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Other Names:
Leg Aches, Leg Cramps
Leg Pain

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Definition

Leg pain is a common symptom and complaint for most people. Most commonly leg pain is due to muscle cramps.

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Causes

  • Muscle fatigue from overuse
  • Muscle strain
  • Excessive exercise
  • Standing for long periods of time.
  • Tendinitis
  • Shin splints
  • Flatfeet
  • Stress or hairline fracture of tibia or fibula
  • Dehydration
  • Imbalance or depletion of salts like potassium, sodium, calcium or magnesium.
  • Medications like diuretics, which can cause you to lose too much fluid or salts.
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Varicose veins.
  • Atherosclerosis of leg arteries.
  • Gout
  • Arthritis
  • Neuropathy or nerve damage which is common in diabetics, smokers and alcoholics.
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Cellulitis
  • Bone tumors
    • Benign bone tumors or cysts of the femur or tibia such as osteoid ostioma.
    • Malignant bone tumors (osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma).
  • Sciatic nerve pain caused by a slipped disk in the back (vertebral column).
  • Medications such as allopurinol and corticosteroids.

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What You Can Do

  • Medications
    • Pain killers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) like tylenol, ibuprofen, aspirin
    • Antibiotics for osteomyelitis
  • General Measures
    • Rest as much as possible.
    • Elevate your leg.
    • Apply ice for up to 15 minutes atleast 4 times a day
    • Gently stretch and massage your cramping muscles.
    • Avoid ill fitting shoes.
  • Specific Measures
    • Varicose veins
      • Leg elevation
      • Compression elastic bandages or support hose
    • Neuropathy or claudication
      • Control diabetes
      • Eliminate the use of alcohol and tobacco
  • Prevention
    • If you are a smoker, quit smoking.
    • Limit your alcohol intake.
    • Keep your diabetes under good control.
    • If you have high blood cholesterol, adopt measures to reduce blood cholesterol.
    • Control your high blood pressure.
    • Stretch to warm up before physical activity and cool down afterward.
    • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially before, during, and after exercise and in hot and humid weather.

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Leg Pain