What is leg pain?
Leg pain can be defined as any pain or discomfort in the area between the groin and ankle. Depending on the cause, leg pain may be mild or severe, and symptoms may occur occasionally. Leg pain can be acute, if acute it starts suddenly and then goes away. If the leg pain does not go away, it is called chronic leg pain. For some people, chronic leg pain can last for years and negatively affect their lives.
What are the symptoms associated with leg pain?
Leg pain may affect only a small area of the leg (for example, only lower leg pain ) or it may cover a large area or even the entire leg. The pain can be dull or sharp and can occur in a variety of ways. Pain and tingling in the legs is also a common complaint. Along with leg pain, you may also have pain in your hip, lower back, spine or feet. Sometimes only one leg is affected, and sometimes both are affected by the pain.
Other symptoms that may occur with leg pain include:
- wound or ulcer
- redness or feeling of warmth
- change in skin color
- Slow-healing wound or wounds
What are the causes of leg pain?
Some common causes of leg pain include:
- Cramp: This is the sudden contraction of the muscles. The pain is normally felt in the calf and goes away quickly on its own.
- Muscle sprains and strains: Your leg may be very tender and you may also have muscle spasm, swelling, or difficulty moving your leg.
- Minor injuries: There may be redness, swelling, or discoloration at the injury site.
- Fracture: A bone break or crack can cause swelling, disfigurement, bruising, and loss of strength or range of motion in the leg.
- Infection: Ulcers and infected sores can cause the area to become red, swollen, hot, and have a high fever.
- Injuries to the bones or muscles: The muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding the leg can form very painful small knots. Ankle pain , problems with the knee or hip can also cause pain in the leg.
- Too little use of your leg: If you use your legs less and have a physically passive life, you may experience tingling or muscle tension along with the pain .
- Problems with blood vessels: These problems can cause pain, swelling, pressure, tenderness, or a pale complexion:
- Varicose veins: If you have varicose veins, your legs may feel as if they are throbbing or they may be burning. You may also experience cramping, restless legs syndrome , ankle swelling , and itching.
- Problems with the nerves: Problems with the nerves, such as diabetic neuropathy, can cause pain, weakness, numbness or tingling.
- Growing pains: This type of pain in children can cause pain or a burning sensation in the thigh, calf or foot muscles, usually at night.
Pain in the leg can also be part of chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Do I need to go to the doctor for leg pain?
It ‘s a good idea to see a doctor if you have symptoms such as aches and pains in the legs and they don’t go away. You should also see a doctor if you have the following symptoms.
- leg swelling
- Change in appearance of the leg
- Difficulty using the leg
- cold feeling in the leg
- Leg discoloration/paleness
- leg numbness
- Redness and feeling of warmth in the leg
- persistent leg pain
You should see your doctor as soon as possible if you have signs of infection, such as a high fever, or if you have severe symptoms that occur for no reason.
Which doctor should I go to for leg pain?
The first doctor to go to for leg pain should be your family doctor. Because there are many causes of leg pain, it is impossible to know what expertise you need without understanding why. Your family doctor will decide which doctor you should go to after examining you and listening to your complaints.
How is leg pain treated?
Treatment for leg pain depends on the cause. Symptoms such as pain, numbness, and tingling in the legs can usually be treated at home, but medical attention may be required if the pain is sudden, severe, persistent, or if other symptoms are present.
For non-serious pain that triggers leg pain, the following simple treatments will work:
- Rest : Resting the legs until the leg pain subsides will likely relieve the pain.
- Ice : You can wrap a closed ice pack or a cloth and apply it to the aching area for 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Compression : Wrapping the affected leg tightly can relieve your pain
- Height : Keeping your leg above your hip will also be good for your leg pain.
In consultation with your pharmacist, you can also take simple pain relievers such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen . If you have muscle cramps, gently stretching the muscles will help. This is true for many other types of leg pain as well. Also, if you have a pins and needle-like feeling in your legs, moving should ease the discomfort.
If your leg pain still doesn’t go away despite the above, it’s time to see your doctor.
Can leg pain be prevented?
You can prevent strains and injuries by always warming up before exercise and then cooling down and stretching. When you are going to exercise, you should increase physical activity gradually and not overload yourself. It’s also a good idea to replace worn-out shoes and wear shoes that match your activity. Taking care of your health in general (sleeping enough, drinking enough water, exercising regularly, not smoking, being at a healthy weight) can help with leg pain, as can many other things.