Can ms cause legs to turn outwards?

I am un dx (got private neuro apt 25 Oct and having MRI, lp, ESP all done at a private hospital. Had brain MRI, 4 yrs ago and nothing showed up so got told its fibro. I’ve lived with this label for ages but lots of new symptoms which I never go to doc for. But I had to go the other week as had hug for 36 hours straight and hadn’t slept and was at my wits end by this point. She advised me to have scans and tests done again as she said she has several patients who had fibro dx then years later had ms dx! So here I go again can’t be bothered to wait for NHS so am paying for the best possible investigations I can this time. So I can either crack on with fibro dx or prepare for ms whichever, I just want to know for sure. Anyway in the last new years I’ve notices my legs and feet have turned outwards from the hip! (I stand like a ballerina in permanent first position lol) if I try to turn them inwards they hurt sooooo much I am just far more comfortable with them pointing outwards! Weird but was wondering if this could be ms related as fibro shouldn’t cause this. I keep trying to stand straight with my feet pointing forwards but it just feels unnatural and feels like I’m forcing my feet, legs to be straight. Anyone who has a def dx and gets this I’d be interested to hear from and also any other peeps who are un dx but have the same thing, in fact any of you who know what I’m on about really lol. Maybe I’m going mad eh… Much love Jojo xxxxx

Also I stand with my legs apart now, bit like a bloke lol. I find my balance is better that way and I walk with them apart and turned outwards too. Forgot that bit in the post X

Hi Jojo,

As you’ve probably gathered by now, MS can be very different for different people. Some sort of gait disturbance is common, but I don’t think legs turning outwards is the “classic” one.

Probably most common is something called foot-drop (or dropped foot - same thing) - where the person has trouble bending their foot upward at the ankle - i.e. bringing toes towards body (simple movement, surprisingly hard to explain). This can cause the person to have a tendency to stumble over their own feet - not bringing the foot up enough to clear the ground when walking.

Some people in turn subconsciously try to counteract this by swinging the leg outward from the hip when walking, instead of striding forwards, so that the foot doesn’t accidentally catch the ground.

If you were doing this a lot, I don’t know if it would eventually cause your legs to be permanently outward-turning or not. You’d probably need a physio to answer that question.

Personally, I feel I’ve become rather more knock-kneed since I got MS. If I stand in (for me) a natural position, my knees don’t face front. But I’m 46 anyway, so maybe it has nothing to do with MS…


I have foot-drop and do tend to walk from the hip on the affected side and this has resulted in that leg tending to turn inwards, rather than outwards. But, like Tina says MS can be different for different people…


Hi Jojo,

I have a definite Dx and have a pronounced degree of pronation of my right foot. Or in English, my right foot turns out a lot :slight_smile:

Apparently this is caused by weak adductors, which are the muscles at the top of the thigh on the inside of your leg. And like you it actually hurts to force the leg into a straight positron and it feels very awkward. I also walk with a wide based gait as it help me to balance. If I try and walk with my feet closer together I’ll fall over.

For me this weird leg positioning is definitely caused by the MS and is a combination of muscle weakness and an attempt to correct my balance. I do go to physio and am just about to start an 8 week Strength and Balance Group so it will be interesting to see if I get any improvement after that.

But this leg thing we share is hardly diagnostic of MS so don’t assume anything from this. Many, many other things could also cause it, I’m sure.

Seeing a physio if you aren’t already may be a good idea to help strengthen the muscles to prevent any later damage to the hip etc.

Best of luck with all the barrage of testing and fingers crossed you don’t have MS.



My feet turn inwards now and wobble at the ankle, alot. I do unfortunately have 4 degree osteoathritis and need a left knee replacement, (left over side effect of 17 yrs in the army). But even with this, I have definately noticed a change over the last year with how my feet present themselves, (was used to marching in straight lines, LOL). Just need to know if I have MS now, as have been dx with Fibro, 18 mths ago and it does not fit what is happening to me.

Last time, I saw bone doctor, he said he would wait out for results of Neuro appt. Now waiting MRI, on 10 Nov. MS is a strange beast.

In short, yes it can.

The messages from your brain getting to the muscles in your legs, primarily the calf muscle, don’t know when to switch off if you sit down. So the muscles keep working, blood keeps pumping to them and that is why you are stiff and wobbly whenever you stand up.

Over time, if you don’t stretch these muscles out reguarly, this pressure builds up and will eventually twist your bones and warp your tendons. Imagine how divers walk with flippers…thats what started happening to my right foot, the “penguin” effect.

You should speak to a physio, they will teach you stretching exercises you should do daily which will stretch your muscles and relax them which will give your other bits time to recover from the constant twisting pressure.

I could explain how to do a calf stretch but it’s wordy and watching something like this is easier.

it sounds like you may also benefit from other leg stretches too, hence speak to a physio via your GP or neuro/nurse.

Thanks for the replies guys…very helpful as always. The other thing I forgot to mention is I trip over my toes quite a lot weirdly enough. It’s like my toes don’t lift up enough when I take a step and I trip mid step. I even ripped the sole off my boot from catching my toes! (not such a bad thing tho as hubby had to buy me new boots lol) I also feel I’m pulling my leg outwards instead of directly forwards to compensate so my toes don’t catch lol. Make any sense? Thank again for the replies guys your all amazeballs xxxxxx

Hi Jojo,

That sounds like what I said at first: foot-drop!

It’s exactly that: not being able to lift your toes enough, so that you trip. And many people (not all) get into the habit of swinging the leg outwards to try to compensate.

I’ve scuffed up my good boots, too. :frowning: Sadly no-one around to buy me new ones.



Ah T, bless ya. I am lucky my hubby lets me have new boots lol. I should have posted about he walking issues as well as the legs turning out thing at the same time. Brain doesn’t work quick enough lol. I always add things to conversation s much later xxxxx