Have you been experiencing unexpected leg pain recently? Leg pain can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what the underlying cause of you discomfort could be. Here are some common conditions that can cause leg pain, as well as some things you can do about it.
Muscle cramps are those sudden jolts of pain that I call “charley horses.” They can affect any part of the leg, but tend to occur more often in the lower part. If you’ve ever been woken from a deep sleep by a muscle cramp, you know how awful they can be. When the pain strikes, it usually happens very quickly and often gets worse before it gets better. The pain can be debilitating.
Muscle cramps often occur when your muscles are dehydrated or very tired. If you’re prone to leg cramps, make sure you’re getting enough water every day. You may also want to use a foam roller after working out to help relax your muscles.
Pain in your lower calf (near your heel) may be an indication of tendinitis. This injury is fairly common in active people or older people and can cause the Achilles tendon to swell or tear. This type of injury often occurs after overworking the calf muscle or after taking a lot of stairs because you’re trying to prove to your grandkids that you’re tougher than you look.
Unfortunately, tendinitis can be slow to heal, so it’s important not to get impatient and injure yourself again. Apply ice to the area to relieve swelling and talk to your doctor if your pain is severe and you think you may have a tear. You may be able to relieve the pain with medication, or you may need surgery to repair the torn tendon.
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Varicose veins are very common, and they usually don’t cause much discomfort. I have them all over and they don’t always bother me. However, in some cases, varicose veins can cause a dull ache in the legs, especially after physical activity or after standing for long periods of time.
I have found that support stockings help relieve my pain. I also try to alternate frequently between sitting and standing. Wiggling your feet and legs regularly may also help prevent some of the discomfort varicose veins can cause. If your veins are very painful, make an appointment with your doctor. He can recommend treatments that will help.
Sciatica and Narrowed Spinal Canal
If you have sciatica, a herniated disc or a narrowed spinal canal, you could experience pain all the way down in your legs. Here are some of the common symptoms of these back conditions:
Cramps or leg pain while standing or sitting
Pain in the leg, hip, and lower back
Resting may help relieve some of the pain, but this is a problem for which you’ll likely need professional care. Physical therapy may help relieve the symptoms, as well as other treatments recommended by your doctor. He or she can also prescribe medication to help you deal with the pain from sciatica or narrowed spinal canal.
Sometimes as you get more “mature,” your blood can become thicker and get clumped up in your veins. When this happens, it forms a clot. A clot that forms in a deep vein is called a deep vein thrombosis, and it’s more likely to occur when you are inactive for long periods of time, if you smoke, or if you’re overweight. If you think you have a blood clot, visit your doctor or the emergency room immediately.
These are just a few of the more common causes of leg pain. Hopefully you’ve learned some things about what could be causing your pain and how you can treat it.