Home > Blog > What Causes Legs To Ache All The Time?
Pain in the upper leg and lower leg are common problems. You may experience a sharp, stabbing sensation or simply a dull ache which affects your ability to move and function normally. At times the causes of pain extend far beyond just the body part, or the muscle hurting. Knowing what causes the pain and if there are any underlying medical conditions behind it can help you better understand what makes your legs ache all the time. Physical therapists are experts not only in treating leg pain, but also detect its source. Regardless of the cause, a physical therapy program can relieve your leg pain. Contact Physical Therapists NYC today to schedule an appointment with awarding winning therapists who are looking forward to helping you. The expert therapists evaluate your condition and create an individualized program to meet your specific needs.
Leg pain is a common complaint and can range from mild and annoying to severe and debilitating. Severe leg pain can affect your ability to walk or stand and perform even routine tasks. There are many possible causes of leg pain, from muscle injuries to problems with blood vessels. In some cases, leg pain can occur due to nerve problems in your spine.
Most of the time leg pain results from wear and tear, overuse, or damage to the joints or bones or muscles, ligaments, tendons, or other soft tissues. Lower spine or back problems can also cause leg pain when the nerves are compressed. You may experience pain in your legs when blood flow to the extremities is affected due to blood clots, varicose veins, or poor circulation of blood. Other areas in the upper leg and lower leg that are susceptible to pain are the calves, shins, and knees.
Some of the Common Causes of Leg Pain Include:
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
In this condition, your limbs, particularly the legs do not get enough amount of blood. It usually happens when the arteries have narrowed. You may feel pain, weakness, or numbness in the legs as you walk, or your legs may feel tired or cramped. In some cases, they may feel cold and turn darker in color.
Some people can treat peripheral artery disease by making healthy changes in their lives, such as quitting smoking, exercising, and eating a balanced diet. If lifestyle changes do not show improvement, it is best to consult a doctor who will recommend medication to treat the problem and help you get rid of the constant pain or dull ache. In severe cases of PAD, you may need surrey to restore blood flow to your legs and get rid of the pain and discomfort.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
It is a medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. These clots usually develop in the lower extremities such as the leg, thigh, or pelvis. It does not always cause symptoms, but you may experience pain, swelling in the legs, and the area may feel warm and red.
DVT can happen to anybody, and it can cause serious illness and disability along with constant pain in the legs due to clot formation. It can lead to a severe condition called pulmonary embolism, when the clot breaks down and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs, causing a blockage. If the clot is large, it can stop the blood from reaching the lungs and result in death. When discovered early, DVT can be prevented and treated.
Peripheral neuropathy results from damage to the nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord. When the peripheral nerves that relay messages to and from the brain to different parts of the body get damaged or diseased, it can cause weakness, numbness, and pain in the legs. Your legs may feel prickly or tingly as well.
Any damage to these nerves interrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body and can impair muscle movement, prevent normal sensation in the arms and legs, and cause pain. It can also affect other areas and body functions such as digestion, urination, and circulation. The only way to get rid of the ache in your legs and find relief is to treat the triggers that cause the pain.
Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, and calcium that help the muscles work the way they should. When the electrolyte levels go down or there is an electrolyte imbalance, you can experience leg pain or cramps. Electrolytes are lost when you exercise, spend too much time outdoors, or are going through treatment like chemotherapy. Lack of salt and accompanying dehydration causes the space between the cells of the muscles to contract, which increases pressure on the nerve terminals, resulting in pain. Muscle cramping is the most common sign of muscle cramping, which can be excruciating and debilitating.
Doctors recommend taking sports drinks with electrolytes or water with foods that contain these minerals to prevent and cure electrolyte imbalance in the body.
It is a medical disorder in which the gaps between the bones of the spine become narrow, increasing the pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. This pressure of the nerves can result in discomfort, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the legs. A tightened space can cause the spinal cord or nerves to become irritated, compressed, or pinched, which can lead to painful symptoms, including sciatica.
