Muscle weakness in the legs

Muscle weakness in the legs means loss of strength in the legs.

In the legs, cramps or significant muscle weakness may occur, making it impossible to stand for long periods of time.

These disorders are observed in children and adults.

Weakness and muscle pain

Weakness and muscle pain can occur together.


Causes of muscle pain

Muscle pain in legs and arms is very common.

The pain causes a decrease in strength because the movement causes pain, so the affected person cannot perform everyday or sports activities.

Causes of diffuse muscle pain

Muscle pain is mainly a symptom of skeletal muscular disorders such as:

  • fibromyalgia,
  • Infectious diseases such as flu, cold or Lyme disease.
  • Connective tissue diseases such as lupus erythematosus (LE).
  • Muscle degeneration, i.e. polymyositis.

The pain caused by these conditions can be mild or severe.

Causes of localized muscle pain

Causes can be:

  • A bruise,
  • An accident,
  • Excessive sport,
  • Hard work,
  • A muscular compression or strain,
  • A contracture.

Peripheral neuropathy is another disease that, in addition to muscle pain, causes tingling and loss of sensitivity.

An electrolyte imbalance (for example, of magnesium, potassium and sodium) in the blood causes pain and weakness in the muscles.

A loss of strength can have serious consequences, for example, weakness of the lumbar muscles is a risk factor for a herniated disc.

Causes of muscle weakness in the legs

Muscle weakness in the legs can be caused by a whole series of factors. Some are harmless, while others can be very dangerous.


Heavy physical activity is one of the most common causes of muscle weakness. Excessive exercise can lead to exhaustion and tiredness.

Athletes and athletes can get tired if they overdo it with hard workouts.

It is important to rest properly after training.

Nutrition and diet

One of the most common reasons for muscle weakness is diet.

Due to a rushed lifestyle, many people prefer fast food to healthy food.

Even if convenience foods satisfy hunger, it does not give the body the necessary nutrients.

So all this can cause weakness in the legs and throughout the body.


Another cause of leg weakness is poor circulation.

Circulatory disorders in the legs can be caused by:

  • An arterial occlusion,
  • Burst capillaries.

The resulting consequences are bruises or hematomas with no apparent cause.

If the muscles are not sufficiently oxygenated and supplied with nutrients, the muscles relax.


An autoimmune disease such as Graves’ disease can weaken the leg muscles. This condition causes overactivity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).

It can lead to weakness especially in the muscles of:

  • Shoulder
  • Hip
  • lower extremities,
  • Hand.

Drug side effect

Some medications can cause muscle weakness, for example:

  • gentamicin (gentalyn),
  • cortisones (in high doses),
  • diuretics (if they lead to a decrease in potassium levels),
  • Laxatives.

Diseases that cause muscle weakness


Addison’s disease

A hormone disorder called Addison’s disease causes aldosterone and cortisol (hormones of the adrenal gland). The consequences of this are:

  1. muscle weakness in the legs,
  2. Nausea
  3. Vomit
  4. Stomach ache
  5. Weight loss.

Other metabolic diseases

  1. Hyperparathyroidism
  2. sodium or potassium deficiency,
  3. Diabetes
  4. Thyrotoxicosis.

Toxic diseases

  1. Botulism.
  2. organophosphate poisoning,
  3. Paralysis due to tetrodotoxin poisoning.

Neurological disorders

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a disease in which balance and movement disorders occur. It also causes a loss of muscle tone.

It can be congenital (infantile cerebral palsy) or develops secondarily after a craniocerebral trauma or by a disease.

Myasthenia gravis

Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by fatigue and fluctuating muscle weakness.

If the brain cannot send a signal for muscle contraction, strength is lost and you can no longer perform movements.

Signs and symptoms of myasthenia gravis include:

  1. drooping eyelids,
  2. swallowing disorders,
  3. muscle fatigue,
  4. difficulty breathing (due to weakness of the respiratory muscles),
  5. Inability for facial expression, etc.

Therapy consists of medications and surgical measures.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

MS is a disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and millions of nerve cells in the body.

The nerve fibers are protected by a fatty substance called myelin. In multiple sclerosis, the myelin becomes inflamed.

The consequence is the separation of the myelin layer from the nerve fiber and the destruction of this substance.

If the nerve is without myelin, the nerve impulses are slowed down.

Many symptoms are possible, including:

  • gait uncertainty,
  • loss of balance and coordination,
  • Myasthenia
  • loss of power,
  • Rigidity
  • Tremble
  • exhaustion, tiredness and shortness of breath,
  • Incontinence
  • stool constipation,
  • Vertigo
  • Pain in arms and legs.

Patients with multiple sclerosis have difficulty walking at the first stage, but only with one leg, right or left.

