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Sudden weakness in limbs

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What is Sudden Weakness in limbs?

Weakness in the legs may happen for a variety of reasons. It may affect one leg or both and may come on suddenly or days or weeks.
Leg weakness may develop in one or both legs. It can occur due to illness or fatigue but may have more serious causes.
This article outlines the various causes of weakness in the legs and their associated treatment options. We also provide information on when to see a doctor.

What Is the Treatment for Weakness in Legs?

Treatment for weakness in the legs varies depending on the cause. Treatment for weakness in legs caused by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease) may include:
  • Medications to slow the progression of the disease and ease symptoms
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Psychological support


Leg weakness may be a side effect of certain medications. If you suspect medication may be causing your leg weakness, contact your doctor. They can suggest alternative treatments that may have less challenging side effects.

How Is Weakness in Legs Diagnosed?

The cause of weakness in the legs is diagnosed with patient history and physical examination. Tests to help determine the cause may include: 

  • Blood tests 
  • Urine tests
  • Nerve tests
    • Electromyography (EMG) 
    • Nerve conduction studies
  • Imaging tests
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
    • Computerized tomography (CT) scan

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