Leg Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Leg Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The problem of leg pain can arise from many different causes and it also exhibits number of symptoms. Identifying the different conditions underlying leg pain at first and then treating them effectively should help in dealing with pain in leg quite effectively.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Leg pain is a common problem in old age. However, owing to the stressful and fast paced life that we have to live today, even youngsters suffer from pain in leg. Lack of daily exercise indirectly leads to the development of many symptoms of leg pain. Sportsmen suffer from this conditions that are mostly traumatic in origin. Trauma is any kind of physical damage inflicted on the body. Traumatic pain includes bleeding, fractures and sprains. The other type is non-traumatic and caused by numerous, underlying conditions like blood clot, joint pain, neuropathy, peripheral artery disease, etc. Leg pain is the pain experienced by our body, anywhere between pelvis to the tip of toes. It is however, important to note that this pain doesn't necessarily originate exactly in the aforementioned area of the body. Our legs are made up of many different components including muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, etc. Complications arising in the proper functioning of these components leads to development of a variety of medical conditions responsible for leg ache.

Causes
Traumatic leg pain mostly results from injuries caused due to fractures, sprains and bleeding. In case of fractures, bones get cracked and pain originates from their nerve endings. When a person suffers from sprains, the ligaments either stretch or they get completely torn. This may lead to inflammation or swelling. Bleeding causes the swelling of tissues, which results from increase in the internal pressure. Atherosclerosis is one of the important causes of pain in legs. In this condition, accumulation of cholesterol in arteries increases their thickness and thereby causes leg pain. People who smoke on a regular basis, the alcoholics and diabetics are likely to suffer from nerve damage. Such kind of damage caused to nerves is also responsible for pain.

Peripheral artery disease is one of the causes of non-traumatic leg pain. In this disease, narrowing of the blood vessels takes place. The main cause behind blood vessels becoming narrow is the decrease in blood supply from arteries towards legs. Clots present in blood obstructs its flow to the legs and which ultimately results into pain. Sciatica, a condition of inflammation of sciatic nerve is one of the many leg pain causes. Peripheral neuropathy causes leg pain and it results into inflammation of peripheral nerves. Apart from the above discussed causes, different illnesses such as diabetes, vitamin deficiencies and alcoholism too are responsible for pain in legs. Arthritis and arthralgia cause pain in joints. The joints exhibit swelling in case of people suffering from arthritis.

Symptoms
A person suffering from leg pain may experience it in the form of aching or burning. The degree of pain varies, from dull to sharp. Sometimes, pain is felt only if a particular body part is being touched. Muscle pain may sometimes originate from one part of the body and transmit to other parts. This creates confusion in diagnosing the root cause.

Diagnostic Tests
Different diagnostic tests are used to identify the various causes of leg pain. These tests are conducted by means of different types of equipment. The flow of blood is checked by means of an arteriogram. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology is used to find malignant tumors present in the body. Such a diagnosis would reveal whether these tumors have any role to play in leg ache. If the presence of malignant tumors is confirmed with the help of MRI scan, bone biopsy is carried out to obtain sample of bone containing the tumor. Another test called the 'Duplex ultrasound' is used to check whether any clots are present in blood. Both 'ultrasound' and 'Doppler ultrasonography' technologies are together used for conducting this test.

Treatment
Even though remedies are available for this problem, one should better try to prevent leg pain. Regular exercise and enough rest can resolve many of the leg pain causes. One can make use of home remedies enlisted below..
  • Lobelia paste when applied to legs, provides relief from most of the leg pain symptoms.
  • Vinegar is also used to stop pain in the legs.
  • For quick relief from pain, the leg is massaged with coconut or mustard oil.
  • Stretching the leg followed by a massage with warm oil is helpful in providing relief from different problems such as joint pain, hip pain, knee pain, etc.
  • Rubbing with ice relaxes leg muscles and creates a soothing effect.
  • Methi (fenugreek) leaves are also used in the treatment. Leaves of methi are dried for 4-5 days (under the sun). The mixture of water and dried methi leaves is consumed early in the morning. It is one of the commonly used treatment for leg.
People suffering from leg pain should avoid smoking, alcohol intake and consumption of sugar in excess. It is a preventive measure which may help avoid the occurrence of pain. Exercises play an important role in the prevention of many diseases. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance helps in preventing problems such as leg pain and also in leading a healthy life altogether.