Bearded Dragon Care

Bearded Dragon Leg Issues: What’s Wrong and What To Do

Bearded dragons are pretty good at hiding whenever they are injured. That being said, it’s difficult for most animals to hide injury in the leg, including bearded dragons.

Bearded dragons may not be able to walk due to a broken leg, metabolic bone disease, or impaction. Occasionally, something less serious, such as infection or overheating, may cause the bearded dragon to walk weirdly while still being able to move. It’s important to talk to your exotic veterinarian to determine the cause of your bearded dragon’s behavior.

Keep reading for a comprehensive look at different reasons bearded dragons walk weird, the severity, and what you should do to treat your bearded dragon.

3 Possible reasons my bearded dragon walking weird

If your bearded dragon can’t walk at all, it is likely experiencing severe illness, such as broken bones, paralysis, or MBD. However, your bearded dragon is likely undergoing something less serious if it can still walk but is walking weird. Here are the three most common reasons that bearded dragons walk oddly:


Infections can cause your bearded dragon to walk oddly. You will need to take your bearded dragon to the vet to determine if an infection is to blame for its odd behavior.


Reptiles require specific temperatures in order to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. If your bearded dragon is overheating, it may walk oddly as a result. Double-check the enclosure to ensure it is not too hot inside.

Neurological illnesses

Certain neurological diseases caused bearded dragons to walk weirdly, but these illnesses are normally present from birth. Talk to your veterinarian to determine if neurological illnesses are to blame for your bearded dragon’s behavior.

When to consider more serious issues

Very occasionally, more serious issues than the three above can cause your bearded dragon to walk weirdly. For example, a broken leg, dislocated joint, metabolic bone disease, and impaction can cause your bearded dragon to walk weirdly.

Even so, these more serious issues most often cause your pet to be completely immobile. Consequently, consider the above-mentioned illnesses first and only move on to these more serious issues once you have ruled the above out.

Broken Leg

What if my bearded dragon has a broken leg?

A broken leg is a serious issue for most animals, including bearded dragons. There are some important questions to answer, including “How do I tell if it’s a broken leg?” “What do I have to do for them?” and “How long will they take to recover?”

How do I tell if my bearded dragon has a broken leg?

Whenever bearded dragons break their legs, they are often unable to walk at all. In some cases, visible trauma or piercing of the skin will be visible. In other scenarios, visible trauma may not be present, but the leg will look strange and swollen.

What should I do if my bearded dragon has a broken leg?

If you suspect your bearded dragon has a broken leg, take it to the veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will be able to reset the leg so that it heals correctly. As for treatment, they often put a soft cast on the affected limb.

How long will it take for my bearded dragon’s broken leg to recover?

It can take a long time for your bearded dragon’s leg to fully recover. The bone can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to completely heal. The reptile’s health and age will largely contribute to the speed of recovery.

Swollen Leg

Why does my bearded dragon have a swollen leg?

Related to a bearded dragon broken leg is a swollen leg. If your bearded dragon’s leg is swollen, it might actually be broken, but other issues could be to blame as well. It’s important to ask the same questions as before, such as “What do I have to do for them?” and “Will they recover?”

What can I do for my bearded dragon if it has a swollen leg?

If your bearded dragon has a visibly swollen leg, take it to the veterinarian. Often, a Bearded dragon’s swollen leg is a sign of dislocation or fracture, which requires medical intervention.

Will my bearded dragon recover from a swollen leg?

Your bearded dragon can recover from a swollen leg, assuming you get it the help it needs. Take your bearded dragon to the vet ASAP so it has the best chances of recovery.

Walking on Wrists

Why is my bearded dragon walking on his wrists?  

You will occasionally see a bearded dragon walking on wrists. Why are they doing this? This is most often a sign of metabolic bone disease, a serious condition in bearded dragons and related reptiles. MBD is caused by a deficiency in vitamin D and calcium.

How serious is this?

Metabolic bone disease is pretty serious. Reptiles frequently die from MBD because it is difficult to notice whenever they are first suffering from it. That being said, MBD is treatable if you catch it early enough and begin supplementing vitamin D or calcium into the creature’s diet.

What can I do for my bearded dragon walking on wrists?

As soon as you notice that your bearded dragon is walking on its wrist, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will conduct tests to see if metabolic bone disease is the case. If it is, your veterinarian will provide supplements to help your bearded dragon get healthy once again.

Back Legs Stretched Out

Why are my bearded dragon’s back legs stretched out?

If you notice bearded dragon back legs stretched out on occasion, you don’t need to worry immediately. Bearded dragons often like to lay in this position because it is comforting and opens their hips. That being said, this position is often a sign of impaction if they are constantly in this position.

In the case that impaction is causing your bearded dragon to lay in this position, the animal will not be mobile often, if at all. Additionally, one or both the legs may appear paralyzed. If your bearded dragon is still able to move and just chooses to be in this position, it’s just relaxing.

How serious is this?

In the case that your bearded dragon is just relaxing, this position is not serious at all. On the contrary, it proves that your bearded dragon is comfy and cozy.

If your bearded dragon is doing it too frequently, it can be moderately serious. Take the bearded dragon to the vet to double-check that impaction is not to blame. Here is how to treat impaction in bearded dragons yourself.

What should I do for them?

You don’t need to do anything if it’s an occasional thing. The bearded dragon is likely just relaxing. Contact your vet if your bearded dragon is doing it often, though. You will want to go to an exotic pet veterinarian if impaction is to blame for this behavior.

Will they recover?

The severity of the impaction will determine if the bearded dragon can recover. If the impaction is just mild, you should be able to treat the impaction. However, your bearded dragon may not be able to fully recover if paralysis has set in.

Final thoughts

Just as humans, bearded dragons rely on legs to do practically everything. If there’s something wrong with your bearded dragon’s leg, it’s important to act fast to ensure that your pet has a happy and functional life once again.

Common bearded dragon leg issues include broken legs, swollen legs, metabolic bone disease, and impaction. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate medical issue and a lazy reptile that’s just laying out.

If you have any suspicions that your bearded dragon is injured or ill, take it to the vet immediately. The faster you can see an exotic veterinarian, the better the chances will be of recovery. Even if you get your bearded dragon to a vet fast, the recovery may be a long and steady process.


Chris is a reptile enthusiast, breeder, and blogger from the Milwaukee, WI area. After breeding hundreds of bearded dragons to supply local pet stores and owning many other types of reptiles, he is now focused on sharing knowledge to help owners properly care for their little reptiles friends.

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