What causes leg pain? Could it be a serious situation? When should you see a doctor? What should be done to pass? How is it treated? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What is leg pain?
Leg pain is any pain or discomfort that occurs in the leg, from the hip joint to the heels. Leg pain is a very common complaint. Your legs are made up of joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels that have been exposed to injury, infection, or other conditions that can cause aches and pains.
Leg pain may be short-lived or constant and may affect your entire leg or just a specific area. Your pain may feel sharp, stabbing , or tingling . Usually a stinging and burning sensation in the legs or similar sensations described as such is called paresthesia . The pain in the leg may be minimal, or you may have such debilitating pain that you cannot put weight on your leg or walk.
Leg pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, from a minor bump to nerve conditions. In the absence of minor bumps or other symptoms, leg pains are often caused by muscle cramping. In some cases, pain in the leg may originate from another part of the body, such as the back. This type of pain in the leg is called referred leg pain . If you are experiencing other symptoms along with your leg pain, it may be a good idea to see your doctor. This information will help your doctor determine the cause of your pain.
Pain in the leg can also be a symptom of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the leg) , a serious and life-threatening condition . It is a condition that can cause a blood clot, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, and even stroke. If your leg hurts or you feel pain, swelling, redness and warmth in the calf after light exercise or exertion , it is recommended that you seek immediate medical attention.
Leg pain originating in the lumbar region and radiating down the hips, with loss of urine or stool control, is a sign of nerve entrapment . This serious condition should be evaluated as soon as possible in an emergency medical setting. If your leg pain is persistent or worries you, it would definitely be beneficial for you to see a doctor.
What causes leg pain?
Infectious diseases, circulation problems, and neurological conditions can affect your leg. However, most leg pains result from overuse, injury, and age-related wear and tear on the muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments of the leg, including the hip, knee, and ankle. But sometimes legs can ache for more serious reasons. Below you will find all the causes of your leg pain in categories.
Injury-related causes of leg pain
Leg pains can be caused by injuries that include:
- Capillary crack or stress fracture
- Muscle cramps, often from dehydration or overuse
- Overuse injury, strain or sprain
- Traumatic injury (such as ruptured Achilles tendon)
Degenerative, inflammatory and autoimmune related causes of leg pain
Leg pain can also be caused by deterioration of the joint structure, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases :
- cup kistic
- Bursitis (inflammation of the bursa sac that cushions the joint)
- Fibromyalgia (chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness, and tenderness)
- Good (artrit tipi)
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- rheumatic joint inflammation
- Tendinitis (tendon inflammation)
- Varicose veins
Other causes of leg pain
Leg pain can be a symptom of more obscure or rare conditions that are not immediately obvious, such as:
- Bone tumor (malignant or benign)
- Medications such as corticosteroids or allopurinol used to treat gout
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (rare, degenerative hip bone disease)
- Osteomyelitis (bone infection )
- Sciatic nerve injury due to spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease
- Cellulitis (skin infection)
- growth plate fracture
Serious or life-threatening causes of leg pain
In some cases, leg pain can be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated as soon as possible in an emergency medical setting. Examples include:
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the lung that can cause a pulmonary embolism , heart attack, or even stroke)
- Peripheral arterial disease (narrowing of the arteries due to accumulation of fat and cholesterol in the artery walls)
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal, compression of the spinal cord and nerves)
What other symptoms can occur with leg pain?
Depending on the underlying disease, disorder, or condition, leg pain and other symptoms may occur. For example, leg pain caused by infection is accompanied by fever. Leg pains caused by arthritis may present with stiffness and decreased range of motion. You may also experience ankle pain or hip pain along with leg pain.
Symptoms that may occur along with leg pain
Leg pains can occur with other symptoms, including:
- High fever
- Joint pain
- Decreased range of motion of the joint
- skin changes
- Varicose veins
Serious symptoms that may indicate a life-threatening condition
In some cases, leg pain may occur along with other symptoms that may indicate a serious or life-threatening condition. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is recommended to seek medical attention:
- Leg that looks cold and pale
- difficulty breathing
- High fever
- Inability to walk or put weight on your leg
- Pain after walking or light exertion
- Pale or bluish skin (cyanosis)
- A popping sensation during a leg injury
- Progressive weakness and numbness in the leg with loss of urine or stool control
- Red lines on the leg
- Red, hot, and swollen legs
- Prick feeling in feet
What are the possible complications of leg pain?
Complications of leg pain depend on the underlying disease, disorder, and condition. Mild leg pain from overuse often responds to rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. But untreated leg pain due to serious conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) or peripheral artery disease can cause permanent damage and life-threatening secondary complications.
Some of the more serious complications of leg pain due to deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, and spinal stenosis include:
- Limb loss (amputation)
- Permanent nerve damage
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung)