Signs and symptoms of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) usually take years to progress. They include:

  • Stiffness, weakness and spasticity in your legs
  • Tripping, difficulty with balance and clumsiness as the leg muscles weaken
  • Weakness and stiffness progressing to your trunk, then your arms, hands, tongue and jaw
  • Hoarseness, reduced rate of speaking, slurred speech and drooling as the facial muscles weaken
  • Difficulties with swallowing and breathing late in the disease

Less commonly, PLS begins in your tongue or hands and then progresses down your spinal cord to your legs.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have persistent problems with stiffness or weakness in your legs, or with swallowing or speaking.

If your child develops involuntary muscle spasms or seems to be losing balance more often than usual, make an appointment with a pediatrician for an evaluation.

Jul. 12, 2013

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.