The Clinical Importance and Causes of Leg Pain
Leg pain and leg cramps are a common symptom. According to a survey published in the Huffington Post, 26% of the population lives with leg pain or leg cramps. Leg pain can be intermittent or constant and develop gradually or suddenly, affecting the entire leg or a portion of it. Generally speaking, the human leg is the entire lower limb, staring at the thigh and ending at the foot. However, the actual anatomical definition of the leg is the part of the lower limb that extends from the knee downward. In this article, we will use the general or layperson’s meaning of the leg. In other words, we will discuss issues and conditions that cause the leg, to hurt or cause leg cramps, from the hip all the way to the foot.
Your Legs are the Pillar that Holds You Up
If our bodies were buildings, our legs would be the cornerstones. Extending from the hips to the feet, our legs take the brunt of the pressure as we carry out all our activities in normal daily living. When we walk, run, jump, squat, or climb the stairs, significant mechanical loads are placed on our legs. The legs are made up of multiple bones: the femur, tibia, fibula, and patella, along with the 26 bones of the feet. Every bone in the leg is a weight-bearing bone, save the fibula and the patella. The fibula is located on the lateral or outer aspect of the leg and runs parallel to the tibia or shinbone. It is a support structure and site for the attachment for ligaments and muscles. The same holds true for the patella.
Wear and Tear: A Cause Leg Cramps and Painful Legs
The most common cause of a sore leg or leg cramps is wear and tear. Injuries including sports injuries, accident, or overuse are also common causes of painful legs or sore legs. The one issue that stands true is that leg pain, and leg cramps are not normal. In addition to the mechanical disorder, there are various health conditions including fractures, cancer, circulatory insufficiencies, right-sided heart failure, diabetes, spinal disc issues, and rheumatoid and osteoarthritic conditions that cause leg cramps or leg pain. In other words, if you suffer from a painful leg or if you experience leg cramps, you must take steps to identify the root-cause and initiate therapy or treatment programs to resolve them holistically at the earliest of sign or symptom. Neglecting or ignoring leg pain or cramps can have consequences that are too great to bear.
Let us first elaborate on the leg pain and leg cramps caused by mechanical disorders and the effects of neglecting it. Injury to the muscles of the leg (as seen in the image below), torn ligaments, ruptured tendons, and even bone fractures fall into this category. People who have any of these problems will feel immediate pain and discomfort, as the structural integrity of the area that supports their body weight is compromised. They may also present with swelling of the foot and reduced motion of the knees and ankles.
Degenerative Causes of Leg Cramps, Sore Legs, and Pain in Legs
Degeneration can also play a part in mechanically induced leg discomfort, leg cramps or painful legs. As bone spurs form in the hips, knees, ankles, or feet, muscles will start to tighten up, causing patients to experience severe, aching pain in their legs. Traumatic injuries or overuse can also trigger leg cramps, discomfort, and pain. Conditions, such as shin splints, commonly seen among sports players, runners (runner’s knee), and children are leading causes of painful legs. However, on a positive note, mechanical problems can be treated easily when an accurate diagnosis is followed by targeted leg pain treatment. Targeted conservative therapies such as advanced clinical chiropractic treatment and sports physiotherapy have long been proven effective at achieving amazing results for those that suffer from mechanical causes of painful legs.
Painful Leg, Sore Leg, and Leg Cramps are Common Symptoms of a Spine Disorder
The low back is a common source of a numb leg, sore leg, and leg cramps. Conditions such as spinal stenosis, slipped disc (slip-disc), spinal disc degeneration, and osteoarthritis are the leading causes of discomfort, pain, and cramping in one or both legs. The vast majority of these patients may also experience numbness, tingling, and burning sensations, as well as weakness in their legs. However, there are many instances in which one can have leg cramps or painful legs, and yet exhibit no low back pain or symptoms. Therefore, having no symptoms of lower back pain does not exclude the spine as a source of your leg pain, cramps, numbness or weakness.
