Is lack of patella reflex a sign of ms?

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/7/2007 9:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,
I need help. I am 51, female, out of shape, over weight, do not get the proper excercise. No real health problems until NOW. I have no energy and my legs are weak. When I walk up the stairs I feel like I have a 200 lb ruck sack on my back. I have trouble getting up out of my chair. My knees are so weak. ( I Have fallen over the years and damaged them when I was in my 20's) I also noticed that the muscles above my knee were dented inward. I went to the Doctor on Friday and he told me he wanted to test me for MS since I had no patella reflex, at all, muscles wasting and the weak legs. I have no other symptoms other than just feeling weak and aching most days from arthritis that I have just lived with. Take a lot of goody powders for the pain and aches at night. I am dieting and have lost 14 pounds but have 40 pounds to go. It is such a struggle to walk some days.
The doctor did blood work and that will be back on Thursday. He is checking everything, including my thyroid, and then he will order an MRI, depending on the blood work.
This was all told to me on Friday and I have been a basketcase all weekend. Trying to understand why my patella reflex is ZERO. That freaked me out, watching the doctor hit my knees and nothing happen. I scared me. Before I always kicked strong and hard.
I did break my L4 and L5 about 7 years ago and never really had any special treatment, just let it heal. It took me three years for that pain to go away and I did see a chriopractor to help me increase my mobility. I was walking like a real old person, one foot steps. I noticed I can't put one foot in front of the other going down the stairs. My knees are not strong enough. WHen I do manage the step, I feel a strong pull on the muscles.

I don't know if I am way out of shape so much or if I really do have MS. I don't have alot of the symptoms that are described here by others.
Does anyone know anything about the Patella reflex and what it means if it is not there. They call it knee jerk.
Thank you and sorry to be rambling. Hope I make some kind of sense here.
I look forward to hearing any replies.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/7/2007 9:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I forgot to add. I do have neuroapthy in my left foot, somewhat. about a month ago I had shooting pain in my foot and the pain was intense and shot directly to my left toe. My toe turned red but after a day it was okay. I researched on the net and figured it must be gout, sure sounded like it, but I did not go to the Doctor to have this checked out. Why? I don't know.

I do have the numbness and the restless leg feelings at night, sometimes.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3571
   Posted 10/7/2007 10:20 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey Kelly,

I am so sorry you are having such a rough time right now.  You certainly have a lot on your plate.  I am glad you found us here.  None of us will venture a guess as to your diagnosis though.  We will hang with you while you begin your search for answers.  The symptoms of MS are varied and shared by many other diseases.  It sounds like your doctor is going to be thorough.  I don't have the answer to your question about your reflex test but others may have more experience and they may be able to tell you more.  Meanwhile welcome to HW.

Love and prayers,
diagnosed: MS  July 2006
A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs.  It's jolted by every pebble on the road.
Henry Beecher

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 10/7/2007 10:57 PM (GMT -6)   

Hello there...I'm sorry to hear that you're having these problems, it doesn't sound pleasant at all. 

The patellar reflex involves so many different aspects of the body that it's pretty difficult to use in the aid of diagnosis.  Did he check several of your reflexes, like in your foot, upper arm, etc.?  Sometimes weak reflexes can be caused by hypothyroidism, so it's good that he's checking you for that.  

When you say you "broke" your L4-L5, do you mean you had a herniated disc, a vertebrae fracture, or some kind of nerve compression?  What was the injury caused by?  Spinal injuries can definitely cause some major knee issues...

Co-moderator - IBS Forum

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/8/2007 8:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Gretchen and Sarita, Thank you so much for the nice welcome and your responses. I appreciate it so much.

Sarita, I slipped on a tile floor and I cracked or broke my L4 and L5. The Xray showed them sticking out sideways instead of up and down. I was in agony for a long while and could only make small steps when I walked. This sounds so irresponsible, I did not go see a bone doctor after this happened. Only a chriopractor. (I regret that decision now). I still have pain there when I turn to the left or the right from my waist, or get up out of bed, it still hurts.

No, the doctor only checked my knee jerk (patella response) and the lack of response with the weak legs prompted him to say.."I think you might have MS, I need to run x,w,z tests." I think I am going to call his office this morning and talk to the Nurse and ask this quesion. What does it mean when there is no patella reflex.

