As we get older, it’s not uncommon for a person to have one leg that’s a little bit stronger than the other. It may not seem like a major issue, but if the discrepancy in leg strength is actually due to a significant weakening in one leg, you could be at risk of some physical issues down the road. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the underlying causes of leg weakness and explain how a physical therapist can help you strengthen your leg to help keep you physically active.
Causes Of Leg Weakness
One leg can end up weaker than others for a number of reasons, with one of the main causes being an acute injury. If you suffer an injury that damages your knee joint, leads to a muscle tear in your hamstring or affects the stability of your ankle joint, your gait and your leg strength may suffer. Leg weakness can also be the result of repetitive stress or degenerative changes within the spine, hips or legs. For example, if you’re dealing with a pinched nerve or sciatica, you may notice that one leg is weaker than the other.
There is also the possibility that your leg weakness is due to an underlying neuromuscular disorder or a thyroid condition. Your doctor will want to run some tests in the event that acute or chronic stress doesn’t appear to be the underlying cause of your extremity weakness. Finally, some people experience leg weakness in the aftermath of a stroke. Regardless of your underlying reason, our team of physical therapists can help you overcome this leg weakness.
Consequences Of Untreated Leg Weakness
As we noted above, having one leg that is slightly or significantly weaker than the other may not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to bigger problems down the road. Some health issues that can develop as a result of leg weakness include:
- Increased Fall Risk
- Increased Fracture Risk
- Worsening Cardiovascular Health
- Decreased Independence
It may not seem obvious how the above conditions can develop as a result of some minor leg weakness, but it’s true. Leg weakness can affect your balance and put you at a greater risk of falling, and leg weakness can also make a person more sedentary. Living a less active life can negatively affect healthy bone development, and your heart will feel the effects of the decrease in heart-healthy activity. All of these factors can make it harder for you to retain your independence and your quality of life.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can fight back against leg weakness and related health issues by connecting with a physical therapist. We’ll begin by conducting a baseline assessment of both legs to get a better understanding of your strengths and deficits. From there, we’ll develop an individualized physical therapy plan that can target specific muscles, joints or soft tissues that may be contributing to your leg weakness. We’ll also set you up with some home-based exercises that you can perform on your own time to keep your progress moving in the right direction.
You may not see progress overnight, but we’re confident that if you stick with your physical therapy program and are willing to put in the work that you can strengthen your legs and greatly improve their physical function while also protecting yourself against some of the potential issues listed above. Don’t let untreated leg weakness turn unto a major health issue or a decline in your quality of life. Instead, connect with a team of physical therapy professionals and get back to moving confidently.
For more information about leg weakness and associated treatments, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.