Right leg giving way, paralysis after only 2 minutes walking or standing

by Nigel H D
(London, UK)

Maigne's syndrome comes from the junction of the thoracic and lumbar spine.

Maigne's syndrome comes from the junction of the thoracic and lumbar spine.

Right leg giving way, paralysis after only 2 minutes walking or standing is most likely a nerve condition, but the arterial blood supply to the leg should also be considered, particularly in smokers.

I cannot walk more than two minutes - already at a halting pace with a limp - before snap pain strikes from the groin, down the back of the thigh, into the outer calf and into the arch of the foot and big toe. The pain takes my breath away, leaves my heart racing and makes me nauseous and will only go away after I return to lying down.

Previously, I had cramps in the outer calf, stiffness in the outer upper thigh/hip and semi-numbness at the very top of the thigh near to the pubic area. (All of this is on the right side but the left arch is sometimes painful as well.)

My lower back, centre, hurts when I lean forward if seated on the floor, back straight, legs parallel in front - it pinches. There is no pain on sitting or getting up from sitting, which is unlike when I had prolapsed L3, L4 in 2005. Then, I had no referred pain. Now, I have mainly referred pain which can be severe and very debilitating.

The condition started about seven days ago with a tight SIJ which then changed to tightness around the upper outer thigh and calf, which was again winding and only helped by sitting down.

Physio says the nerve is pinched but thinks it is not disc related and is perhaps another muscle pinched the sciatic nerve. Palpations on the joints in the mid-lower back really felt like a "knot" was being successfully dealt with but my expected relief never lasted. The paralysis only came on yesterday after a ten minute walk with to the shop carrying a 6-7lb carrier bag. Could that have kicked it off?

I am male, 48, weighing 14st, 5lb/201lb/91kg in a sedentary job who exercises, stretches and is slim and body aware.

A recommended chiropractor works about 4 minutes' walk away, on a good day, but I fear I cannot get half that way till the leg paralysis and 8.5/10 pain begins.

I hope you can help as you have others.


Hello Nigel,
Apologies for the late reply; I've been away for a month.

There are a number of potential causes of your pain. When you have pain walking, immediately relieved by sitting down, then the examination needs to start with the pulses in the ankle and foot. Intermittent claudication occurs mainly in smokers; lack of blood to the leg.

Then numbness in the pubic area comes from somewhere high in the lumbar spine; it could be a condition of the femoral nerve or the superior cluneal nerves.

However, the outer calf invites the Slump test for sciatica. Find it at Chiropractic Help using the search function in the navigation bar on the left.

Then, if it's groin, I always check the hip joint.

For paralysis, called paresis if it's of a more temporary nature, look up our leg pain muscle page. Which muscle is weak? Is it actually weak, or just feel a bit feeble due to pain? Can you raise the big toe?

All of this as you can see is quite involved; you need to find an experienced thorough chiropractor or medical doctor, methinks. They will check the reflexes, test for numbness and do other tests.

These are just a few preliminary thoughts; then one goes on to whether it affects the bladder, and so on.

I hope this contributes, and again apologies.

Dr B

» Right leg giving way, paralysis after only 2 minutes walking or standing.

I am 48, 6'5", 14st 7lbs

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