Breathing and leg weakness


New member
Jun 8, 2024
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I’m a 20-year-old male who has been experiencing some concerning symptoms for about 8 weeks now. Around 10 weeks ago, I had a viral infection with a sore throat and fatigue that lasted about a week. A week after recovering, I started noticing tightness and weakness in my legs, along with frequent twitching in my legs and diaphragm. Walking up stairs became more difficult, and my legs would shake significantly when walking down.

A few days later, I began experiencing issues with my breathing. It feels like there is some restriction or weakness making it difficult to breathe comfortably. This sensation is constant and hasn't gone away. Additionally, my voice feels a little hoarse, and I find it hard to talk for long periods without needing to catch my breath. Speaking aggressively is also challenging.

I’ve undergone numerous tests, including two chest X-rays, blood tests, and heart tests, all of which came back normal. I have an appointment with a neurologist in 17 days.

I use an oxygen finger monitor and an Oura ring at home. My respiratory rate during sleep has increased slightly, now averaging close to 16 breaths per minute compared to below 15 before these symptoms started. My blood oxygen levels remain normal, averaging 95-98% during sleep and 95-99% during the day.

I understand self-testing isn't ideal, but I can heel and toe walk without issues. I can move my toes freely, though my right foot feels weak. Despite this, I haven’t experienced any falls.

Eight weeks in, I still have breathing difficulties and persistent weakness in my right foot. Running causes tightness in my left calf, and when walking, it feels like I need to force my right foot to lift, or it will drop. The foot feels tight, weak, and somewhat loose.

My primary concern is ALS. I suffer from chronic insomnia, which began three years ago after my sibling passed away. I’ve read that insomnia can increase oxidative stress and inflammation, and I’m worried that this, combined with the recent viral infection, could have triggered ALS.

I appreciate any insights or advice from those who have experienced similar symptoms or have knowledge about ALS.

Thank you.
Hi there-

Please make sure to read here: Read Before Posting. I would also recommend you read here: Covid19 and Neurological Symptoms. Sounds like you have a post viral issue- which can be debilitating and last long after even a mild infection. Your neurology appointment will likely provide you more information than online searching, though I understand it's very hard to resist. You're young, you have no failure, you report lots of "feeling" stuff, but not the actual clinical signs of motor neuron disease.

You can work with your gp right now on sorting out your sleep if you aren't already working on that. You can also visit with a physio for a structural/strength assessment and work on stretches, etc, to reduce tightness.

Please take care.
I'm sorry about your sib. If your health is being compromised by the trauma you have suffered, I would suggest counseling. Sometimes it requires a third-party perspective to come to terms with things like this.

The Oura is not top-shelf for accuracy, and an increase of a couple of breaths per minute is no reason for concern even if correct.

As noted above, Covid often triggers issues after even a mild infection, but insomnia does not trigger ALS, which you have not described, fortunately.