hip and thigh weakness after minimal exertion

by Jane
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

In early June of 2013 I noticed a slight feeling of tightness in my right thigh near the hip bone. Within days I was experiencing rapidly increasing muscle fatigue in my right leg, most noticeably in the hip and upper thigh. As the weakness progressed, my ability to walk distances of more than a few hundred yards or to climb more than 3 or 4 stairs became alarming. The symptoms matched everything from chronic fatigue to MS to early stage ALS. At rest, I felt no pain, weakness or fatigue.

I went to a chiropractor who did extensive testing with a device that measured activity in my spine, compared weight distribution in my legs and took some sort of x-rays of my feet. I was prescribed expensive custom made orthotics and a year long chiropractic plan was laid out that promised to fix my problem.
After two months and 14 chiropractic sessions I saw/felt no improvement at all and in fact felt I was deteriorating further. At my wits' end, a friend reccomended visiting a kinesiologist who within 10 minutes of hearing my story, focused the problem down to a talar destabilization that had the effect of throwing my entire left leg out of whack.
(Incidentally I have no pain, restriction or swelling in my foot.) My ankle in the area surrounding the talar joint has been gently bound with elastic tape and from this (seemingly) tiny stabilization, the strength in my hip and leg appear to coming back.
I am thrilled to be improving but absolutely furious that the chiropractic treatments costing me more than a thousand dollars I could ill afford, along with the expensive orthotics that if I were to wear would hamper my progress, were prescribed as a cure and that 2 months after beginning treatment the diagnostic tools produced a readout that indicated my health had been vastly improved even as the distances I could walk had decreased to the point of considering a cane to help support me on short walks. More treatments, I was told, would see me actually feeling the benefits that had already appeared on the diagnostic test.
I was misdiagnosed - and worse, when I asked if a break or a strain or a tumour could have been missed by the diagnostics, I was asdured that all was well, it was just my brain that hadn't caught up and that was still sending messages of weakness and fatigue.
My question: what do I do now to address this inadequate diagnosis and treatment?

Ho-hum, I'm not sure, Jane. I share your doubts and anger. Frankly, I'm always rather dubious of a "year-long" programme. At least you had the sense to bail out after two months.

But I'm still sceptical of the talar destabilization diagnosis. I really can't see that causing neurological weakness in the thigh muscles.

A couple questions:
1. You have no pain at all in all of this hip weakness? There's an important distinction between weakness because of pain, and pain-less weakness. Weak with no pain?

2. Is the knee jerk reflex normal?

3. If you prick your leg with a pin, is it the same as the other leg?

4. Lying on your back, if you pull the knee to the chest, opposite shoulder, rotating in a circle... no stiffness or pain?

5. No back pain at all? Good health?

6. If you press in the groin and around the hip, first in the good, then the naughty leg... no difference?

Have you seen a neurologist? My feeling is that you still don't have an adequate diagnosis. Until you do have, it's difficult to make a serious complaint against any one. There's certainly no harm in writing to the chiropractor concerned to express your anger. Were you examined properly by the chiropractor. Not just the device checking your spine... reflexes, orthopaedic tests, range of motion of hip and back, precisely which muscle(s) are weak, sensory changes in the leg?
Obviously it's great that you feel you are improving. Wonderful. Let's hope and pray the improvement continues.

Obviously thoughts about the nasty neurological diseases still lurk. Interesting research that they may be caused by a high carb/ low fat diet. Make sure you are eating the healthy oils. Fatty fish, olive oil, avocados, freshly ground flax seed, walnuts to name a few.

I hope this contributes, let me know.

Dr B

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