Have you ever experienced a random occurrence of not being able to feel your leg? Say you are rolling out of bed, and the instant you try to stand, you just fall to the ground. It is as if your leg’s ability just disappeared.
It could also happen after a random blow to the quadriceps area of the leg. After this force, you are falling down like a chopped tree and your leg has lost all its feeling.
This is what is called a dead leg. What does this deadened leg mean? What are its causes and symptoms? And what does it mean if it occurs often?
Let’s take a walk through everything relevant to this condition.
What is the Dead Leg Condition?
This condition is caused by a blow to the quadriceps area or a direct hit to the nerve. The impact then deadens the leg for a short period of time. This usually leads to an inability to put any weight on that leg, intense pain in the area that was hit, bruising, and hampered leg movement.
This is a very common injury in certain sports, especially ones that have contact.
What Causes Dead Legs?
Apart from the blow to the quad area, there are several causes that bring this about.
A direct blow to the quadriceps can cause it to bleed and swell. This then puts pressure on the surrounding nerves, leading to that dead feeling in the leg.
The quadriceps is innervated by the femoral nerve. This nerve extends from the lower back all the way down to the thigh. If this nerve is damaged, it can cause deadness or numbness in the leg.
A hip pointer is an injury to the iliac crest, which is the bone that protrudes at the front of the hip. This can also lead to numb legs because of how it affects the surrounding nerves and muscles.
Why is it Called That?
As the name suggests, the intense trauma to the leg area makes it feel dead. Once hit in the right way, the area is deadened making it unable to have any feeling or function.
What Do Constant Dead Legs Signify?
If you are constantly experiencing deadened legs, it is important to consult a doctor immediately. This could be a sign of something more serious which doesn’t have anything to do with trauma to the leg. There are many things that can contribute to this.
First on our list is diabetes. While people commonly think about having too much or too little sugar, there is more going on under the hood.
If sugar levels are constantly high, it can bring about several complications including diabetic neuropathy. This is essentially nerve damage brought about by the high sugar in the body. Two places where this can happen are the hands and the legs.
When a person is experiencing this neuropathy, pain in certain areas will not be felt. This goes for blunt trauma, heat, and stabbing by piercing objects just to name a few.
How We Stand and Sit
Another cause is people’s posture when sitting or standing. Posture is a learned stance that people do subconsciously. If postural habits are poor, it can affect a person’s nerves and even decrease some much needed blood flow to the lower extremities like the legs.
Some postural habits to be wary of include sitting for extended periods of time, crossing legs for a lengthy amount of time, and wearing clothes that are too tight.
It is no secret that alcohol consumption can lead to deadened senses. This is because alcohol slows down the communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
The science behind drinking alcohol also reveals that this beverage decreases important vitamins in one’s body. They include vitamins B, B-1, B-9, and B-12. The decreased levels of these vitamins are directly linked to constant feelings of numbness.
After a stroke, the brain is significantly affected. The ability of the brain to interpret and process nerve signals is diminished. This leads to parts of the body feeling like they are dead. Even a mini-stroke can introduce temporary feelings of numbness.
If your legs or other parts of the body are feeling numb, visit a doctor immediately. It may be a sign that you have had a stroke or a mini-stroke and not know it.
Resurrecting the Dead Leg
The good news is that this condition is not permanent. There are many things that can be done in order to help dead legs recover faster.
The first treatment option is called RICE which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Resting from any activity that might have caused the numbed leg in the first place is important in order for it to heal properly icing the area for 20 minutes at a time will help with pain and swelling. It is important not to put ice directly on the skin but rather have a towel or some other type of layer in between.
Compressing the numbed leg with an Ace bandage or similar product will also help with pain and swelling.
Finally, keeping the afflicted leg elevated above heart level will also decrease swelling.
Applying heat to the leg is also a good way to soothe any pain that might be associated with it. Heat increases blood flow which can help relax muscles and reduce stiffness. Just like with icing, it is important not to apply heat directly to the skin but rather use a towel or some other type of layer in between
Gently massaging the affected leg can also help improve blood flow and reduce pain and stiffness. Massaging in a circular motion is generally recommended. If the leg is too painful to be touched, it is best to wait until the pain has subsided before attempting any type of massage.
Once the leg has recovered enough that it can bear some weight, gentle stretching exercises can also help with flexibility and range of motion. It is important to not overdo it when stretching as this could further injure the leg.
Some simple stretches that can be done for a numbed leg include hamstrings, quadriceps, calf, and Achilles tendon.
There are also some things that can be done in order to prevent numbed legs from happening in the first place.
Wearing proper footwear is important in order to avoid any foot, ankle, or leg injuries. It is also important to stretch before participating in any physical activity as this can help warm up the muscles and prevent them from being overworked.
Maintaining good posture and taking breaks often when sitting or standing for extended periods of time can also help prevent numbed legs.
Bring it to Life
If you or a loved one experiences dead legs, we hope that the information we have presented will help you in handling this condition and bringing the dead leg to life again.
Take note that if the numbness on your leg is not associated with posture, lasts a long time, is accompanied by other symptoms, and has visible changes to the leg, it is important to visit a doctor immediately.
Be better equipped to handle these kinds of conditions by learning first aid.
Learn more about first aid by taking CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course today.