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OKCO

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Alright...

Several months ago, as I was studying abroad -- perhaps around September/October -- I noticed that my left foot was hitting was ground with more force than the right. It was literally "slapping" the ground as I was walking about, and the difference in sound of my footfalls was so noticeable it was almost embarrassing. As if I was stomping about...but no pain, and no other weird sensations either. Absolutely could not control it. At the time, I brushed it off as poor footwear. This seemed to come and go.

Some weeks later, my left leg would now get abnormally heavy-feeling after walking around, to the point of mild soreness, always accompanied first by this unusual foot slapping. This caused a limp.

Since returning, this odd foot slapping/gait issue has remained and seemingly has nothing to do with my shoes (as previously thought). While bizarre, I've kept brushing it off...because, honestly, I wasn't about to see the doc for something so apparently left-field, and I attributed it to tiredness or maybe limb unevenness I had just never noticed before. At this point, I think it was always present but more noticeable if shoes were on (due to the noise of the heavier left foot).

Fast forward to a few weeks later: my left leg starts weirdly giving out as I am walking or standing. Nothing to send me to my knees, but interesting, regardless. Also, the leg fatigue I first noticed while abroad returns sporadically and more strongly, usually at the end of a long day of classes, causing me to limp. Just a feeling of heaviness in the limb and having to really concentrate to try and walk.

Now last Tuesday, I was on campus (as I am a university student), and walking a relatively short and flat distance between two buildings, when the leg heaviness attacks with the most profound viciousness I have ever felt. I could barely move it, and was limping heavily just to move. It was ridiculous. No pain except a dull sort-of-soreness, but it felt like I was trying to slog through thigh-deep cold congealed oatmeal, WITH weights...and just with the one leg, mind. It was SO ridiculous, in fact, that I was prompted to see the school's health center about it a few days later.

Upon examination, the doc told me I had foot drop (and it is noticeable to me now; I can not flex my left foot upward to the extent of the right). He did a lot of physical neurological examinations in the office, but I had little idea what he was on to. For instance, I know he tested for Babinski, but at the time I didn't know what the deuce he was doing, and he didn't say anything. However, at the end of it, he told me I had left-sided weakness in not only my leg, but my arm and hand as well. I can't recall if he said both nerve AND muscle, however. I wish I had had the presence of mind to ask him further about it. I also mentioned how I've been exhausted lately, but I'm also extremely busy, so it could be that.

He seemed very concerned, and ordered my blood drawn for various tests including thyroid right in the office. Those results won't be in until Monday. He also managed to schedule me for a brain MRI that very evening...something else I had not been expecting.

So, I did the brain MRI. He personally called me at 8:30pm to tell me they didn't really find anything to account for my symptoms, so I was to see him again this Monday to regroup and figure out where to go next. I wasn't able to talk to him over the phone, either, as he called when I was at work. I plan to ask him more thorough questions about just what he noticed during his first exam on me, like if there was a Bab sign?

He did mention, in the beginning, that it was possible I had some sort of muscle disease. Does this sound like it could be something like ALS? I know I am unusually young for such a thing, but what else could this be? I haven't had another severe attack since the Wednesday following the one which finally prompted me to see a doc (this one came about after climbing a bunch of stairs), but the foot drop remains constant. Blah!

Thanks for reading...I wish it were Monday already. ):
 

GregK

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I can't really speak to the fatigue but your foot drop began exactly as mine did.
However, more than ALS causes foot drop.

The gold standard test is the EMG. Be sure that you're referred to a tester familiar with neuromuscular issues.

Good luck.
 

Clearwater AL

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Was the "Doc" (as you referred to him/her) a neurologist?
 

OKCO

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Really? It sounded heavier/audibly seemed to hit the ground with more force than the other, as you were walking?

Thank you for the luck. I googled (which is bad), and I'm guessing I probably don't have MS at least, since the brain was clear?
 

OKCO

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Was the "Doc" (as you referred to him/her) a neurologist?

I'm not sure, actually. I suppose that would be helpful to know. I don't have much in the way of insurance right now, nor do I have a GP, so I am having to use the only resource readily available to me -- the school's health center.
 

GregK

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Really? It sounded heavier/audibly seemed to hit the ground with more force than the other, as you were walking?
Yep, but I expect that's a common path for foot drop.

You have a crapload of tests yet to go thru so don't run off saying you have ALS. For example you will need an MRI (or CAT?) of your spine to check for spinal issues (herniated disk, etc.).
 

Clearwater AL

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Adding to what Greg wrote, if the doctor you saw was a GP he/she could no more diagnose foot drop from egg drop soup. A diagnosis of any MND starts with Neurology. Some Neurologists follow this Forum but they don't comment. The rest of us aren't Neurologists.
So, until you see a Neurologist don't worry yourself with concerns of having ALS/MND... focus on your studies and enjoy life your age has an abundance of availabilities to absorb.
 

OKCO

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Thank you for the helpfully positive vibes, Clearwater. :)
 
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