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Lower Leg Pain

Lower Leg Pain

Everything you need to know about Lower Leg Pain

The lower half of your legs bear the burden of your daily activities. However, you shouldn’t have to suffer.

If your doctor thinks you have a condition like leg cramps, blood clots, or nerve problems, medical treatments can assist. However, there are things you may do at home to help.

Bones, Joints & Muscles

Muscle cramp

Muscle cramp. It can happen while you’re sleeping or during the day. A “charley horse” is a term for abrupt, tight, acute lower leg pain. When it takes hold, it can quickly deteriorate. When your muscles are weary or dehydrated, this happens. If you’re prone to leg cramps, drink more water.

Stretching or massaging the place where your muscle has stiffened up may assist. Also, stretch your legs thoroughly before exercising.

Shin splints

Shin splints are a painful condition. The discomfort can be felt all the way up the front of your leg. Walking, running, or jumping hurts because the muscles and flesh along the edge of the shin bone become inflamed. This can be caused by repetitive activities on hard surfaces. If you have flat feet or your feet turn outward, you’re more likely to acquire shin splints.

To feel better, rest your legs. Ice is beneficial. Anti-inflammatory drugs including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, if prescribed by your doctor, can also help. They are available for purchase over the counter.

If the discomfort persists, you should consult a doctor. Avoid doing anything that can aggravate your leg pain. Do some stretches after it feels a little better. Wear supportive, comfy shoes the next time you go out. If at all possible, avoid running on hard surfaces.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis. Pain in your lower calf, near the back of your heel, is one of the early signs of an inflamed Achilles tendon. The tendon swells, stretches, or tears as a result of this damage. Overworking the calf muscle or ascending the stairs can cause it. It’s also possible that it’ll last a long time.

To gain some relief, apply ice. If your doctor says it’s okay, you can also take anti-inflammatories. Anything that causes pain should be avoided. Stretch and strengthen your leg when it hurts less.

Your Achilles tendon may be torn if your pain is severe. Another symptom of a tear is difficulty pointing your toe downward. Your doctor may use an injection to treat the inflamed area or refer you for surgery.

Broken bones or sprains

Sprains or broken bones. Assume you sprain your ankle after twisting it. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation is the RICE treatment.

Apply ice to a more serious sprain or a fractured bone (fracture) and contact your doctor as soon as possible. A cast or brace may be required. Physical therapy may also be required.

It will take some time, but you will be able to walk normally again. Slowly build up your strength and weight on the affected leg.

Veins and Clots

A Blood Clot

A Blood Clot. A clot might form when your blood hardens in a vein and clots together. Deep vein thrombosis is a clot that forms in a vein deep within the body (DVT).

Deep-vein blood clots most commonly occur in the lower leg or thigh. When you’re sedentary for long periods of time, such as on a long trip or automobile ride, they’re more prone to happen. If you’re overweight, smoke, or take certain drugs, you’re additionally in danger.

There’s a danger a clot will break off in your bloodstream and go to a pulmonary artery. If this is the case, blood flow may be obstructed. Pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening condition.

If you suspect you have a blood clot, see your doctor or go to the hospital.

Treatments to assist you to avoid clots include medications, support stockings, and weight loss.

Varicose veins

You may be familiar with these because they may be seen on the skin’s surface. Weak valves and vein walls cause them to look like twisted, dark blue or purple veins. They might create dull discomfort, particularly after prolonged standing.

To reduce pain, try wearing support stockings. Switch between standing and sitting throughout the day. If your varicose veins are extremely painful, talk to a doctor about alternate options.

 

Lower-extremity peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral arterial disease of the legs. When the arteries in your legs become injured and hardened, this can happen. Your legs are deprived of blood flow when your arteries narrow or become blocked. Because muscles aren’t getting enough blood, this might cause cramping and soreness in your lower leg when you walk, climb stairs, or do other types of exercise.

Rest is beneficial. The pain may linger even when you rest if your arteries become significantly constricted or obstructed. Wounds may also take a long time to heal.

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoke, or are obese, you’re more prone to develop this condition.

Change your lifestyle to fix it:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Manage your weight.
  • Take regular exercise.

Other therapies include cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure medications. To enhance blood flow to the area, some people require surgery.

Nerves causing lower leg pain

Nerve disorders can be the source of some pain.

Narrowed spinal canal (stenosis) and sciatica.

