Why is my father feeling a weird sensation in his leg after a major stroke?

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 30, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...


My father had a stroke (major haemorrhage) 18 months ago and had paralysis down the left side of his body. He is now walking again but last night he had a weird sensation inside (not outside) his left leg which he described as feeling like shaking inside his left leg, pins and needles inside his left leg, nerves jumping and running up and down inside his left leg which lasted for 2 hours. It was not painful but irritating and it frightened him because he was worried it was another stroke coming on but after 2 hours it went away so he did not call the ambulance. This has happened twice in the last month and never before these two times. Can you tell me what this is and what to do about it?

Thanks for the help, it is much appreciated.

Regards Sandra

Expert Answers

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

This is a fairly common problem after a hemorrhagic stroke. The brain often "makes up" sensations when there is a problem in the regular sensory wiring coming from the arms and legs to the brain. People often describe numbing, burning, pins and needles, or a general sense of discomfort. Often, it starts long after the stroke. It is completely benign, but I would recommend getting at least one repeat image to make sure that there is no new problem in the brain itself.

Often times, no treatment is needed, and the patient simply needs assurance that nothing dangerous is happening. If the sensations are too bothersome, and a treatment is needed, I typically recommend a low dose medication. Options include gabapentin, amitriptyline, or nortriptyline. More expensive alternatives include pregabalin and duloxetine. Non-medical options include warm baths, accupuncture, or massage.

I hope this helps.

Community Answers

Paulam answered...

Couldn't this also be restless leg syndrum?

Layla answered...

If your father is having the tingling and jumping sensations, you may want to spray his legs before bedtime with Life-flo pure magnesium oil. I saturate my mother's legs every night with the oil. It feels oily but it is not at all greasy and is derived from the ancient zechstein sea. Not all mag. oil is created the same. Some are diluted with water. Only this one and the one by Global Health work. My mother is 96 and had a massive stroke when 93. She has improved tremendously but, of course, will never be back to her old self due to her age. She is in no pain and absolutely no more tingling and jumping with the legs. Still ocassional stiffness though.

Good luck, Layla