Read below about weakness of both legs, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your weakness of both legs from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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9 Potential Weakness of Both Legs Causes

  1. 1.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Lower Back

    The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.

    The pain associated with a slipped disk usually goes away within six weeks. If the pain lasts longer, consult a doctor. They may send you to see a back specialist for an MRI of your spine, and surgery may be considered.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, moderate back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that gets worse when sitting, leg weakness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Upper Back

    The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.

    The pain associated with a slipped disk usually goes away within six weeks. If the pain lasts longer, consult a doctor. They may send you to see a back specialist for an MRI of your spine, and surgery may be considered.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    upper back pain, neck pain, arm weakness, back pain that gets worse when sitting, upper spine pain
    Symptoms that always occur with herniated (slipped) disk in the upper back:
    upper back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Becker Muscular Dystrophy

    Becker muscular dystrophy is an inherited disorder that involves slowly worsening muscle weakness of the legs and pelvis

    This genetic disorder is considered irreversible, but symptoms can be effectively managed with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, severe fatigue, muscle aches, general weakness, decreased exercise tolerance
    Symptoms that always occur with becker muscular dystrophy:
    weakness, weakness of both legs
    Symptoms that never occur with becker muscular dystrophy:
    face weakness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Pes Cavus

    Pes cavus is a high arch of the foot that does not flatten with weight bearing. This foot type can cause pain.

    Without surgical intervention, this condition is permanent.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, foot numbness, high-arched feet, cold feet, leg weakness
    Symptoms that always occur with pes cavus:
    high-arched feet
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Weakness of Both Legs Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having weakness of both legs.

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  5. 5.Wernicke - Korsakoff Syndrome

    Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a condition that affects the brain due to low vitamin B1 levels. Symptoms can be loss of balance, drowsiness, staggering and confusion. If it persists this can result in memory loss.

    Although this is a chronic condition, treatment can prevent it from worsening.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea or vomiting, leg numbness, feeling confused and not making sense while talking, amnesia, jerky, unsteady, or uncoordinated walk
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  6. 6.Adrenoleukodystrophy

    Adrenoleukodystrophy describes a family of closely related inherited disorders of fat metabolism. It is a condition that is passed down from parent to child and affects mostly males. People affected with the disease cannot break down certain large fats, which accumulate in the nervous system, adrenal gland, and testes as a result, disrupting normal activity.

    Adrenoleukodystrophy is a chronic genetic disease that requires lifelong management.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, vomiting, hearing loss, general weakness, involuntary defecation
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Beriberi (Adult)

    A low level of vitamin B1 (thiamin) can cause damage to the heart, brain and nerves. This can result in symptoms like weakness, amnesia, nerve pain and symptoms of heart failure like swelling of limbs and shortness of breath.

    Symptoms may resolve if treatment is started promptly, however some patients will experience persistent symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), shortness of breath, anxiety, chest pain, distal numbness
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  8. 8.Amyloidosis

    Amyloidosis is a condition where a protein, called amyloid, deposits in the body's tissues and organs (commonly the heart and kidneys). This can lead to dysfunction and damage in these tissues and organs.

    This is a chronic condition, length of conditions vary depending on the extent at the time of discovery and treatment thereafter.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, dizziness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Osteoid Osteoma

    An osteoid osteoma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor that usually develops in the long bones of the legs. The thigh bone (femur) is affected most commonly, although the bones of the hand or the spine can have occasional involvement. This condition is most often found in young people.

    Good prognosis, 90% chance that the condition will not come back. A short recovery time after surgery is expected.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, upper back pain, spontaneous back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, severe back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with osteoid osteoma:
    hip pain, bilateral leg swelling, weakness in both arms, weakness of both legs
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Weakness of Both Legs

  • Q.Are you allergic to anything?
  • Q.How would you explain why your hip hurts?
  • Q.While you sit on something that allows your lower legs to hang freely, have someone tap each one of your knees, just below the kneecap, as shown in the image. How do your legs react?
  • Q.Have a friend stand across from you and hold out a finger. Touch that finger and then touch your nose. Move the target finger around and start going faster. Are you having trouble?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our weakness of both legs symptom checker to find out more.

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Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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