Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International

Numbness in Leg of Polio Survivor

Category: Medical Help

Frederick Maynard, MD, retired physiatrist

There are many causes of numbness, but post-polio syndrome is never the DIRECT cause. Polio affected motor nerves only and, therefore, does not lead to numbness or true loss of feeling.

Numbness and tingling are, however, common complaints among polio survivors because of the many musculoskeletal problems that they develop as they become older and because of other medical and neurologic conditions they may concurrently develop.

A burning feeling over post-polio muscles fatigued by exercise/activity is also a common report.

Based on your description of symptoms (coming and going; located on the top of the arm and/or leg; relieved by Aleve and local heat), it is very likely your symptoms are a referred pain from a more central spinal problem, but they could be due to a “pinched or irritated nerve,” nerve entrapments, circulatory diseases or other causes.

A neurologist’s consultation is a good idea in order to rule out serious conditions. If nothing specific is found and symptoms do relate to activity/movement/exercise, then a referred pain from a musculoskeletal problem remains most likely as the cause. Working with your PT to alter your exercise program may also be successful in eliminating/controlling the symptoms.


Tagged as: fatigue , function

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