Leg pain is a common problem. Pain in the leg can cause cramps, overuse or injury but if the pain is severe or persistent can indicate a serious condition or problem. See your doctor because serious medical problems may be a cause of pain.
Types of leg pain:
According to a doctor, three types of leg pain:
- Neurological pain
- Vascular pain
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Neurological pain: In neurological pain, you suffer from a burning sensation and sharp pain. Sometimes the leg pain often originates from the spine. Neurologic pain is caused if the nerves that transfer information between the brain and spinal cord from the muscles, skin or other parts of the body are injured or damaged.
- Vascular pain: Causes of vascular pain include:
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)– Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a vascular disorder that affects blood flow, commonly in the legs.
- Varicose veins
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Varicose eczema, (discolouration of the skin accompanies the pain caused by increased pressure in the leg veins)
- Musculoskeletal pain: It involves pain that develops in any of the tendons and muscles in the lower extremities. Examples are arthritis,a cracking or a crunching sound in the knee, a condition that affects joints in the body.
Causes of leg pain:
Common causes of leg pain:
- Leg Cramps or Charley horses
- Medical conditions
- Other causes
Leg cramps or Charley horses: A cramp is due to physical labour or long exercise, dehydration (or low amount of calcium, sodium, potassium or magnesium in the blood), muscle fatigue and pregnancy. Cramps can be very painful but it is harmless.
Injuries: If leg pain is frequent, it may be a sign of injury, such as the following:
- Hairline crack in the bone ( Stress fracture)
- Fractures: Which are easily visible, swelling, redness and deformation.
- Overstretched or torn muscle
- Shin splints
- Infection in the bone or leg
- Tendonitis (inflamed tendon)
Overuse: Leg pain can cause overuse of legs like heavy physical activity, prolonged standing or walking, sprains and strains or lack of activity. It is most common, especially for those who are involved in sports.
- Arthritis or gout
- Varicose veins
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT),(blood clot)
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Heart, liver or kidney disease (swelling in legs)
- Diabetes (burning, pain, numbness and tingling in legs)
- Atherosclerosis (Calf pain during activity)
- Infection in the bone or tissue (swelling, redness and pain in the affected area)
- A slipped (herniated) disk
- Osgood Schlatter disease
- Infection in the bone or skin and soft tissue
Less common causes of leg pain include:
- Cancerous, malignant or bone tumours (osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma)
- Noncancerous (benign) tumours or cyst can also develop in the shinbone or thighbone
- Sciatic nerve pain (pain radiating which runs down one or both legs)
- Slipped capital femoral epiphysis
- Legg – Calve Perthes disease
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At Home: You can treat leg pain at home without medical intervention if leg pain is due to a cramp or minor injury. You can try the following treatments:
- Rest your leg as much as possible.
- Stretching and massaging the muscles may help
- Drinking 8 to 12 glasses of water a day (for avoiding dehydration)
- Take pain relief medication
- Apply ice to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes, three times a day
- Take a warm bath and stretch
When to see a doctor?
It’s good to see a doctor if you don’t feel good after a few days of home treatment and you experiencing:
- If you have swelling and pain while walking on both legs
- If there is a sign of infection (such as redness, fever or warmth)
- If leg pain continues or serious pain develops suddenly
You should go to the doctor immediately if any of the following applies to your pain:
- If you have a fever
- If you have not able to walk or stand
- Difficulty in breathing
- If you have a deep cut on your leg or exposed tissue
- If it develops pain, redness or swelling
- If your leg is pale and feels cool to the touch
Doctor advise, avoiding cardiovascular risk factor:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quitting or avoiding smoking
- Exercising (30 minutes per day)
- Controlling blood pressure
- Control your alcohol consumption
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