If you’ve ever felt a sharp pain, a constant ache, or discomfort in your legs, you aren’t alone. More than 1/3 of adults have dealt with leg pain in the past three months, according to the CDC.
Leg pain can be caused by a number of conditions, from injuries to infections to chronic health problems. Leg pain is usually a minor issue, but sometimes, it can be a sign of something more serious.
Read on to learn about the conditions associated with leg pain, what signs to look out for, and what treatment options are available.
When Does Leg Pain Signal a More Serious Condition?
The Mayo Clinic reports that most leg pain comes from everyday wear and tear or overuse. However, it can also indicate more serious conditions related to your joints, heart, or spine. Here are six health conditions that can cause leg pain:
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a common condition that causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Arthritis can cause pain in the legs, hips, knees, and ankles. 25% of all adults have arthritis.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): DVT is a blood clot that forms in the leg veins. The blood clots may partially or completely block blood flow through the vein, causing various degrees of pain. Even though DVT is not life-threatening, blood clots caused by DVT can break free and travel through the bloodstream.
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD): PAD Is a type of heart disease that happens when blood vessels that travel between the heart and legs get blocked. Between 8 and 12 million Americans have PAD.
- Sciatica: Sciatica is a condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the legs, is compressed or irritated. Sciatica can cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the legs. Herniated discs and bone spurs are the most common cause of sciatica.
- Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis happens when the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord, leading to leg and lower body pain. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, degenerative spine conditions (like spinal stenosis) occur in up to 95% of people by age 50.
- Degenerative disc disease: Degenerative disc disease happens when spinal discs break down over time and lose their cushioning ability. Degenerative disc disease can cause pain in the back and legs, as well as numbness and tingling.
What Are the Warning Signs of Serious Leg Pain?
If you are experiencing leg pain, you should look for signs and symptoms that may indicate a more serious condition. These include:
- Sudden, severe pain
- Swelling of the leg
- Redness or warmth
- Numbness or tingling
If you experience any of these symptoms alongside your leg pain, you should seek medical attention right away. In addition, if your leg pain is persistent and impedes your ability to perform day-to-day activities, you should speak with a healthcare provider.
Trusted experts like Center for Pain Management can help you find the answers you need to get treatment.
How Can Leg Pain Be Treated?
Depending on your condition, you have several treatment options.
Autoimmune diseases, like arthritis, may be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physical therapy.
Heart conditions, like DVT and PAD, may be treated by taking medications to prevent blood clots and making lifestyle changes.
Spinal conditions — like sciatica, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease — can be treated with pain relievers, physical therapy, and in more serious cases, surgery.
Find Relief from Your Leg Pain
If you are concerned about your leg pain, please contact our team. We can help you identify the cause of your pain, find personalized solutions, and help you experience long-lasting relief. Fill out the form below to get started.