In our centers, we have assessed thousands of leg pain patients in whom leg pain was the result of low back issues instead of a lower back pain. Therefore, to rule out the low back as a source, you will be assessed by our clinical experts who understand the spine as well as we do. If you live in Malaysia and suffer from leg pain, visit our center for an accurate assessment that identifies the root-cause of your leg pain. Treating leg pain is easy; the hard part is the correct diagnosis. Let one of the experts in our center assess you today.
Core muscles and painful leg
Core muscle issues and weakness are known causes of leg pain. Your core muscles are dived into two groups: the major core muscles and the minor core muscles. The major core muscles include the diaphragm, abdominal muscles, spinal muscles (muscles of the mid and low back), and the muscles of the pelvic floor. Your minor core muscles are the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, piriformis, and trapezius.
Leg pain that originates from the core muscles is often linked to compensatory changes in the pelvis, hips, knees, and ankles. As the core muscles weaken, the workload on your weight-bearing joints increases. The increasing workload can lead to leg muscle fatigue, leading to pain in the legs. Additionally, chronic weakness in the core muscles is a major contributing factor to the degenerative changes often seen in the hips or knees.
Occupational Causes of Sore and Painful Legs
If your work involves standing for prolonged periods, it can cause leg pain. In fact, the vast majority of those who stand for long periods at work complain of chronic leg pain. Standing in an upright posture engages the core muscles. Prolonged standing leads to fatigue of the core muscles as well as the leg muscles. In addition to muscle fatigue, standing for prolonged periods can result in vascular disorders such as varicose veins. Standing too long is not healthy, but sitting for extended periods or being bedridden may be even worse. Those who sit for prolonged periods, as well as those who are bedridden, have increased chances of developing a potentially fatal type of leg pain that arises from blood clots.
Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is a vascular disorder in which the blood clots in the deep veins of the lower legs or thighs. DVT is a known cause of leg pain. Regarding this issue, we have provided a link for your future reference at the bottom of this article under the known causes of leg pain.
Sitting and Sore Legs
Pronged standing is wrong, but sitting is just as bad. So if your job involves standing, try walking around and moving frequently. If you sit for extended periods, try moving your legs. Sitting can cause blood clots, but moving your legs now and again can get the blood to circulate and prevent pooling (clotting). Our best advice is that you visit us for a thorough assessment. Don’t take a chance. Let us help you.
Footwear and leg pain
The most avoidable leg pain is that caused by shoes. Those with diabetes, circulatory disorders, spinal disc issues, sciatica, and core muscle weakness are even at higher risk of developing acute leg pain resulting from improper footwear. Prevention is best, so if you already have leg pain, heed the warning and get a quality pair of shoes. We have identified the absolute worse types of footwear. The list below includes the types of footwear you need to avoid today, especially if you already have leg pain:
- Stiletto heels
- Ballet flats
- Platform shoes
- Worn-out shoes
- High-heeled boots.
Leg pain is also linked to a host of other health disorders, some of which can be relatively severe. If your leg symptoms persist for more than a week, or you if you get frequent leg-pain attacks, please do call us. To help you understand the causes of leg pain, we have provided a list of health issues and conditions that cause this problem. Please share this information on your Google Plus, LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media platforms to educate your friends and family members. Sharing is caring.
Conditions that Cause Sore Legs, Leg Cramps Leg Pain:
- Achilles tendon Injury
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- ACL injury (Anterior cruciate ligament injury)
- Back pain
- Baker’s cyst
- Bone cancer
- Broken Leg
- Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Growth plate fractures
- Hamstring injury
- Herniated disc
- Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- Knee Pain
- Knee bursitis
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
- Meralgia paresthetica
- Muscle disorders
- Night leg cramps
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Peripheral artery disease
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Posterior cruciate ligament injury
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Shin splints
- Spinal stenosis
- Stress fractures
- Torn meniscus
- Varicose veins
For more information about a sore leg, leg pain, leg cramps, numb legs and leg pain treatment, please call one of our centers from the contact page.