Leg Pain

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Pain in the legs can occur as a result of conditions that affect bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves, and skin. Typically, the pain is a result of tissue inflammation that is caused by injury or disease. Either injury or chronic disease can cause inflammation to any of the tissues of the leg and lead to leg pain. Since the leg contains a number of different structures and tissue types, a wide variety of conditions and injuries can cause leg pain. Depending on the cause of the pain, other symptoms, like weakness, numbness, or a tingling sensation, may accompany leg pain. For diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, it is important to differentiate the exact type and location of any pain in the legs.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/10/2014

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

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Causes of Leg Pain
    • Ankle Pain Ankle pain is commonly due to a sprain or tendinitis. The severity of ankle sprains ranges from mild (which can resolve within...learn more »
      In This Article
      Ankle Pain Article
      • Ankle pain and ankle tendinitis facts
      • How is the ankle designed, and what is the ankle's function?
      • What causes ankle pain and ankle tendinitis?
      • What injuries can cause ankle pain, and how are they treated?
      • What diseases and conditions can cause ankle pain, and how are they treated?
      • What are associated symptoms and signs of ankle pain and ankle tendinitis?
      • How are ankle pain and ankle tendinitis diagnosed?
      • What is the prognosis for ankle pain and ankle tendinitis?
      • Is it possible to prevent ankle pain and ankle tendinitis?
    • Arthritis Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness...learn more »
      In This Article
      Arthritis Article
      • Arthritis facts
      • What is arthritis? What causes arthritis?
      • What are risk factors for arthritis?
      • What are arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • Who is affected by arthritis?
      • How is arthritis diagnosed, and why is a diagnosis important?
      • What is the treatment for arthritis?
      • Is there a special diet for arthritis?
      • What are the prognosis (outlook) for arthritis, and what are arthritis complications?
      • Can arthritis be prevented?
      • What is a rheumatologist?
      • What is the Arthritis Foundation?
    • Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures such as compressed, open, stress, greenstick, spiral,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) Article
      • What is a broken bone (fracture)?
      • What causes a broken bone?
      • What are the most common types of broken bones?
      • Compression fracture
      • Skull fracture
      • Stress fracture
      • What are the most common bones that are broken?
      • Broken hand or fingers
      • Broken wrist
      • Broken hip
      • Broken leg
      • Broken toe
      • Broken shoulder
      • What are the signs and symptoms of a broken bone?
      • When should I call a doctor if I think I have broken a bone?
      • How is a broken bone diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a broken bone?
      • What about surgery for a broken bone?
      • How can fractures be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for a broken bone?
    • Burns (First Aid) Burns are categorized by severity as first, second, or third degree. First degree burns are similar to a painful sunburn. The...learn more »
      In This Article
      Burns (First Aid) Article
      • Introduction to burns
      • How are burns classified?
      • What is the significance of the amount of body area burned?
      • How important is the location of a burn?
      • What about electrical burns?
      • What about chemical burns?
      • First aid for burns
    • Bursitis Bursae (one is a bursa) are fluid-filled sacs that cushion areas of friction between tendon and bone or skin. Like air-filled...learn more »
      In This Article
      Bursitis Article
      • Bursitis Overview
      • Bursitis Causes
      • Bursitis Symptoms and Signs
      • When to Seek Medical Care
      • Bursitis Diagnosis
      • Bursitis Treatment
      • Bursitis Home Remedies
      • Medical Treatment
      • Follow-up
      • Bursitis Prevention
      • Bursitis Prognosis
      • Bursitis Pictures
    • Cellulitis Cellulitis is an acute spreading bacterial infection below the surface of the skin characterized by redness, warmth,...learn more »
    • Chondromalacia Patella (Patellofemoral Syndrome) Chondromalacia patella (housemaid's knee or secretary's knee) results from misalignment of the kneecap as it slides over the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Chondromalacia Patella (Patellofemoral Syndrome) Article
      • Chondromalacia patella facts
      • What is chondromalacia patella?
      • What causes chondromalacia patella?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of chondromalacia patella?
      • How is chondromalacia patella diagnosed?
      • How is chondromalacia patella treated?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) with chondromalacia patella?
      • Can chondromalacia patella be prevented?
    • Cuts, Scrapes and Puncture Wounds Cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds are common, and most people will experience one of these in their lifetime. Evaluating the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Cuts, Scrapes and Puncture Wounds Article
      • Cuts, scrapes (abrasions), and puncture wounds facts
      • What is the best first aid for a cut or scrape?
      • Who should seek medical care for a cut?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of a wound infection?
      • How are puncture wounds different?
      • Will I need a tetanus shot for a cut, scrape, or puncture wound?
    • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a vein located deep in the muscles of the legs, thighs, pelvis (lower torso), or...learn more »
      In This Article
      Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Article
      • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) facts
      • Introduction to deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
      • What are the causes of deep vein thrombosis?
      • What are the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis?
      • When should I seek medical care for deep vein thrombosis?
      • How is deep vein thrombosis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for deep vein thrombosis?