Spinal stenosis occurs more often in the neck and lower back which causes pain in the legs. Some people also face trouble with balance. Spinal stenosis can be relieved with medication and physical therapy.
This leg pain comes from the pinched or compressed nerve in the lower spine. The sciatica nerve runs from the lower spine through the buttocks and down the back of the legs and any compression in this nerve can cause pain and numbness in the legs. Slipped or herniated disc, a slipped vertebra, a spasm of the butt muscles, or spinal stenosis can lead to sciatica pain.
Sciatica pain can range from mild to excruciating, but in most cases, it is self-limiting, which means it goes away on its own. It can feel like a bad cramp or a shooting pain that makes it hard for you to stand or even sit down.
It is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. It is a common condition that causes pain in the legs, hips, knees, or ankles and restricts your ability to walk and do everyday activities.
Pain, stiffness, and inability to move freely are the main symptoms of arthritis that can worsen with age. There is no remedy for arthritis, but exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help live a better quality of life. Over-the-counter pain relievers and hot or cold packs on the aching joints can keep the pain and inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues down.
When the muscles in the back of the lower leg are stretched too far, it can result in a pulled muscle or a muscle strain, as microscopic tears occur within the muscle fibers. Also called calf muscle strains, this injury can involve mild overstretching or complete tearing of the muscle.
It mostly occurs to people who play sports due to fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle. The pain is intense and starts right away, and the injured area is tender to the touch. The best way to treat a pulled muscle is to ice it with cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Mild injuries usually improve with rest, ice, compression, and elevation, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers.
This injury occurs when you bend or twist your knee and ankle in a way that stretches or tears a ligament, the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones in your joints. The tissue that connects the bone to the bone, called the ligament is stretched or broken, resulting in pain. The injured area becomes inflamed and hurts, and you cannot put any weight on it or walk.
Pain, tenderness, or weakness around the ankle, foot, or leg indicates a sprain. The easiest way to handle a sprain is to rest, apply ice, wrap the affected area and keep it elevated for a few days.
A leg cramp is an episode of sudden pain in the muscle of the leg caused by an involuntary contraction or shortening of the leg muscle. It can cause extreme pain, and you can feel a hard muscle lump under the skin. Most leg cramps occur in the calf muscles, which often restricts movement. These cramps can last from a few seconds up to 10 minutes.
Cramps happen more as you age, and you are more likely to experience them when you are out in hot weather and do not drink enough water. In most cases, cramps typically go away on their own and do not require medication attention.
Leg pain may be constant or sporadic, and it can develop suddenly or gradually. It may occur only with certain activities, or while your legs are at rest. Some conditions that cause leg pain may get better on their own with lifestyle modifications. If your leg pain is persistent, changes its position or severity, and continues despite lifestyle changes, seek medical assistance as it may be a sign of some underlying medical condition.
How to Find Relief From Leg Pain?
If your legs ache all the time and begin to interfere with your daily life movements, it is essential to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. The doctor will ask you about the type of pain you are suffering from and its symptoms and perform a physical exam to learn more about it.
The doctor may also order blood tests and imaging tests, including x-rays, ultrasound, and MRI to detect the source of pain. Some types of leg pain, especially those caused by a muscle strain or less serious injury respond well to self-care measures and non-invasive treatments. At times leg pain resulting from some injury or damage to nerves or tissues may require ongoing treatment or surgery.
Leg pain can be triggered by several causes, including an injury or disease, and you should not take it lightly. Effective treatment for your leg pain depends on getting an accurate diagnosis and seeking the best medical assistance. Physical therapy is one of the best choices you can make if you are suffering from leg pain or chronic leg injury. It can make you stronger and help you move and feel better. The top-rated therapists and physicians at Physical Therapists NYC use the most advanced equipment, and cutting-edge techniques to ensure you get the best physical therapy outcomes. They create a customized program to treat your leg pain and help you remain pain-free and as active as possible. They look for areas of weakness or stiffness that may be adding stress to the places that hurt and treat those areas with specific exercises to ease the pain and make you feel better.