LEG PAIN CAUSES | Dr. Vasudeva Juvvadi Explains
When it comes to leg pain overuse, wear and tear, and injuries in the tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilages, bones or joints, and other soft tissues are the prominent reasons. Leg pain can also be due to lower spine issues and problems in the vertebrae. Poor blood circulation, weak veins, varicose veins, and blood clots can also cause leg pain. Problems in the lower back nerves can also cause leg pain.
What are the causes of your leg pain?
The cause of your leg pain can be neurological, musculoskeletal, or vascular.
If your leg pain is due to a severe vascular issue such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – then the pain can sometimes become fatal and you may require immediate medical intervention.
Extensive running, jogging, and repetitive sporting activities can cause stress fractures and shin splints.
If your leg pain is due to Neurological Issue:
The underlying cause can be sciatic nerve pain, nerve damage, neuropathy, uncontrollable twitching due to anxiety, stress, hormonal disorders; restless leg syndrome (associated with uncontrolled twitching of legs), etc. If your leg pain persists even after taking a rest, then it could be due to a neurological cause.
If your Leg pain is due to a vascular cause:
The underlying causes related to vascular conditions may include varicose veins, infections, cellulitis, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), Peripheral artery disease (PAD) and varicose eczema. The symptoms are mostly associated with the discoloration of the skin.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
PAD usually develops over a period of time wherein the affected person can locate the onset of pain. PAD causes intermittent claudication – the restriction of blood supply to the leg muscles results in deprivation of nutrients and oxygen. Claudication associated with PAD causes pain when climbing stairs or walking, pain in the feet, calves, thighs, and buttocks; cramping pain during exertion or exercise. The cramps consistently occur after the same walking distances, and they often ease on resting.
Cramps in the legs are common in people aged over 60 years. People experience cramps at night for several minutes. They experience leg muscle cramps in transient episodes. The calf muscle often tightens and goes into spasms. Almost one in every three elderly people experience muscular cramps with an average of 3 episodes per week.
High impact repetitive forces due to running and jogging overload tendons and muscles. High impact sports and intense exertion during exercise may lead to shin splints. They cause severe tenderness in the muscles and bone pain around the shin bone.
Sudden falls from heights can lead to fractures owing to heavy pressure. Such fractures can be easily comprehended with visible swelling, bruising and deformation. In a majority of the cases, they receive urgent medical care. Sporting activities that involve repetitive movements can result in these types of fractures. The possibility of stress fractures increases when the intensity of activity suddenly augments.
Sciatic nerve pain
A herniated disk or a muscle spasm put pressure on the nerve in the spine. This condition is known as a pinched nerve. It leads to pain that radiates through the hip down the lower part of the leg and up to the foot. People who experience this type of nerve pain tend to change their gait to compensate for the pain. They get somewhat relief from the pain but put pressure and strain on other parts of the body.
What are the other leg pain causes?
The other causes of leg pain may include:
Torn meniscus, Thrombophlebitis (a blood clot that usually occurs in the leg), Tendinitis, Sprains, Spinal stenosis, Septic arthritis, Sacroiliitis, Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory joint disease), Reactive arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, Pseudogout, Peripheral neuropathy, Patellofemoral pain syndrome, Patellar tendinitis, Paget’s disease of bone, Osteomyelitis (a bone infection), Osteochondritis dissecans, Osteoarthritis (disease-causing the breakdown of joints), Night leg cramps, Muscle strain, Infection, Muscle cramp, Meralgia paresthetica, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, Knee bursitis (inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the knee joint), Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), Herniated disk, Hamstring injury, Growth plate fractures, Growing pains, Gout (arthritis related to excess uric acid), Chronic exertional compartment syndrome, Bursitis (joint inflammation), Broken leg, Bone cancer, Baker’s cyst, Ankylosing spondylitis, ACL injury, Achilles tendon rupture and Achilles tendinitis
Treatment of Leg Pain
You can treat and manage your leg pain at home provided it is mild and moderate. For severe, sudden, and persistent leg pain you must seek medical care. If your leg pain is associated with other symptoms, you should talk to your orthopedic doctor.