I obviously have a lot of bone issues here and I am upset that the doctor scared the heck out of me.

I didn't know a thing about MS and after researching the facts, I am scared.

My sympathy goes to all that have been afflicted by this disease, MS. All of you that have posted about your symptoms are so brave. I wish you the best of luck and I will certainly pay more attention to the fight against MS from here on out.

Thanks again for your input on my behalf.

Post Edited (Kelly1956) : 10/8/2007 10:09:49 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2146
   Posted 10/8/2007 10:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Kelly

WOW!!! If u can come away from this site (WITHOUT MS!!) and have gotten that more attention to ms...then thank God for u and u'r time here!! So many never realize what ms is or how it affects those with it and their families. Until we're somehow directly affected by it then we just don't think about it. I sincerely hope u don't have ms or anything else, but i'm so thankful u have been here and that u've researched ms to understand it more now. What a gift u'r words are to us all.

It does seem there are a lot of possible directions for u to go in for the cause of u'r weak legs and pain. I wonder if it'd be too late to see another doc about u'r vertebrae fractures?? Seems there should be something avail to help with that pain esp if the most med attention u've ever had is a chiropractor. Have u consulted with a surgeon? Has u'r doc seen any x-rays of this? I'm just spouting out now...don't know what would be a right direction...but seems u do need more attention on that prob.

I'm so glad u found us and that u'r seeking help. Please feel free to continue to post and ask questions as much as u'd like or need. We'd love to know how u'r tests turn out and how u'r doing. Also, we have live chats on Monday's at 6:00pm (cst) each week. Please join us if u can. It's a great chance to get to know the other members and to ask questions on the spot. Take good care friend and let us know how u are.
Co-Moderator, MS Forum
*~*Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.*~*

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/8/2007 10:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh, how sweet of you. I am sincerely amazed at this disease and have heard nary about it other than Montell Williams had it. Also learned that Gulliani's wife has it and Neil Cavuto has it. These people need to be more pro active about it, and scream from the mountain tops for PRO ACTIVE research. You have my promise, whether I have it or not, I will be sure to remain active in following up on it. The symptoms are dreadful and I feel so terribly sad for those that are afflicted. I maybe one of you, but, I pray not. I don't think I could handle it. I am no where near as brave or strong as all of you are.  I live alone and my support network are my six dogs. I am terrified. You are all in my prayers. Always adding something or some issue to my prayer list at night when I hit the sheets.
I took the bull by the horns and made two appointments with orthopedic doctors in my area. One for the spine and one for the knee. My knee appointment is this Friday! Spine is the 18th. This is the most prominent orthopedic clinic in the state. I have been remiss in taking good care of myself. I will have some answers by the end of this week. I go back to the family practicer (who I had never seen before and was quick to drop the MS BOMB on me)  on Thursday about the blood work. I called his office today to ask more questions and was brushed off, wait until your appointment on Thursday.  I said I NEED to go ahead and get a referral for orthepedic doctors. They told me I would need  to WAIT and get the referral from them on Thursday. They were wrong!!! I called the Orthopedic Clinic anyway, and made the appointments.  My State health plan does not require referrals. Made the direct appointment myself!! (Health care providers need to be a bit more considerate and learn the correct information. )
I was a fool for not going to a orthopedic doctor for my back injury. Honestly, I was too scared to. Alot of sense that makes. I was afraid they would want to do surgery, I guess. Alot of sense that makes, I know. Not.
I will keep you all posted on the brain scan and the results. I am really angry with this GP. He needs to work on his bed side manner a tad. I usually see his partner, a female, and she was out of the office on Friday.
Thanks again for all of your welcomes and support. You are all a wonderful and compassionate bunch. I will do my best to fight for more awareness of MS.
Will be back later. Have a great day, all.

Post Edited (Kelly1956) : 10/8/2007 9:57:54 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1052
   Posted 10/30/2007 11:43 PM (GMT -6)   

  I kind of found this by going though some of the old post, as my patella reflexes are near zero as well and my toes do not move down like they should and after researching this I have found that it is more of a test for neurodisorders of the spinal cord and for cerebellar lesions which maybe in part of the lesions on the brain stem and in the brain it self but yet there are still many factors that still must be looked at before a diagnoses of MS and I feel that you really should tell your pdoc about your back just to rule out that you may have injured the spinal cord from your fall

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