Femur, tibia and fibula are the main bones in legs and sometimes, a problem with any one of them can cause excruciating pain in your legs. Foot is the most dependable part of your body, on which you can rest your body easily. There are more chances of leg injuries than any other body injuries, because legs keep you in moving condition. Weak legs can affect your daily activities very badly. Leg pain is experienced not only by old people but also by young people, perhaps as a result of a fast-paced life.
Common Causes of Aching Legs
- Peripheral Arterial Disease: Peripheral arterial disease in legs is mostly found in older people, as a result of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries because of fatty deposits inside the arteries). It becomes increasingly common as people age. This disease leads to gradual blockage of arteries. If there is no improvement in the blood flow, the damaged tissues may die as they would be deprived of blood and thus of oxygen and nutrients.
- Physical Stress: Standing or walking for long hours leads to excessive strain in leg muscles and nerves. Pregnant women often face the problem of leg pain due to increased weight and stress.
- Varicose Veins: Varicose veins carry the deoxygenated blood from various parts of the body to the heart. When there is any problem in the valves of these veins, the impure blood starts flowing in the wrong direction, leading to swelling of veins. Women are more likely to suffer from this disorder.
- Tendinitis: Tendons are the connective tissues which join muscles to the bones. Inflammation of the tendons near joints like heel or knee, due to rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes can lead to pain in the joints and muscles. Arthritis or gout can lead to inflammation of any joint in the leg and can be the cause of severe pain.
- Improper Habits: Smoking, alcohol abuse, drug addiction, etc. can affect the health of the blood vessels. Excessive intake of toxins leads to nerve damage and dysfunction of body systems.
- Imbalanced Diet: Lack of balanced and healthy diet is one of the important causes of weakness and pain. You should supply all nutrients to your body (in correct proportions), if you wish to have a strong body. Scarcity of potassium, iron, sodium, calcium, or magnesium can make your legs weak.
- Menstrual Cycle: 'Hormonal imbalance' is one of the main causes of weakness. During menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth, women always complain about leg pain.
- Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid can be the cause of the pain. In fact, dysfunction of any gland or system in your body can lead to achy legs, as legs support your body throughout the day and are most strained in any kind of activity.
- Sciatica: The inflammation of sciatic nerve which gives rise to a condition called sciatica, is a common cause of severe pain in legs. There can be tingling sensation or numbness produced by the irritation of the nerve roots.
- Lack of Exercise: As the machines need oiling and servicing, your body also needs certain exercise programs to keep it well, fit and active. Lack of proper and regular exercise leads to weakening of muscles in legs.
- Restless Leg Syndrome: A person who always keeps his legs in motion may have restless leg syndrome. Many children or young adults suffer from this disorder.
- Dehydration: Water is essential for body metabolism. Insufficient intake of water can significantly affect your health.
- Previous Injuries: Bone fracture or any type of leg injury can cause severe pain. Even after total recovery from a fracture, pain can be experienced at the particular location.
- Shoes: A badly fitted shoe or high-heeled footwear can constantly cause pain. Do not use the shoes of latest fashion, if you are not comfortable with them.
- Diseases: Various diseases result in weakness and muscle fatigue. Uncontrolled diabetes often damages nerves in legs. Circulatory disorders also are responsible for painful legs. Aching legs can be a symptom of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). People with chronic diseases like arthritis and cancer may often experience pain and tenderness in the joints and muscles of legs.
- Exercise: Any kind of exercise, for example, jogging or swimming, after a period of inactivity can lead to pain in the joints and muscles that are strained. You may experience pain during the day and also at night.
- Anemia: Iron deficiency anemia is one of the common causes of such pain.
- Leg Cramps: After severe leg cramps, pain is experienced for one or two days.
- Tumor: A growing tumor in the leg or even blood-clots in legs can cause severe pain.
- Wrong Posture: Wrong posture while standing, sitting or working is one of the main achy legs causes.
- Medications: Intake of certain drugs like allopurinol and corticosteroids may result in pain in legs.
You should take proper care of legs, as legs provide the necessary support to your body. You should follow a healthy diet and keep your body well hydrated. Providing sufficient rest to legs is also equally important. Using insoles, cane or walker (if necessary), keeping the legs in an elevated position, applying ice, taking pain-killers, etc., can help lower the pain. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle (even if you often travel long distances), get up and take a leisurely walk every couple of hours. This helps lower the risk of deep vein thrombosis or general pain. You should not sit in a position without any leg movement, for a long period.
Stretching exercises, when performed regularly, help strengthen your legs. Simple measures like maintaining proper posture, wearing proper shoes, wearing warm leggings during winter, massaging with oils, following a healthy diet, and taking prescribed medicines for the existing diseases can help improve the condition.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.