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Causes of temporary leg paralysis

Updated February 21, 2017

Temporary leg paralysis is a loss in your ability to feel or move your leg, also referred to as a decrease in sensory and motor function. It can be a muscular problem or a neurological (brain and nerves) one. There are more than 20 causes of temporary leg paralysis--some are rare and others, including certain diseases, are more common.

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Diabetes can lead to nerve damage that can cause temporary leg paralysis. If untreated, the temporary leg paralysis may become permanent.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Another cause of temporary leg paralysis is peripheral neuropathy, a condition in which the nerves of the peripheral nervous system become damaged. (The peripheral nervous system carries motor and sensory nerve messages to and from the central nervous system.) Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by such things as exposure to toxins, infections, traumatic injuries and metabolic disorders. In some cases, the paralysis can become permanent.


A stroke, an interruption of blood flow to the brain, can cause temporary leg paralysis often on one side. In some cases the paralysis becomes permanent.


Osteoarthritis can cause temporary leg paralysis. Osteoarthritis comes over time from wear and tear to the joints. Once the joints begin to wear down, they may become inflamed or pinch the nerves that control the legs, leading to the paralysis. Occasionally, this paralysis may become permanent.

Bone Fractures

Certain bone fractures can cause temporary leg paralysis. A bone break can damage or pinch nerves that controls the legs. If the nerve damage cannot be repaired, permanent paralysis may result.

Leg Injury

Leg injuries can lead to a temporary paralysis that can be alleviated with medical procedures such as surgery or splinting or with physiotherapy. In more severe cases, the paralysis can become permanent.

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About the Author

Rose Kitchen

Rose Kitchen is a freelance medical writer pursuing a bachelor's degree in sociology and education. She has a nursing background and is going back to nursing school in September 2011 for her R.N. Kitchen holds a certificate in anatomy and physiology and English and is pursuing certificates in natural and alternative medicine, fitness and nutrition and sports nutrition.

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