At an advanced stage, they have to stop when walking, and the recovery periods become longer and longer.

Anxiety and depression

These mental disorders can cause fatigue and weakness, especially in the legs, an accelerated heartbeat, tingling, etc.

Other neurological diseases:

  1. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease in which the motor neurons destroy each other, as a result of which the patient can no longer control his muscles.
  2. Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disease that weakens the muscles of the legs.
  3. nerve compression,
  4. Bell’s palsy (affects the eye muscles),
  5. Muscular dystrophy
  6. Stroke.

Muscle-typical diseases


Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory muscle disease that causes chronic inflammation of the skin and muscles.

It is a progressive autoimmune disease of connective tissue that leads proximal (thigh muscles, shoulders and arms to elbows) to muscle weakness.

Symptoms of dermatomyositis include:

  1. Muscle
  2. ulcers of the stomach and small intestine,
  3. intestinal perforation,
  4. lung diseases,
  5. Fever
  6. Fatigue
  7. Weight loss.

It causes rashes of red or purple color on the face, hands, knees, chest and back.

There is no cure for this disease, but the symptoms can be alleviated with corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs.


Myositis is a condition that causes inflammation of muscle fibers and is one of the causes of muscle weakness in the legs.

The weakness can also radiate to other parts of the body, causing fatigue and pain.

Muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a genetic hereditary disease characterized by damage to muscle fibers.

Symptoms of muscular dystrophy include:

  1. Weakness
  2. loss of mobility,
  3. Lack of coordination.

There is no cure for muscular dystrophy.

Other muscular causes

  1. Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by destruction of muscle fibers;
  2. Polymyositis is a progressive inflammatory disease of the muscular apparatus;
  3. Myotonia is a disease characterized by too slow relaxation of muscles after contraction.
  4. Fibromyalgia is a chronic muscle disorder characterized by diffuse pain, fatigue (especially in the morning), and stiffness.
  5. Mitochondrial myopathies are diseases in which the organs that generate energy for the cells are damaged.

Other reasons for muscle weakness

  1. Malignant tumors such as multiple myeloma (mainly affects the elderly),
  2. Restless leg syndrome,
  3. Anaemia
  4. Malnutrition
  5. Hodgkin’s disease,
  6. West Nile virus,
  7. Hypotension.

How does it manifest itself? The symptoms of muscle weakness

One of the most common symptoms of muscle fatigue is loss of strength.

Although the symptoms of muscle fatigue are similar in men and women, women are more susceptible to:

  • Pregnancy

A pregnant woman develops these symptoms mainly in the legs and arms.

Muscle fatigue in women is mainly caused by:

  • fibromyalgia,
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome.

List of signs and symptoms that appear along with muscle fatigue:

  1. fatigue,
  2. numbness of the muscles,
  3. inability to hold an arm up,
  4. difficulty grasping objects due to weakness in the hands (for example, due to carpal tunnel syndrome),
  5. Unstable knee (muscle failure),
  6. inability to engage in physical activity,
  7. Sleepiness
  8. Long-lasting fatigue,
  9. Indisposition
  10. Insomnia
  11. Headache.

There may be unwanted muscle contractions, also called myoclonus, and rapid twitching and fasciculating.

These spontaneously occurring muscle twitches are mainly observed in people with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

Symptoms also include tremor.

Tremor can be caused by maximum muscle contractions.

Postoperative muscle weakness

Patients who underwent surgical intervention immediately lose strength on the quadriceps and calf.

When they try to do a simple exercise, they notice that the leg trembles because of maximum muscle contraction.

Diagnosis of muscle weakness

The diagnosis of muscle weakness is made by assessment of the doctor and the following examinations:

  1. blood analyses,
  2. Electromyography
  3. Magnetic resonance imaging
  4. CT.

Therapy and natural remedies for muscle weakness

The following natural treatments can help with muscle weakness if it is not caused by serious medical conditions.


Die regelmäßige körperliche Aktivität erhöht die Widerstandskraft und den Appetit und vermindert Stress.

Die Übungen spielen eine fundamentale Rolle, um die Gesundheit zu fördern und Krankheiten zu bekämpfen, zum Beispiel:

  1. Aerobic,
  2. Dehnübungen,
  3. Yoga.


Excessive exertion can cause muscle weakness. Therefore, after a laborious activity, an appropriate rest is recommended.

Sleep at least seven hours a day.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking a sufficient amount of water prevents dehydration and promotes digestion.

Healthy nutrition

A balanced diet plays an important role in reducing muscle weakness.

Fats and fried foods should be better avoided.

It is recommended to eat fruits, vegetables (rich in vitamins), whole grains, nuts and seeds, because they help to stay healthy and in shape.

Food supplements should be better avoided, because mineral salts and vitamins are sufficiently found in the diet.

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