Leg pain is a common physical ailment that occurs due to an injury or trauma. Sometimes, it happens due to underlying medical conditions. The reason for leg pain may vary, but sometimes, it causes severe discomfort.
Leg pain may either be acute or chronic. Acute pain has mild symptoms, and self-care is enough to treat it. However, chronic pain persists for a long time and can have severe symptoms. The acute pain may also stay for a long time and lead to chronic disorders.
Types of leg pain
The different kinds of leg pain are as follows:
- Leg cramps: Leg cramps are common among old people and usually occurs at night. The calf muscles at the back of the leg tighten and cause pain. The muscle cramps last for a few seconds or minutes and reduce after stretching. One should not ignore these cramps if the pain is severe.
- Shin splints: Shin splints occur in the front of the legs, and its cause may be overused muscles. It occurs when there is a sudden increase in the activities involving the legs. Resting the legs for some time helps to relieve the pain. However, at times, the splints may lead to fractures.
- Achilles tendon injury: A common symptom of this condition is pain near the heel bone. One of the leading causes of this pain is wearing high-heeled shoes. Ignoring the pain may lead to a rupture of the tendon. Hence, one should notice the early symptoms and take proper care.
- Hamstring strain: Hamstring strain is an injury to the muscles at the back of the thighs. It may be due to exercising without an adequate warm up. Hamstring strain usually causes acute pain, but there may be a possibility of a partial muscle tear.
- Sciatica: A pressure on the sciatic nerves, usually in the spine, causes pain in the legs. The pain starts at the lower back and runs down to the legs. It happens due to pinched nerves in the muscles.
What are the causes of leg pain?
There can be various causes of leg pain. Some of them are:
Traumatic causes are those which occur due to an injury of the legs. Overused muscles put pressure on the legs and cause pain. One might experience pain in the calf muscles and a burning sensation as well. Fractures including stress fractures cause swelling and bruising. Strenuous exercises also lead to an increase in leg pain.
Compartment syndrome is another condition that can cause leg pain and it results in severe swelling in the compartments. The compartments are sections of the leg which contain the muscles. The swelling leads to an increase in the pressure in these compartments, which causes more pain and numbness in the legs.
- Peripheral artery disease
This condition occurs due to a decrease in the blood supply to the legs. The narrowed arteries reduce the blood supply and cause muscle pain. One may feel the pain after physical activities. However, if the blood supply reduces to a great extent, one may experience pain even while resting. The lack of blood supply may also cause infections.
- Deep vein thrombosis
It is a condition in which a blood clot occurs in the deeper veins of the legs. It results in swelling and inflammation. In most cases, the blood clot heals on its own. But sometimes, the symptoms are very severe and may cause serious damage to the legs. If not treated at the right time, this condition can lead to a blood clot in the lungs.
- Peripheral neuropathy
Neuropathy is an ailment that affects the peripheral motor nerves. The peripheral motor nerve connects the spinal cord to the internal organs. This condition causes numbness and heaviness in the legs.
It is a condition which causes inflammation in the joints. It also leads to excessive swelling and pain.
- Varicose veins
In this condition, the leg veins get swollen due to faulty valves. The valves allow the blood to flow in the wrong direction which makes the blood pool in a single place. Thus, it causes swelling. This condition may cause mild or severe leg pain.
- Other causes of leg pain
Illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and vitamin deficiency may cause nerve pain. The nerve pain, in turn, affects the legs. Some diseases cause weakness and lead to leg pain.
Skin inflammation is one of the factors that cause leg pain. Skin abnormalities caused by inadequate blood flow may also lead to leg pain.