What is a dead leg?
A dead leg is caused by an injury to the front of the thigh, usually a hard, direct blow.
This blow crushes the quadriceps muscle against the bone, damaging the affected area's muscle fibres and small blood vessels. Ouch.
The symptoms of a dead leg include:
- Localised pain
- Limited mobility
- Feeling of weakness or numbness
- Lower back pain or back spasms
- Difficulty walking
We go into more detail about each symptom further down in the article.
Unfortunately, the discomfort from a dead leg becomes more noticeable at night when the body is at rest and you’re not distracted. 🤕
That’s why it’s important to be diligent with your pain management before bed, including the RICE approach, supplements and over-the-counter painkillers.
We have more information on how to sleep with a dead leg further up.
What are the symptoms of a dead leg?
You need to make sure you actually have a dead leg and not another condition.
Here are the telltale signs.
Pain after injury to the thigh
One of the common symptoms of a dead leg is pain in the thigh area after an injury.
A thigh contusion can lead to significant discomfort and hinder mobility, whether it's a fall, impact, or strain.
Bruising and swelling on the injury
A dead leg can also manifest as bruising and swelling around the injured thigh.
This discolouration and inflammation are typical signs of trauma to the area, indicating potential damage to blood vessels and soft tissues.
Remember that sometimes there can be delayed bruising and swelling after an injury.
Altered sensation down the leg
Another indication of a dead leg is an altered sensation down the leg.
You might experience tingling, numbness, or a pins-and-needles sensation, all of which can be unsettling and may indicate nerve involvement. 🦵
Heavy, painful legs
Feeling like your legs are heavy and painful, especially at night, is another common symptom of a dead leg.
This heaviness can make your sore legs feel even worse, and it may disrupt your sleep.
Difficulty walking or moving the leg
Walking or moving the affected leg might be challenging when you have a dead leg.
The pain, stiffness, and altered sensation can limit your range of motion and make it harder to perform everyday activities.
Get ahead of your dead leg
When it comes to sleeping with a dead leg, it’s essential to act quickly.
Start the RICE method within 24 - 48 hours, and diligently manage your pain.
Stay on top of your dead leg symptoms and seek a professional consult if the pain continues for long periods of time.