a general practioner for a full examination. If the GP detects other neurologic signs, he/she may choose to refer you to a neurologist. One test that can help determine whether or not fasciculations are benign or related to a nervous system problem is abbreviated EMG/NCS, this procedure tests how electricity is conducted along nerves and how muscles respond to such electricity.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find this information useful.
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