Weakness may be a symptom of the motor system. A patient with a proximal arm motor weakness complains of difficulty brushing hair, shaving, or reaching up to shelves. A patient with distal arm motor weakness complains of difficulty putting a button through a buttonhole, using keys, or writing with a pen or pencil. Proximal leg motor weakness is characterized by difficulty climbing stairs or getting into bed or the bathtub. Footdrop is a classic sign of distal leg motor weakness. Chapter 20, The Musculoskeletal System, reviews some of the important questions related to weakness.

Face droop and weakness are common signs of a stroke, as is the presence of numbness or clumsiness in one arm or hand.

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