My wife has had some sort of leg issues from the beginning symptoms of her Multiple Sclerosis. We have always been able to treat her symptom and her issues go away, but it can be a real annoyance for her. Normally she has one leg that is worse than the other, and it seems to be pretty random which leg it attacks. Most of the time her legs just become tired. If she walks too much or is standing too long her legs will become tired and as she explains it, "heavy". She has also had other issues though that seem to come back anytime she over does things.
One of those issues is twitching and restless legs. Usually it starts with her leg or legs getting tired and then she sits down to rest. Once she sits down, her leg will start to twitch and jump. Sometimes I can place pressure on her leg and it will subside, but there have been times that her legs will spasm bad enough that she will kick things in front of her. Her legs don't hurt as much during this time, but it is more of a nuisance that she gets very frustrated with. She has also had restless leg sometimes when she lays down to sleep. This can keep her up until it subsides which leads to her being exhausted and more issues.
Another issue is her leg giving out. We were walking one day into the mall and she suddenly fell. She was able to catch herself, but was frustrated and embarrassed that she fell in front of so many people. This has only happened a few times, but when it does, she tells me that it just feels like her leg gives out from under her. She explains that it feels like her knee will not support her and the leg just buckles. Again, this has only happened a few times, but is quite abrupt when it happens. Her legs may be tired before it happens, but there are no other warning signs that it will happen. Clumsiness and falling seem to happen with Multiple Sclerosis. I know that my wife had great balance before her symptoms started, but now has problems with it periodically.
Heaviness is something else she says happens to her legs. It usually starts with tingling and numbness and then she will drag the leg or have issues tripping over things. Sometimes she will have this in the mornings if she laid on her leg wrong in bed, or this will happen after a long hard day of standing and walking. She describes the tingling as if your foot was going to sleep and it won't wake up. It is usually more annoying than harmful, but it does affect her when we have plans or are out trying to go somewhere.
Another issue is leg pain. I have already written a post about the pain, so I won't say much here. Leg pain in Multiple Sclerosis seems to be quite common. My wife only has pain when she pushes too hard and goes past her stopping point. When the pain does start, it is often difficult for her to do anything. Again, this doesn't happen very often, and if she is listening to her body, she can keep her legs from progressing to this point. The pain usually runs on the outside of her thigh from her hip to her knee. This is one of the major leg muscles that is worked on during Bowen Therapy and massage. Her knee will sometimes also hurt, and the muscles along the top of the thigh.
Once in our marriage my wife lost all ability to use her legs. She stayed that way for about a month until we started seeing an ND that treated her with a host of things. This is the sad place that we seem to find so many MS patients. My wife's mother has lost all use of her legs and has not been able to use them for years. I know that she never tried the different therapies we have used, but I often wonder if she would still be able to walk today if she did. When my wife lost the use of her legs, it started as numbness in her torso then spread down until her toes were numb. Her legs just wouldn't cooperate with her, which I know was frustrating. I am glad this has only happened once, and that we have been able to stop it from happening since then.
This week we are going skiing for three days. This is one sport where her MS doesn't seem to cause problems. She can usually ski all day and rest well, then ski another day. Today, she is prepping for next week. She is taking the time to lay down, rest her legs, and give her body time to recoup before the trip. We have learned that rest is an essential part of life for an MS patient. We have also found that if she rests and listens when her legs start to tire, she can avoid the leg twitching and pain. We have been able to use rest, Bowen Therapy, Massage, Chiropractic, diet and supplementation to keep my wife walking, running and using her legs without any major issues. We have also used yoga and stretching to release tension in her legs, especially her ham string.
I spoke with a physical therapist the other day about back pain and leg issues. He pointed out that almost every patient he sees has tight hamstrings. He showed me how the hamstring affects the back muscles which in turn can cause leg pain, back pain and headaches. When my wife was getting regular massages, participating in yoga and stretching, she didn't seem to have the headaches and leg issues. The PT explained that this is one of the major muscles that needs to be stretched regularly to keep the body functioning properly. These are just a few ways that a my wife has kept her ability to walk and run.