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Affected leg now thinner.........

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi everyone...I had a proplapsed disc at L5/S1 about 1 year ago.I could not put any weight on my left leg for about 4 months,although I can now walk properly I still get cramps along my left leg occasionally,especially when doing yoga or stretching.I noticed this morning that my left leg is now thinner than my right.Especially the muscle mass around my calf.Anyone else had this happen to them and will I be able to build the muscle back up to the same size as the other leg?

Many thanks,


  • Not really sure with Me. My knees tend to ache alot, like right now. My legs dont feel strong either but its My left leg that gives Me problems. Maybe thats why My legs ache after standing or walking awhile.
  • :) hi! i see this is your first post and i want to welcome you to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i do not have your problem and i hope someone comes along who can address that for you. good luck and keep us posted. Jenny :)
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  • Welcome to the Spine Health Forum!

    I too have suffered a good deal of muscle wastage, especially in my calves, in fact I have a pair of long boots which used to beable to just fit around my bare calves, now if I wanted I could tuck my jeans into them with room to spare!
    My muscle wastage is caused mainly to not being able to do more than a hobble these days, whereas before I injured my spine I cycled, walked and ran daily.
    I have a good deal of muscle cramps because of the un natural way I stand, due to shortened hamstrings which are a bi-product of lumbar pain. Gentle stretching and heat treatment are the only non-medication methods which help me so far.
    I however have seen many patients, in my time as a nurse who have worked atrophied muscle mass up, so that it is nearly the same size as the other limb, it takes a long while and needs a specially written exercize regime from a physiotherapist, but it can be done, I have even seen new muscle in a calf be worked up when the main calf muscle has had to be surgically removed following a complicated fractures in a motorbike accident patient, so there is a good chance for you, if you are willing to find a physiotherapist, put the time and work in and above all have the patience for this long challenge. The involvement of specialist help is vital along the way as you don`t want to bulk up the thigh muscle on the weak leg, nor neglect the other leg. In the meantime I recommend you keep walking, swimming and do daily core strengthening exersizes which will help support your spine and take some strain off your leg muscles and ensure your diet has a good portion of protein and that is a varied diet with all the vitamins and minerals you need for muscles to grow, a vitamin supplement may be a good idea.
    I hope this helps and that you post soon with some results!

    Best Wishes Viking :)))
  • Excellent response, Viking! I agree 100% with what you said about muscle atrophy and it's potential for comeback, and that you recommended involving PT rather than trying to build the affected leg back up w/o medical advise.

    I can't think of anything to add, just wanted to support the advise already given!

    Best of luck and please do let us know how it goes, OK?

    Take care of you....
  • Especially you Viking for the great advice......Have just come back from seeing my doctor,who was infact less than useless.He virtually told me that there would be little chance of building up my muscle mass on the affected leg,also advised me to go ahead with the caudal epidural I'm booked in for next week,I'm a bit concerned about that as long term I can't see that helping to relieve the pressure on my S1 nerve root that is still present one year on from my prolapsed disc,and is presumably still responsible in part for the ongoing atrophy in my left leg.

    Many thanks.
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  • The S1 nerve root is the one being impinged for Me as well and I have the same problems. So its not crazy to say that its the nerves being effected.
  • Ian,

    What kind of doc are you seeing? I agree that Viking gave outstanding advice. I have a lot of experience with atrophied muscles, both permanent and not. The key is I have a good neurologist who is willing to do an EMG to determine if the nerve to the muscle is damaged or not.

    Never say never!

  • I have a loss of muscle in the right leg, but only 10 weeks post-op I am already noticing an improvement. There is still a lot of numbness and all that, but the motor functions seem to be returning.

    I would also suggest an EMG to see if there is aa nervous problem so they can correct it quickly.

    Best of wishes,
  • I only spoke to my GP(I'm in the UK).After my caudal epidural next Friday I will go back to see him and ask him to arrange for me to have an EMG.

  • Great!

    I hope that you will keep us posted as to when the EMG will be done, and what the results are (if you don't mind sharing that info). I wish you all the best! :)
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