Discussions By Condition: Knee conditions

Transient numbness on right knee and upper calf

Posted In: Knee conditions 1 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • October 15, 2006
  • 05:51 AM

I am a 66 year old man who loves to stay fit through daily walking. I do these urban walks at a fast pace, averaging 3.9 to 4.1 miles per hour, and typically walk 16 miles a day, 5-6 days a week. For me this is about a 4 hour walk. On weekends, I've walked as much as 28 miles, which is an all day outing. Usually I walk around Mission Bay Park in San Diego, which is totally flat, without change in gradient. On average, I walk about 90-100 miles each week.

My problem consists of transient dermal numbness on my right leg, covering the area from the top of the patella on the outside of my right leg, to the mid line, and extending up my calf about six inches. It's an oval area of skin, about the size of my hand. This condition begins after I've walked about half a mile. I first notice either a cold or a hot sensation in this area, followed by "pins and needles" tingling, and then most annoyingly, a sharper pain about two inches above the kneecap on the middle of my calf. On a 1-10 scale, 10 being highest, this pain ranges from 3 to 5. It is not constant, and sometimes lessens or disappears later in the day, or after a lunch stop. I don't have any numbness when I sit at my computer or work around the house, but I will sometimes experience this numbness when I'm standing at the mirror shaving, or after getting out of a hot shower.

I've tried taking 800 mg of ibuprofen before each walk, as well as wearing an adjustable 3M knee brace, with metal inserts on the brace on each side of the patella for stability, but both of these changes have made absolutely no difference in the symptoms. I've also inserted extra heel gels in my Asics running shoes, and recently changed to another brand of sports shoe, Keen, which feels more comfortable. These changes have also had no affect on lessening my symptoms. Walking at a slower pace also has no symptomatic relief.

The one factor which appears subjectively to stop or diminish the sticking pain is jogging or sprinting for short distances on flat surfaces or up hill.

I have consulted with my HMO primary care physician, who thinks the pain and transient numbness are not related to the knee joint itself, but rather are caused by a referred pain from an irritated nerve in my right groin. He did not suggest a referral to a specialist, or a treatment method, or order any diagnostics.

With whom do I need to consult further on this matter? Should I ask for a referral to a neurologist, orthopedist, or vascular surgeon? From the symptoms presented, and without the benefit of personal examination or other diagnostics, what might be causing this problem, and what would be some possible treatment options to further discuss with my health care providers?

I assure you that I will not interpret comments as medical advice, but only as personal opinions, to help me pursue further evaluation and treatment.

Thanks for any help.

All good wishes,


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1 Replies:

  • Hi, it does sound like a nerve issue. I would not wear the knee brace if it does not help you. This will only weaken the muscles around your knee and cause you to rely on the brace too much for support. I do commend you for your outstanding exercise regimen and hope the weather allows for many more hikes in your future.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 18, 2007
    • 04:31 PM
    • 0
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