When Should I Be Concerned About Leg Pain?

Medically Reviewed on 9/24/2020
Leg pain can affect the foot, ankle, knee, thigh, or in any part of the leg.
Leg pain can affect the foot, ankle, knee, thigh, or in any part of the leg.

You should be concerned about your leg pain and schedule a physician’s appointment if you observe these accompanying symptoms:

Seek immediate medical attention if you observe these symptoms:

  • Fever and other signs of infection
  • Bluish or blackish colored leg
  • Cold and pale legs
  • Swelling of legs with breathing difficulties
  • Unable to put more weight on the leg
  • Leg injury with popping and grinding noise
  • Swollen, red painful legs

What are some of the most common causes of leg pain?

Leg pain may occur as a result of conditions that affect bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves, or skin of the leg. Leg pain can affect the foot, ankle, knee, thigh, or in any part of the leg.

Some common causes of leg pain include:

  • Peripheral artery disease: Inadequate blood supply to the leg is the main reason for peripheral artery disease.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): A blood clot in the vein of the thighs or legs leads to deep vein thrombosis. It may be manifested by redness, pain, swelling, and warmth in the leg.
  • Peripheral neuropathy: It is a condition where the nerves that transmit the message to and fro from the brain are damaged.
  • Electrolyte imbalance: Excessive loss of electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium, may cause cramps, weakness, or numbness in the leg.
  • Spinal stenosis: The spaces within the bone in the spinal cord get narrow, putting pressure on the nerves of that area leading to a tingling sensation, numbness, or weakness in the leg.
  • Sciatica: The nerves in the lower spine get pinched, which causes leg pain and can range from a bad cramp to a strong shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand or sit.
  • Arthritis: The most common condition affecting the joints leading to pain, stiffness, and swelling.
  • Pulled muscle: Intense leg pain occurs when the muscle gets stretched extensively.
  • Sprain: Stretching or tearing of the ligament can cause a sprain causing swelling and pain.
  • Muscle cramp: Tightening of the muscle in the calf leads to muscle cramps, which is manifested by sharp pain and the feeling of a hard lump of muscle under the skin.
  • Stress fracture: Overuse of muscles around the shinbone can cause a stress fracture that may not go away with splints.
  • Tendinitis: It is the inflammation of the tendon that attaches the muscle to the bone causing severe pain and swelling.
  • Varicose veins: In this condition, the veins need to work extra hard to get blood back to the heart making them look bulgy and twisted.

Some other causes of leg pain include medications (diuretics and statins) and bone tumors.

How to prevent leg pain?

Stretching the muscles before and after the exercise is important to prevent the pain that may result from physical activity.

Some general tips to prevent leg pain caused due to nerve damage include:


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Medically Reviewed on 9/24/2020