Causes of Leg Pain
Getting the right treatment for disease or discomfort often requires an accurate diagnosis. In the case of leg pain, there are a number of possible causes for pain, numbness, tingling and/or burning sensations in the upper and lower legs.
Acute Leg Pain
Leg pain can be intense but short-lived. Such acute leg pain may result from:
- Muscle cramps, often caused by dehydration
- Shin splints
- Broken bones
- Inflamed/strained muscle or tendon
- Inflamed/sprained ligament
Acute leg pain is commonly treated with the RICE method: rest, ice, compression and elevation. In some cases, movement of bones and/or tendons and ligaments may be restricted by a cast or brace.
Severe shooting leg pain with sudden onset may indicate a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot. Blood clots typically form after periods of inactivity but may also be the side effect of some medications. If you suspect you have a blood clot, you should seek immediate treatment.
Chronic Leg Pain
Leg pain that persists for at least three months is considered chronic. Causes for chronic leg pain include:
- Varicose veins
- Lower extremity peripheral arterial disease
- Spinal stenoisis
- Diabetic neuropathy
Arthritis may also cause chronic pain in the joints.
Leg Pain Treatment
Many cases of acute leg pain result from impact-induced injury. Pain may naturally subside with rest, but impact reduction can also promote natural healing as well as prevent future injury.
Treatment for chronic leg pain often involves treating an underlying condition and/or treating the back where nerves to the legs branch out from the spinal cord. Impact reduction is beneficial to leg pain treatments that involve reducing pressure on spinal nerves as well.
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