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Updated: 2023-08-30


An unsteady walk that can be caused by pain, weakness or injury to the leg.


Rest. Ice the painful area. Compress the area with an elastic bandage. Elevate the limb with a pillow. Take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) for pain.

When to seek immediate medical care

Seek emergency help if:

  • The limp happens along with muscle weakness, numbness or tingling, or fever.
  • The pain is constant, severe, comes on fast, or wakes a person up at night.
  • The affected leg can barely move or stretch in the usual direction.

When to make a doctor's appointment

See a healthcare professional if:

  • The limp lasts longer than a week and does not get better on its own.
  • The limp limits a person's usual activities.
  • A toddler or young child refuses to walk or stand.