      • What are the complications of deep vein thrombosis?
      • Can deep vein thrombosis be prevented?
    • Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are...learn more »
      In This Article
      Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Article
      • Diabetes facts
      • What is diabetes?
      • What is the impact of diabetes?
      • What causes diabetes?
      • What are the different types of diabetes?
      • Type 1 diabetes
      • Type 2 diabetes
      • Other types of diabetes
      • What are diabetes symptoms?
      • How is diabetes diagnosed?
      • Why is blood sugar checked at home?
      • What are the acute complications of diabetes?
      • What are the chronic complications of diabetes?
      • What can be done to slow diabetes complications?
    • Diabetic Neuropathy Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that causes damage to the nerves; this is related to the blood glucose of the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Diabetic Neuropathy Article
      • Diabetic neuropathy facts
      • What is diabetic neuropathy?
      • What are the types of diabetic neuropathy?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of diabetic neuropathy?
      • How is diabetic neuropathy diagnosed?
      • What are treatments for diabetic neuropathy?
      • What are self-care measures to help relieve diabetic neuropathy?
      • Can diabetic neuropathy be prevented?
    • Fatigue Fatigue can be described in various ways. Sometimes fatigue is described as feeling a lack of energy and motivation (both mental...learn more »
      In This Article
      Fatigue Article
      • Fatigue Facts
      • Fatigue introduction
      • What causes fatigue?
      • What are the signs and symptoms of fatigue?
      • How is the cause of fatigue diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for fatigue?
      • Can fatigue be prevented?
    • Fitness Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety....learn more »
      In This Article
      Fitness Article
      • The importance of physical activity and fitness
      • Why should I be active?
      • Can everyone benefit from physical activity?
      • What are the recommendations for increasing fitness for youth, adults, and seniors?
      • How do I get started with a fitness plan?
      • When is a medical evaluation necessary?
      • How can I make physical activity a part of my life?
      • What are the components of physical fitness?
      • Fitness terms
    • Gout (Gouty Arthritis) Buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Gout (Gouty Arthritis) Article
      • Gout facts
      • What is gout?
      • What causes gout?
      • What are risk factors for gout?
      • What are symptoms and signs of gout?
      • How is gout diagnosed?
      • When should gout be treated?
      • What is the treatment for gout?
      • Do gout medications have any side effects?
      • What foods should people with gout avoid?
      • What complications are associated with gout?
      • What is the prognosis of gout?
      • Is it possible to prevent gout?
      • What research is being done on gout?
    • Herniated Disc A herniated disc may be caused by injury or degeneration from age. Symptoms depend on the location of the herniation and whether...learn more »
      In This Article
      Herniated Disc Article
      • Herniated disc facts
      • How are the spine and its discs designed?
      • What is a herniated disc? What causes it?
      • What are symptoms of a herniated disc?
      • How is a herniated disc diagnosed?
      • How is a herniated disc treated?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for a herniated disc?
      • Can a herniated disc be prevented?
    • Iliotibial Band Syndrome Iliotibial band syndrome is an overuse injury of the thigh and knee. Symptoms include knee pain and possible swelling. Treatment...learn more »
      In This Article
      Iliotibial Band Syndrome Article
      • Iliotibial band syndrome facts
      • What is iliotibial band syndrome?
      • What causes iliotibial band syndrome?
      • What are iliotibial band syndrome symptoms and signs?
      • How is iliotibial band syndrome diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for iliotibial band syndrome?
      • What stretches and exercises are beneficial for iliotibial band syndrome?
      • What exercises should be avoided with iliotibial band syndrome?
      • What is the prognosis for iliotibial band syndrome? Can iliotibial band syndrome be prevented?
      • Where can people find more information about iliotibial band syndrome?
    • Lupus Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease....learn more »
      In This Article
      Lupus Article
      • Systemic lupus erythematosus facts
      • What is systemic lupus erythematosus? What are the types of lupus?
      • What causes systemic lupus erythematosus? Is lupus hereditary?
      • What is drug-induced lupus?
      • What are lupus symptoms and signs?
      • How is systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for systemic lupus?
      • How can a lupus patient help prevent disease activity (flares)?
      • How can systemic lupus erythematosus affect pregnancy or the newborn?
      • What is the prognosis of lupus? What does the future hold for people with systemic lupus?
      • Where can one get more information about systemic lupus erythematosus?
    • Muscle Cramps Muscle cramps are involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscles that do not relax. Extremely common, any muscles that have...learn more »
    • Muscle Spasms Muscle spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that come on suddenly and are usually quite painful. Dehydration, doing...learn more »
    • Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also...learn more »
      In This Article
      Osteoarthritis Article
      • Osteoarthritis facts
      • What is osteoarthritis?
      • What causes osteoarthritis?
      • What are osteoarthritis symptoms and signs?
      • How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for osteoarthritis?
      • "If I have minimal or no symptoms with early signs of osteoarthritis, what should I do?"
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with osteoarthritis?
      • Can osteoarthritis be prevented?
      • What does the future hold for osteoarthritis?
