Our legs are one of the most used parts of the body. We utilize them regularly – walking to work or school, and (hopefully) exercising on a regular basis. This constant use often leads to painful conditions. As with any pain, the first step to treatment is determining the exact cause of pain. With that in mind, here are 5 of the most common causes of leg pain:
- Sciatica & Low Back Pain. Sciatica is an inflammation of the sciatic nerve. It can create pain that starts in the lower back and radiates down through the buttocks into one or both legs. Read more about symptoms and treatment of sciatica.
- Shin Splints. Often the result of overuse and excessive amounts of exercise, shin splints are marked by sharp pain in your lower leg (usually after running). Generally shin splints can be effectively treated with rest and icing the shins.
- Peripheral Artery Disease. This condition occurs when blood vessels in the leg narrow, decreasing the amount of blood supply to the leg. A person with this disease will most often feel an aching pain when walking or exercising.
- Blood Clot. A blood clot is similar to peripheral artery disease in that it restricts blood flow. However, a blood clot is more severe since it completely blocks off an artery or vein, thereby cutting off blood supply. Depending on the location of the blood clot, treatment can include medications or injections to thin the blood, or surgery (in the worst cases).
Leg pain is common in many adults. Depending on the cause of the pain, it may or may not be cause for concern. If your leg pain does not go away with conservative treatment methods, or becomes severe, it’s important to seek out a physician right away.
Thomas Cohn, MD
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