Old man question… (shaky legs)

  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Nov 28, 2013 10:24 PM GMT

    Although for my age I'm in pretty good shape I do have one problem that I'm concerned about. This isn't something new but seems to be getting increasingly worse. I have 'shaky legs' when I walking down stairs or down hill.

    I do a lot of walking. It varies but walking 2 to 5 miles a day isn't unusual. On a flat surface I have no problem at all and can walk really fast when I want to. BUT going downward (not upward) it's like my legs are weak or something. Literally shaky.

    I can't figure it out and don't know what to build into my workout routine to counteract this. I don't know but suspect it is some kind of muscle imbalance.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2013 10:29 PM GMT
    Are you doing leg workouts and working on balancing? I know I have issue w balance and have to do a lot of leg work to help w balance
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Nov 28, 2013 10:45 PM GMT
    DTOBIN2013 saidAre you doing leg workouts and working on balancing? I know I have issue w balance and have to do a lot of leg work to help w balance

    My balance is pretty good. Not like that of a practiced younger man but damn good for someone my age.

    With resistance training my focus is upper body and core work, not legs. I squat and dead lift weekly but only do other leg work (presses, curls, extensions, calf raises, etc.) about once a month. In part this is because I walk so damn much and I also do intermediate step aerobics (no risers) once or twice a week. My legs are much more muscular than my upper body and always have been (genetics) and due to the walking and other stuff I do, they get lots of 'workout'.

    I think part of the problem may be how much sitting I do. I work at a computer and of course spend a lot of time online even when not at work so I may be sitting too much. Hard to get away from that, though. icon_confused.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 28, 2013 11:12 PM GMT
    If this seems to be getting worse, I would see a neurologist as this can be an early symptom of MS. If the downhill shakiness happens only after a long course of uphill walking, it may just be lactic acid build-up from the uphill part which weakens the muscles during the downhill part. Regardless, I would still suggest seeing a neurologist.

  • Nov 28, 2013 11:21 PM GMT
    Hey, Goodlooking! I just got back to the gym last June after years away, because I felt myself getting weak. I had intermittent shakey legs, and no balance at all. What has helped me more than anything else is doing lunges. I regularly do 3 sets of 30 with weights. Used to hate them when my trainer made me start doing them, now I love them. Try it!
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Nov 29, 2013 12:09 AM GMT
    Thanks for the advice Kostal and Woodsman. I'll put seeing a GP on my early next year 'to do' list.

    Tallslim, you make a good point. I 'hate' doing lunges (and consequently seldom do them) but I can see how they could definitely help the situation (if it isn't something more serious). I'll definitely try putting them back in my regular routine, thanks! ;)
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    Nov 29, 2013 12:26 AM GMT
    I think the lunge suggestion sounds good. And to not just do straight lunges but to do diagonal ones to each side as well.

    Is the weakness and shakiness in your legs coming from your upper legs. Seems to me that going downhill is going to put more strain on your quads and so doing quad-specific strength training may help.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2013 1:16 AM GMT
    Yup, go see a doctor. And in terms of workout, maybe consider adding pilates or yoga?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2013 1:28 AM GMT
    The Houston Rockets conducted a medical evaluation on Dwight Howard's legs after they signed him. They noticed that some of his muscles on one leg were stronger than the other, and noticed that some muscles were too strong and others too weak - in short, there were many muscle imbalances. Perhaps you should ask your doctor about it?

    Howard has been working to correct them, and the coach says that he has made a lot of progress on that front, so there's definitely things you can do to rectify the situation if this is your problem.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2013 2:13 AM GMT
    Aristoshark saidHave you held a mirror up to your mouth lately?


    To reveal what?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2013 2:33 AM GMT
    I'd agree with seeing an internist for a full check up including a full neuro exam to reveal other possible deficits that go unnoticed such as hyperreflexia, etc. Annual screen labs would be in order as well. He can then refer you to Neurologist if appropriate.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2013 2:55 AM GMT
    Thanks for this thread.

    Hope all had a Happy Thanksgiving.
  • Beeftastic

    Posts: 1747

    Nov 29, 2013 3:26 AM GMT
    That motion of going down stairs etc. is the weakest of my leg motions. I tack it up to weakening of those muscles with age. The more I focus on them in training the less it bothers me. It's good to get a trainer or physical therapist to evaluate you and give you some specific exercises to get back strength there. I would opt for a trainer of a PT though, as they are more focused on your optimum strength rather than recovery.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2013 7:11 AM GMT
    JoePK said
    Aristoshark saidHave you held a mirror up to your mouth lately?


