Hand and arm weakness, weak grip, muscle atrophy in legs

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Nattybat

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Hi there, long time lurker, first-time poster. I am writing because I have symptoms that I feel can't be ignored anymore. I will list them as succinctly as possible:

1. My right arm from my shoulder down to the fingers feels weaker, my grip is weaker. I can still do things like push-ups, and lift weights, but holding my arm out if I am scrolling on the phone or brushing my hair or typing is more difficult and fatigues extremely quickly.
2. The left side of my neck feels weak, as if it can't support my head, but this sensation comes and goes.
3. The weirdest symptom appeared about two years ago. My calf on the left side has atrophied, it has a huge dent in it as if something has taken a bite out of it. I have been to countless medical doctors, none of which could give me a reason why outside of, you have a flat foot. I have noticed muscle changes (hesitant to put atrophy around both knees but predominately my right.
4. I do have twitches all over my body, and I do think they are worse when I have anxiety.

Thanks for any advice you can provide.
 

lgelb

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Did any of these doctors confirm clinical atrophy? Was any of them a neurologist or orthopedic surgeon? It's hard to worry about it 2y in, if you have normal function in your L calf.

You might ask about being evaluated for ulnar neuropathy if your R hand is dominant. You could also ask for a PT evaluation. Sometimes the neck thing relates to using a phone a lot at home or work and not keeping a neutral spine.

ALS doesn't present in all the different places you describe. Twitching can feed on itself and even fatigue muscles so they might feel "weak" or "weird." If anxiety is a trigger, another approach is tackling this through counseling or lifestyle changes that help you manage your anxiety better.

Best,
Laurie
 

Nattybat

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Hi Laurie, thanks for your response. An orthopedic surgeon did confirm atrophy but did not know why only there, his best guess was a pinched nerve. Despite my efforts to rebuild the muscle, it does not come back.

I don't think it's ulnar neuropathy, because it radiates from the shoulder, not the elbow.

Laurie, is it true ALS weakness is not felt? It's simply failure. My arm feels weak. Thanks for your help!
 

lgelb

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A local neuropathy can radiate up or down. It's not always easy to tell where the point of origin is.

Yes, ALS presents with an unmistakeable loss of function first thing or in fairly short order.
 

Nattybat

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Is it possible for someone with ALS to be able to do movements like push ups/weight lifting, but tasks like holding my arm up to brush my teeth and holding my phone becomes difficult? I guess I am just not sure if when the neurons are destroyed, is it a full muscle, like the entire bicep or would it only be a portion? It wouldn't cause failure, but it would make like more and more difficult, which is what's happening with my right (dominate arm).
 

lgelb

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The muscle is the muscle. It is not that there is one part of the bicep that does pushups and another that holds the phone.
 

Nattybat

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Thanks again - on my left calf, I have a new indent, just started in the back of my leg. If there is no weakness, should I be concerned?
 

Bestfriends14

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I thought you were concerned about your arm? ALS doesn't start all over the place, so your leg would not be affected at the same time as your arm in onset. Nonetheless, you're not describing ALS at all, so asking about a dent in your leg on an ALS site would not be the place to do so. Follow up with your doc.

Good luck to you and take good care
 

Nattybat

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Hi there, in my original post I mentioned the atrophy in my leg as one of the main symptoms. I now have another, forming in the same leg, in a different place, but no noticeable weakness. I will check with a doctor. Thank you for responding.
 

Nattybat

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Hi everyone, I know photos are a big no-no, but I do have a new line in my thenar muscle in my left hand. I will post the hand relaxed and flexed. Has anyone else seen this? It is definitely new (one of the perks of body obsession). I am not noticing any weakness in the muscle. Does this look like wasting?

Hand relaxed.jpeg
Hand flexed.jpeg
 

Clearwater AL

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Natti, you wrote...

"Hi everyone, I know photos are a big no-no,"

Which means you have read several previous posts and replies.

Not here... only a Neurologist can determine the causes.

I can create that same dent with my good right hand by
pressing it up against the edge of my desk for a minute
or less. Not saying you did but many things other than ALS
can cause that.

In a post above you wrote....

"I will check with a doctor. Thank you for responding."

Do that.
 

EricInLA

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It's really hard to tell from photos like this. Even in person it's difficult, unless you are a neurologist. I am sensitive to dismissing your concerns so I wont do that, but on the other hand I don't think you should be worrying unless/until a neurologist examines you and gives you his/her opinion. (Sometimes even they will hesitate to draw conclusions from what may look like a dent, preferring instead to rely on an EMG and/or clinical exam) We all have imperfections and one has a tendency, as I did, to obsess over how something may look in a certain situation. You should try not to do that, even though I know it's hard. Leave it to the professionals, who've been trained for this and have looked at many, many hands.
 
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