Leg pain

    Leg pain

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    Definition of leg pain

    Leg pain can be constant or intermittent, develop suddenly or gradually, and affect your entire leg or a localized area, such as your shin or your knee. It can also take a number of forms — stabbing, sharp, dull, aching or tingling. Some leg pain is simply annoying, but more-severe leg pain can affect your ability to walk or to put weight on your leg.

    Causes of leg pain

    Most leg pain results from wear and tear, overuse, or injuries in joints or bones or in muscles, ligaments, tendons or other soft tissues. Some types of leg pain can be traced to problems in your lower spine. Leg pain can also be caused by blood clots, varicose veins or poor circulation. Some common causes of leg pain include:

    1. Achilles tendinitis
    2. Achilles tendon rupture
    3. ACL injury
    4. Baker’s cyst
    5. Bone cancer
    6. Broken leg
    7. Bursitis
    8. Chondromalacia patella
    9. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
    10. Claudication
    11. Deep vein thrombosis
    12. Fibromyalgia
    13. Gout
    14. Growing pains
    15. Growth plate fractures
    16. Hamstring injury
    17. Herniated disk
    18. Infection
    19. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
    20. Knee bursitis
    21. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
    22. Torn meniscus
    23. Muscle cramp: How to provide relief
    24. Night leg cramps
    25. Osgood-Schlatter disease
    26. Osteoarthritis
    27. Osteochondritis dissecans
    28. Osteomyelitis
    29. Paget’s disease of bone
    30. Patellar tendinitis
    31. Peripheral neuropathy
    32. Posterior cruciate ligament injury
    33. Posterior tibial tendon rupture
    34. Pseudogout
    35. Rheumatoid arthritis
    36. Sciatica
    37. Shin splints
    38. Spinal stenosis
    39. Sprains and strains
    40. Stress fractures
    41. Tendinitis
    42. Thrombophlebitis
    43. Varicose veins

    When to see a doctor

    Call for immediate medical help or go to the emergency room if you:

    • Have a leg injury with a deep cut or exposed bone or tendon
    • Are unable to walk or put weight on your leg
    • Have pain, swelling, redness or warmth in your calf
    • Hear a popping or grinding sound at the time of a leg injury

    See your doctor as soon as possible if you have:

    • Signs of infection, such as redness, warmth or tenderness, or you have a fever greater than100 F (37.8 C)
    • A leg that is swollen, pale or unusually cool
    • Calf pain, particularly after prolonged sitting (such as a long car trip or plane ride)
    • Swelling in both legs along with breathing problems
    • Any serious leg symptoms that develop for no apparent reason

    Schedule an office visit if:

    • You have pain during or after walking
    • You have swelling in both legs
    • Your pain gets worse
    • Your symptoms don’t improve after a few days of home treatment
    • You have painful varicose veins

    Self-care
    Minor leg pain often responds well to home treatments. To relieve mild pain and swelling:

    • Stay off your leg as much as possible
    • Apply an ice pack or bag of frozen peas to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day
    • Elevate your leg whenever you sit or lie down
    • Try over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve)
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