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Cauda Equina Syndrome Leg Symptoms

Sciatica-like symptoms in the legs can be a sign that a patient is developing cauda equina syndrome. When should you become concerned?

Why does cauda equina syndrome cause symptoms in the legs?

Cauda Equina Syndrome Leg SymptomsCauda equina syndrome can develop when the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spinal cord become squashed or compressed, perhaps due to a herniated disc. This can cause the nerves to reduce or cease their function.

These nerves convey messages between the lower body and the brain about sensation and feeling in the lower body as well as messages initiating movement. When the nerves cease to be able to pass these messages, the sufferer of cauda equina syndrome loses control over movement in the lower body and ceases to be aware of feeling also.

Consequently, loss of both sensation and motor control in the legs may occur.

What symptoms might develop?

A person may experience pain in one leg alongside tingling, numbness and weakness.

This does not mean that they are necessarily developing cauda equina syndrome. They may have sciatica which is also the product of a compressed nerve.

However, these symptoms, as well as lower back pain, are frequently the early symptoms of cauda equina syndrome.

When to be concerned?

If the symptoms in one leg also develop in the other leg, the patient should seek medical advice as bilateral sensory and motor deficiencies in the legs are a sign of possible early cauda equina syndrome.

Additionally, if the patient begins to experience difficulties with ankle reflexes and raising the foot, it may indicate cauda equina nerve compression. The patient may find that the foot drags when they walk.

Testing for signs of cauda equina syndrome

If a patient attends their GP with pain and symptoms in the lower back and legs, one of the tests which the GP may carry out is a straight leg raise.

This involves the patient asking the patient to raise their leg whilst lying down and a restriction in the angle achieved due to pain may suggest that the patient could be developing cauda equina syndrome.

Other Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome

A patient who is developing cauda equina syndrome is also likely to start developing symptoms in the saddle region between the legs. These symptoms would also reflect a loss of ability to experience sensation and to control function such as:

Emergency Medical Attention

A patient visiting their GP with these symptoms should be referred for an emergency MRI scan.

A patient at home who experiences these symptoms should attend A&E as a matter of emergency.

It is vital that a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome is confirmed within hours as emergency surgery may be necessary in order to prevent further loss of function.

Medical Negligence

If you continue to suffer with the shocking effects of cauda equina syndrome because your symptoms were not taken seriously, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Contact us to discuss your experience with a specialist medical negligence solicitor, experienced in dealing with cauda equina syndrome claims.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300, from a mobile click to call 01275 334030 or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a no cost, no obligation opinion.

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