Lower extremity spasticity (leg & foot spasticity)
Also known as: muscle spasticity, flexion contractures, leg spasms, lower limb spasticity.
What is lower extremity spasticity?
Lower extremity spasticity refers to increased muscle tone and hyperactive reflexes in the legs and feet. It is usually due to a problem with motor nerves in the brain, and can be caused by cerebral palsy, stroke or traumatic brain injury.
What causes leg and foot extremity spasticity?
As noted above, lower extremity spasticity occurs from damage to lower motor nerves (in the brain). It is frequently the result of another medical condition, such as cerebral palsy, stroke, or traumatic brain injury.
What are the symptoms of lower extremity spasticity?
Spasticity of the upper extremity ranges from mild to very disabling. The affected muscles may be over-active and cause joint contractures (stiff joints). The most common presentation includes a stiff legs that can't be bent or separated (extensor spasm), or contracted legs that can't be straightened out (flexor spasm). There are also spasms that present as twitching or tapping of the foot.
The position of the weak and spastic leg/foot creates a functional, hygenic and cosmetic problem.
What are leg and foot spasticity care options?
Therapy, medication and surgery are usually used together to address upper extremity spasticity.
In all patients with upper extremity spasticity, therapy to prevent contractures (tight joints) is necessary.
- Therapy for spasticity includes stretching tight muscles and joints, strengthening weakened muscles and using splints to improve and maintain good joint position.
- Medication can also be prescribed to treat spasticity.
- Surgery can be considered to improve mobility, self-care, hygiene, and the appearance of the affected arm/hand, but is usually only a part of the care plan.
Reviewed by: Aaron J. Berger
This page was last updated on: October 08, 2021 03:16 PM
Learn more about
Spasticity and Movement Disorders
Spasticity is one form of movement disorder, that presents as increased tone or stiffness of the muscles that causes an inability to produce and control bodily movements.
Spasticity and Contractures
Spasticity and contractures are conditions in which muscle imbalance across a joint leads to abnormal positioning and tightness. Spasticity refers to involuntary tightening or stiffening of muscles. The term contracture refers to abnormal positioning of a joint.
Upper extremity spasticity (arm & hand spasticity)
Upper extremity spasticity refers to increased muscle tone and hyperactive reflexes in the arm. It is usually due to a problem with motor nerves in the brain, and can be caused by cerebral palsy, stroke or traumatic brain injury.
Occupational therapy is a form of therapy that helps people rehabilitate through exercises and other means in order to perform their ordinary, daily tasks or work-related functions.
A Botox or Dysport injection is an injection of botulinum toxin (which causes temporary paralysis) into a muscle to relieve spasticity and involuntary movements.