Sciatica and a narrowed spinal canal (stenosis). Arthritis of the spine is a typical cause of a constricted spinal canal. A herniated disc can put a strain on adjacent nerve roots, resulting in sciatica symptoms such as:

  • Burning, cramping leg pain when standing or sitting
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

The pain may start in your back and hip and then go down your leg. Other leg pains may usually be treated with rest, but not this one. It has no effect on sciatica.

Rest for a few days, and see a doctor. Anti-inflammatory and painkillers, may be prescribed. Some symptoms can be relieved by cold or heat. Stretching exercises and physiotherapy are frequently beneficial. Increase movement gradually over time. If your pain does not improve, your doctor may suggest further therapies or surgery.

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a common diabetic complication. High blood sugar levels might cause nerve damage. It can result in pain in both legs, as well as numbness and decreased sensation in the lower legs.

Consult your doctor about pain drugs that will help you regulate your blood sugar levels.

Other causes of leg pain

Leg discomfort can also be caused by the following disorders and injuries, however, they are less common:

  • When one of the elastic discs between the vertebrae falls out of place, it is called a slipped (herniated) disc. Nerves in the spine may be compressed by the disc. This could result in discomfort radiating from your spine to your arms and legs.
  • When the tendon that links the kneecap to the shinbone becomes stressed, Osgood-Schlatter disease develops. It pulls on the tibia’s cartilage where it connects to the bone. It results in the formation of a painful lump below the knee, as well as soreness and swelling around the knee. It is most common in teens going through puberty and undergoing growth spurts.
  • The blockage of the blood flow to the ball of the hip joint causes Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. The absence of blood supply causes serious damage to the bone and can permanently distort it. These anomalies frequently cause pain, particularly in the hip, thigh, or knee. This is most common during adolescence.
  • Hip discomfort is caused by a slipped capital femoral epiphysis, which is a separation of the ball of the hip joint from the thighbone. Only youngsters, particularly those who are overweight, are affected.
  • Tumours in the thighbone or shinbone can also be noncancerous or benign.
  • Bone tumours that are malignant, or cancerous, can develop in the major leg bones, such as the thighbone or shinbone.

When to call a doctor

It might be tough to know when leg pain necessitates a visit to the doctor or the emergency room. Make an appointment with your doctor if you’re experiencing:

  • Both legs are swollen
  • Varicose veins that are painful
  • Walking causes pain
  • Leg pain that worsens over time or lasts more than a few days

If any of the following occurs, go to the hospital right away:

  • You’ve got a fever.
  • Your leg has a nasty cut on it.
  • Your leg is hot to the touch and red.
  • The skin on your leg is pale and cold to the touch.
  • You’re having trouble breathing and your legs are swollen on both sides.
  • You can’t walk or put any pressure on your leg.
  • You had a leg injury that was accompanied by a popping or grinding sound.

Leg discomfort can be caused by a variety of catastrophic illnesses and injuries. Leg discomfort that persists or is accompanied by other symptoms should never be ignored. This could be hazardous. If your leg pain is bothering you, see your doctor.

Treatment

Leg pain caused by cramps or a mild injury can typically be treated at home. If your leg pain is caused by muscle cramps, weariness, or overuse, try the following home remedies:

  • Rest your leg and elevate it with pillows as much as possible.
  • As your leg heals, take an over-the-counter painkiller like aspirin or ibuprofen to aid with the discomfort.
  • Wear supportive compression socks or stockings.

Apply a cool pack

At least four times a day, apply ice or a cool pack to the affected area of your leg. In the first several days after the pain arises, you can do this even more regularly. The ice can be left on for up to 15 minutes at a time.

Take a warm bath and stretch

After a warm bath, stretch your muscles gently. When sitting or standing, try pointing and straightening your toes if you experience pain in the lower area of your leg. Bend over and touch your toes if you have pain in the upper area of your leg.

This can be done while sitting on the ground or standing. Start slowly and hold each stretch for five to ten seconds. If your discomfort worsens, stop stretching.

Prevention

To avoid leg pain caused by physical exercise, you should constantly stretch your muscles before and after exercising. To help avoid leg muscle and tendon injuries, eat foods high in potassium, such as bananas and chicken.

You can help avoid nerve damage in your legs by doing the following steps:

  • 30 minutes of exercise five days a week is recommended.
  • Keep your weight in check.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Keep an eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure levels and take efforts to keep them in check.
  • If you’re a woman, limit yourself to one drink per day; if you’re a man, limit yourself to two drinks per day.

Consult a doctor about possible options for preventing the source of your leg pain.

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