Pain in the legs can stem from many different areas as they are made of bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. These body parts work together to allow us to walk, run, stand and sit.
Symptoms of Leg Pain
Because many conditions can cause similar leg pain symptoms, it is imperative to be properly examined. A detailed health history, followed by a comprehensive examination by a skilled practitioner, can help identify the problem accurately.
Symptoms of leg pain can vary greatly and include:
- Foot or leg weakness
- Sharp shooting pains
- Burning or tingling sensations
- Numbness in the leg, foot, or toes
- Leg pain that radiates down to the foot
- Sharp or dull pains in the back or front of the thighs
Common Causes of Leg Pain
As mentioned above, there are many ailments that could be the cause of leg pain. However, some common conditions that can cause leg pain include:
This condition occurs from the overuse of the Achilles tendon. Your Achilles tendon is a band of tissue that connects your back calf muscles to your heel bone. Achilles tendonitis occurs commonly in athletes who play sports that require quick movements or explosive power.
Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include:
- Mild ache in the back of the leg
- Stiffness or tenderness along the length of the tendon
- Pain with calf stretching or exercise
To prevent Achilles tendonitis, warm up properly before exercise and stretch to keep your muscles flexible. In addition, strengthening the calf muscles and choosing the right shoes can help prevent this condition.
Herniated or Bulging Discs
Although herniated or bulging discs are conditions of the spine, they can cause pain in the leg. When a disc is herniated, it can compress or irritate nearby nerves causing significant pain. When this occurs, the pain can radiate down to the foot, causing a sharp, shooting pain. This is known as sciatica. Sometimes sciatica can be so severe it interferes with daily activities such as walking, running, and sitting.
Occluded Blood Vessels
Occluded blood vessels, also known as clots, are a blockage of the artery or vein caused by a build-up of plaque. These clots can cause pain and swelling in one or both legs. Activities such as sitting or standing for long periods of time can increase the chance of clots forming. Injury to the blood vessels, diabetes, and smoking, can also contribute to occluded blood vessels.
Treatments for Leg Pain
Oftentimes, leg pain can be treated with simple at-home remedies and more conservative treatments.
Conservative treatment options include:
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Cold or heat compression
- Chiropractic care
- Sports medicine
If conservative treatment options fail, surgery may be needed. Surgery treatments for leg pain depend on the cause and severity of the condition but may include:
- Realignment of tendons and ligaments
- Surgery to remove herniated discs
- Achilles tendon repair surgery