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Problems walking down the stairs but not up the stairs - Anyone else?

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by lancelot, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. lancelot

    lancelot Senior Member

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    southern california
    When i first wake up and experience this horrible unrefreshing sleep which magnifies all my symptoms and last 4-6hours for me, i cannot get out of bed for 1-2 hours.

    When i can get out of bed, i also have alot of problems walking down the stairs but not so much up the stairs for the next couple hours. I need to hold onto the handrail with one hand and the opposite wall with the other or i will fall down the stairs due to leg weakness and instability (i seem to get my upper body strength back way before my lower body). However at the same time, i don't need any support to walk up the stairs although still feeling fatigued but not weak or unstable legs. Anyone else?
  2. lucy

    lucy Senior Member

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    The only thing from my experience that slightly relates with your problem is the specifics of my muscle delayed onset soreness - the muscles that were getting sore were only those used in going down. I am talking walks on a path with elevation. After the walk I get sore muscles for 4 days. But I too can climb up the stairs, it doesn't hurt, climbing down is a hell. The same on different terrains, going up is ok, while couple degrees inclination downwards and I would rather not go because of pain. Now, when I think of it, I realized I haven't tried to go backwards though, it could be a temporary solution :)
    However, the specifics of such DOMS that I have could maybe be explained that DOMS affects only muscles participating in lengthening contraction. I would need to study walking anatomy to understand if it is the case.
  3. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Los Angeles, CA
    The muscles of the legs consist of flexors and extensors: the flexors (the ones that bend your legs) are stronger than the extensors (the ones that straighten your legs.) So it is very common for going down stairs or down a slope to be more challenging than going up if your muscles are weak or fatigued, as ours chronically are. Going down you are relying on extensor muscles for support and to control your descent.

    I can remember from my healthy days going for long, long hikes in the hills, and having a lot of trouble descending at the end of the day toward the parking lot, because the fatigued extensors would get very wobbly and have trouble supporting me. Overstressing of the extensors is also the reason why having to push a car tends to cause a lot of sore muscles, even in people who are reasonably strong and fit.
  4. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 Senior Member

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    funny that you should bring this up, I just experienced the same thing a few weeks ago. I don't typically do any stairs in my daily routine, and I was on the third story of my doctor's office building and decided that I would go down the steps for some exercise (I don't ever go up anymore). Anyway, my calves were so sore for the next four days, and it continued to intensify each day - I thought it was ridiculous to get so sore from walking down but I guess not, just another thing that we have to pace.
  5. lancelot

    lancelot Senior Member

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    southern california
    yes, this explains the difference between the difficulty of going downstairs vs upstairs nicely. But, why does this only occur during the first few hours when i get out of bed? the rest of the day and night, i don't need any support for walking the stairs. It's not like i've physically fatigued my legs beforehand nor do i physically have weak leg muscles. Something else is at play with the duration of the unrefreshing sleep being extended to my waking hours.

    Another weird and related symptom is that for the first 1-2 hours that i am stuck in bed due to the awful unrefreshing sleep, i can make a fist, but i cannot squeeze down no matter how hard i try. When i can actually squeeze down hard is when i can first make it out of bed.
  6. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Well, it seems pretty clear that your muscles are weaker when you first wake up in the morning and it takes time for them to gain enough strength for normal activity. *Why* they are weaker in the morning is a tough one, because then we'd really have to know why our muscles are weak in CFS - not weak in terms of development (though they certainly get that way through our inability to exercise) but weak in terms of not being able to deliver normal energy.

    Mine are weaker at some times than at others but I can see no rhyme or reason in the pattern - it scared me a lot the first time I developed the symptom of weakness and tremors in my hands, but this symptom seems to come and go over cycles of weeks or months, not on a daily basis. I almost always have *some* tremor if I try to do very fine muscle movements (it's very hard for me to write by hand or draw), but sometimes the tremor is extremely noticeable and affects a lot of my muscle groups.

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