      • Where can people get more information about osteoarthritis?
    • Osteomyelitis Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. Potential causes include injections around the bone, fractures that puncture the skin,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Osteomyelitis Article
      • Osteomyelitis facts
      • What is osteomyelitis?
      • What causes osteomyelitis?
      • What are osteomyelitis symptoms and signs?
      • How is osteomyelitis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for osteomyelitis?
      • What is the prognosis for osteomyelitis?
    • Peripheral Vascular Disease Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) refers to diseases of the blood vessels (arteries and veins) located outside the heart and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Peripheral Vascular Disease Article
      • Peripheral vascular disease facts
      • What is peripheral vascular disease?
      • What is atherosclerosis?
      • How does atherosclerosis cause disease?
      • What are potential complications of peripheral artery disease?
      • What are the other causes of peripheral vascular diseases?
      • Who is at risk for peripheral artery disease?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of peripheral artery disease?
      • How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?
      • What are the treatments for peripheral artery disease?
      • Lifestyle changes
      • Supervised exercise
      • Medications
      • Angioplasty
      • Surgery
    • Pseudogout Pseudogout, a form of arthritis, results when deposits of crystals collect in and around the joints. Symptoms of pseudogout...learn more »
      In This Article
      Pseudogout Article
      • Pseudogout facts
      • What is pseudogout?
      • What are causes of pseudogout?
      • What are risk factors for pseudogout?
      • What are pseudogout symptoms and signs?
      • How does a doctor diagnose pseudogout?
      • What are treatments for pseudogout?
      • What other conditions can accompany pseudogout?
      • Are there special circumstances that can promote attacks of pseudogout?
      • What are complications of pseudogout?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) of pseudogout?
      • Can pseudogout be prevented?
    • Psoriasis Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales....learn more »
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as...learn more »
      In This Article
      Rheumatoid Arthritis Article
      • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) facts
      • What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
      • What are causes and risk factors of rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What are rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and signs?
      • What are complications of rheumatoid disease?
      • How do physicians diagnose rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What is the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?
      • "First-line" rheumatoid arthritis medications
      • "Second-line" or "slow-acting" rheumatoid arthritis drugs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or DMARDs)
      • What are newer treatments for rheumatoid arthritis?
      • Rheumatoid arthritis diet and other treatments
      • What about rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
      • Is it possible to prevent rheumatoid arthritis?
      • What research is being done on rheumatoid arthritis?
      • Where can people get additional information on rheumatoid arthritis?
    • Sciatica Sciatica pain, caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve, typically radiates from the low back to behind the thigh to below the...learn more »
    • Shin Splints Shin splints result from inflammation from injury to the tendon and adjacent tissues in the front of the outer leg. Shin splints...learn more »
      In This Article
      Shin Splints Article
      • Shin splints facts
      • What are shin splints?
      • What are risk factors for shin splints?
      • What are shin splints symptoms?
      • What causes shin splints?
      • How are shin splints diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for shin splints?
      • What is the multifaceted relative rest approach?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for shin splints?
      • Can shin splints be prevented?
    • Sprains and Strains An injury to a ligament is called a sprain, and an injury to muscle or tendon is called a strain. Sprains and strains may be...learn more »
      In This Article
      Sprains and Strains Article
      • Muscle sprains and strains facts
      • What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?
      • What causes a sprain or strain?
      • Where do sprains and strains usually occur?
      • What are sprain symptoms and signs?
      • How are sprains and strains diagnosed?
      • How are sprains and strains treated?
      • What is the recovery time for sprains and strains?
      • Can sprains and strains be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis of sprains and strains?
      • Where can people find more information about sprains and strains?
    • Varicose Veins Varicose vein: A dilated (widened) tortuous (twisting) vein, usually involving a superficial vein in the leg, often associated...learn more »
      In This Article
      Varicose Veins Article
      • Varicose veins and spider veins facts
      • What are veins and what is their function?
      • What are varicose veins and spider veins?
      • Varicose vein and spider vein pictures
      • Who gets varicose and spider veins?
      • What causes varicose and spider veins?
      • What are varicose vein symptoms?
      • How are varicose veins evaluated (diagnosed)?
      • What treatments are available for varicose veins and spider veins?
      • How can compression stockings help with varicose veins?
      • What is sclerotherapy?
      • Pictures of sclerotherapy treatment
      • What are potential side effects and complications of sclerotherapy?
      • What surgical procedures are available to treat varicose veins?
      • Can laser be used to treat varicose and spider veins?
      • What type of doctors provide treatments for varicose and spider veins?
      • What are the side effects of these treatments?
      • How can varicose veins be prevented?
Other Causes of Leg Pain
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Electrolyte Imbalances
  • Fungal Infections
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease
  • Medications
  • Nerve Damage From Any Source
  • Rupture of Ligaments or Tendons
  • Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
  • Synovitis
  • Tears in Cartilage
  • Trauma
  • Tumors
  • Ulcerations of the Skin
  • Viral Infections
Examples of Medications for Leg Pain


Symptoms & Signs A-Z List