    To reveal what?
    If he's a vampire. Jeez, does this stuff have to get spelled out all the time?
  • ATLANTIS7

    Posts: 1213

    Nov 29, 2013 7:21 AM GMT
    Mike maybe you are over doing it a bit? I go to the gym 5 days a week but just do one hour 20 mins on the runner but fast walking not running as we don't need that? Then a few weights here and there plus a few other bits but i do not go crazy like i see some of the guys but they are younger so whatever as they say?

    Try putting your legs up on the bed and lay on the floor for 15 mins each morning it maybe blood flow at our age?

    take care ... Michael
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2013 7:24 AM GMT
    MikeW saidAny thoughts or suggestions?
    Anyway, active stretches (splits: left, right and center) will strengthen hip flexors, groin, and glutes which will help you with balance.

    You also need to do lowering exercises (before graduating to lunges). Hold a railing, bar, pole; lean away and then lower yourself to the ground, trying to sit on your heels. With both legs first. Your goal is to do it one-legged.

    I suspect one leg will be better than the other, and you'll quickly realize if you have any joint issues in your hips or particularly your knees. Knees OK?

    barre_squats_0.jpg

    Leaning away, you'll be able to assist lowering and raising with leverage, but the ultimate goal is without leaning.

    Going upstairs, do you do it one step at a time or two? If you're doing it one step at a time, congratulations, that's what all the old ladies do at my gym. Kick it up a notch!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2013 6:41 PM GMT
    Had the same prob, Mike. Turned out to be a quadriceps imbalance. The muscle in my right leg was actually in atrophy. Orthopedic Specialist identified it immediately with just a glance. At that point, I remembered a long bout of major swelling and redness after a ground wasp sting over the right quadriceps about a year before. Turns out these SOBees concentrate insecticides and environmental toxins in their venom sac and then shoot it back into humans as a form a righteous revenge.

    The Orthopedist had a PT guy show me how to do a more complete leg workout, without a focus on any one muscle group. The dreaded lunges are part of it though. Another lesson I learned--when descending stairs, HOLD ONTO THE DAMN RAIL. As we all advance in age, it only gets worse. May as well live smart and learn to deal with it early. The alternative ain't pretty.

    Stay strong and well, bud.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 29, 2013 8:49 PM GMT
    Aristoshark saidHave you held a mirror up to your mouth lately?


    Stop messing around Aristo.. I'm sure his gag reflexes are fine..
    This is serious.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Nov 29, 2013 8:57 PM GMT
    OP, please be sure to report what you find out. You have made me think about a faint problem I hae with feeling wobbly going down steps.

    Sounds like a good GP, an orthopedist, and a physical therapist are all worth considering. I would try to get the physical therapist to take a good look at your complete gym routin just for grins. while there are some good trainers out there, PTs have serious schooling that may be helpful.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Nov 30, 2013 5:03 AM GMT
    Thanks for all the great advice and ideas, guys. Appreciated. I will see a GP early next year for a full physical but I'll also consult with my trainer at the gym who specializes in working w/ seniors. Since I work in the retail sector and this is our busiest season I won't get to any of this before January I'm sure. I will report back what I find out.

    I've really been checking in on it since I made this thread and I feel confidant it is a muscle imbalance. Haven't been stung by any wasps, JD, but I think the quads need more attention and strengthening. Lunges and the practice sits sound like a good idea. Someone asked about my knees, they're fine. As a rule I don't take stairs two at a time (especially going down!) but I can see how that might help (going up only). I go up and down stairs a lot at work.

    Thanks again!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 06, 2013 9:15 PM GMT
    Could be what I have. Benign essential tremor, it affects me pretty heavily during workouts and outside of the gym affects my sensation of stability when I'm over stimulated via things like caffeine (I'm a coffee addict) or excitement.

    My legs feel shaky and my feet don't feel properly planted on the ground when I walk (or lift)

    Although my solution to the problem isn't drugs it's to ignore it. I figure my body has been walking for a few decades now it knows how to keep me upright without my input so I just ignore the sensation and keep going, let my body workout how to handle it.

    Even now I'm feeling it in my hands and just ignore it because it doesn't affect gross movement just the finer movements that might happen with say drawing.

    But before the personal trainer go see a neurologist because they will be the only one who can diagnose such things, personal trainers are the ones to go too AFTER you have a diagnoses
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 06, 2013 9:23 PM GMT
    I advise you to go see your physician. You may need to see a neurologist. He may send you to a physical therapist depending what the problem is.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 06, 2013 9:49 PM GMT
    Not a good question to ask on here. It could be something very simple such as lacking strength in stabilizer muscles or something more serious. I would see a Sports Medicine doctor or a Neurologist.