Leg pain can present itself in many different forms. Sharp pain, constant aching, tingling, or discomfort when walking can be distracting and uncomfortable. Leg pain can be a direct result of an injury such as a sprain or broken bone. However, there can be many underlying conditions that cause leg pain aside from injury. The following are nine conditions outside of injuries that attribute to leg pain.
Common Conditions That Cause Leg Pain
- Shin splints are commonly seen in runners, those with flat feet, or those with rigid arches. When the muscles surrounding the shin bone become inflamed they cause pain in the legs known as shin splints.
- Varicose veins develop when veins have to exert more work to return blood flow back to the heart. These blue, twisted looking veins can develop during pregnancy, from being overweight, or standing and sitting for extended periods of time. Legs can feel heavy, throbbing, and cramp if varicose veins are present.
- Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. Arthritis can reside in the knees, hips, and ankles, which can cause pain and discomfort even from everyday activities. There are many treatment options available to help reduce the inflammation and pain that comes with arthritis.
Conditions of the Spine That Cause Leg Pain
- Spinal Stenosis is a condition that causes the space between spinal vertebrae to narrow. As a result, this can put pressure on the surrounding nerves causing pain in various areas of the body. Tingling, numbness, weakness in the legs, and difficulty with balance can all be symptoms of this.
- Sciatica is one of the most common types of pain affecting up to 40% of people at some point in their lifetime. A pinched nerve in the lower portion of the spine can cause pain that ranges from a small cramp to shooting pain down the legs that makes sitting and standing difficult.
- Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) affects 8-12 million individuals in the United States every year. This disease is more prevalent in those over 50 years of age. PAD causes a lack of blood flow to the limbs, particularly the legs, as a result of narrowed arteries. The legs and feet may feel cold, have a change in color, feel numb, weak, or cramp while walking.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot typically found in a vein in the lower leg or thigh. DVT can cause redness, swelling, and pain in the leg. The leg or site of the blood clot may also be warm to the touch. If left untreated, DVT can also lead to a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lungs. It is estimated that up to 900,000 people in the United States experience DVT each year.
- Peripheral Neuropathy occurs as a result of nerve damage. This can be a common side effect of diabetes and can cause numbness, weakness, or pins and needles sensations in the legs and feet.
- Meralgia Paresthetica is a condition causing burning pain, tingling, and numbness in the outer thigh. The compression of the nerve that supplies sensation to the skin at the surface of the thigh causes Meralgia Paresthetica. Obesity, weight gain, and diabetes can cause Meralgia Paresthetica.