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What can I do about a sudden numbing pain in my leg?

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Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 2569 Questions
Hi, my name is XXXXXXX i have a question regarding my leg. 3 nights ago i was laying in bed and all of a sudden i got this sharp/numbing/aching pain in my right leg,the next day it did not get any better and following with the sharp/numbing/aching pain was my right foot got cold and whiter than my left foot. and tonight the pain started going up my thigh and its unbearable if i had to rate the pain i would have to say its a 8. could u please help me with this..
Sun, 6 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 28 minutes later
Hello and thanks for your query,

Your symptoms are understandably worrisome and I will try to give you some helpful information. In the absence of any trauma or fall which could cause leg pain or if you have not done any excessive exercise lifting pushing or pulling with your legs we should consider other causes which are not purely musculoskeletal. Also if you were to say the pain originates in your low back and radiates into the leg I would worry more about a disc problem in the back but it sounds like this is not the case.

One thing that comes to mind otherwise is some kind of vascular issue. If there is a blockage of blood flow in a vein or artery it can cause significant pain, numbness and changes in temperature in one extremity compared to the other.

The fact that you rate the pain as an 8 or unbearable gives me concern enough to recommend you go for an evaluation as soon as possible. This can be evaluated by a physician and a simple blood test and perhaps an imaging study such as an ultrasound can be used to rule out a vascular concern. If you were my sister or mother I would take you to the emergency department for an evaluation.

I hope you have found this to be an adequate and informative answer. Should you have additional concerns I am available to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What can I do about a sudden numbing pain in my leg? 3 hours later
so what ur saying is that my symptom sound like a blood clot... I was at the er about 20 minutes ago and they treated me like a hypochondriac.. and the funny thing is now im getting small bruises on my foot...
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 5 hours later
Hello again,

I am sorry to hear that your experience at the ER was troublesome but given the excruciating pain you reported I could not recommend anything else. I would expect that they did a thorough examination and considered checking bloodwork. If not, I think you need to see your regular doctor for this. In the absence of being able to examine you it is very difficult for me to say at this point what might be going on. Your symptoms do not fit into any pure diagnosis - but if you were my patient I would be doing a thorough examination, checking bloodwork and ruling out any worrisome issues. I assume there is no possibility of pregnancy at this time?

Let me know your thoughts so we can try to put together a good plan for you as I am sure these symptoms are becoming more and more frustrating.

Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What can I do about a sudden numbing pain in my leg? 7 hours later
I did see my doctor today and he had me go to the hospital to do a ultrasound and then a test that involved blood pressure cuffs. The ultrasound did not show any blood clots how ever the other test showed that there might be something going on from my knees down,the doctor told me that having a reading above 1 is good,however getting a reading of 2 or more is much better. From my knees down there was a reading of .88,so they think that there is something going on with me. No im not pregnant had my tubes tied...yes this whole thing is frustrating and dont understand why this is happening to me, im only 32... well i would like to thank you for your time and effort.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 6 hours later
Hello and thanks for your followup.

I am so glad you were able to see your doctor and get appropriate testing done. It sounds like they did an ABI study. There may be some kind of vascular abnormality which is slowing blood flow in the leg. Sometimes a simple catheter procedure can be done to correct the blood flow. Vascular surgeons or cardiologists typically do this. Again I am glad your doctor listened to you enough to follow through with appropriate testing.

Again thanks for reaching out to us. If you have additional concerns please let us know.

Dr Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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