What do the muscles in your legs
and hips do?

The upper leg and hip contains a large number of muscles that are grouped depending on how they move the leg from the base of the body. The hip is one the most flexible joints in the human body, and movement here involves some of the largest muscles we have.

How does muscle weakness in legs
and hips relate to muscle diseases?

There are a number of reasons why someone might experience muscle weakness in their legs and hips. If weakness has come on suddenly and is associated with pain, it may be due to an injury, such as a sprain or trapped nerve (sciatica). Muscle weakness in the legs and hips that has been present for a longer period of time may have a different set of causes, including rare muscle diseases that affect the proximal muscles – those muscles that are closest to the core of your body.

How does muscle weakness in legs
and hips present in muscle diseases

Weakness of muscles around the legs and hips can be an early symptom of several muscle diseases. In a muscle disease such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, muscle weakness in these areas can occur as early as age three. However, some muscle diseases present with symptoms much later. For example, in the muscle disease Pompe, weakness in the legs and hips can be one of the first things affected, but it may only be noticed in adulthood and can progress very slowly.

Weakness in these muscle groups could be noticed in many situations, such as:

  • Legs feel heavy and tired when walking
  • Trouble getting up stairs
  • Difficulty getting up from a chair
  • Difficulty standing up from squatting
  • Unable to do a sit-up

Weakness of these muscle groups can result in an abnormal walk, often described as walking with a waddle, or as walking with a ‘waddling gait’.

It is important to remember that proximal muscle diseases are rare, and there are a number of causes for muscle weakness in the legs and hips. However, if you are concerned you should discuss these issues with your doctor. You can get some advice on how to best take note of any symptoms you are experiencing and discuss them with your doctor here.

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Investigate some of the symptoms of proximal muscle diseases and learn about the different ways they can present.

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