While leg pain on its own shouldn't worry you, it may indicate a larger problem at play, such as peripheral artery disease. If you frequently experience leg pain, it’s worth paying a visit to a vascular specialist. Call South Charlotte General and Vascular Surgery today to schedule an appointment.
Pain in the legs can occur as a result of various conditions that affect joints, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, nerves, or inflammation of the skin. Leg pain can occur in the foot, ankle, knee, behind the knee, thigh, down the back of the leg, or in any part of the leg. You may experience leg pain while walking or exercising, at rest while standing or sitting or even at night while lying down. Leg pain can also occur in one or both legs.
Depending on the cause of the pain, one or more of the following symptoms may accompany the leg pain:
Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage from diabetes) is a common cause of tingling, burning, and numbness in the legs that can at times be painful. It affects the sole of the feet and the toes but can progress to the hands as well. For diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, it is important to differentiate the exact type and location of any pain in the legs.
Peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.) refers to blockage of the arteries resulting from plaque build-up which interferes with the flow of blood to your legs. If you have a blockage in your arteries, you may experience claudication, or pain that occurs in the legs usually when walking or exercising and is brought on by the same amount of walking or exercise. It usually resolves within five to ten minutes of stopping the activity. It commonly occurs in patients over the age of 50 who have a history of smoking, high blood pressure and heart disease, stroke diabetes or kidney disease. If the blockage worsens, some patients may progress to having pain all the time and may start noticing numbness and discoloration in the toes or may have a wound that does not heal.
Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis DVT) is a serious cause of leg pain specially if it occurs in one leg and is associated with swelling. Risk factors include dehydration, immobilization following surgery or during travel, history of prior clot, and heart disease among other causes. If untreated, it may lead to a pulmonary embolism in your lungs.
Arthritis: common arthritic conditions include pain in the knee and ankle joints of the leg
Pinched or inflamed nerves: the pain of sciatica (from disc disease of the spine) may radiate down the leg and is another common cause of leg pain. Patients with spinal stenosis may also have pain in the lower back as well as leg pain upon standing for more than ten minutes.
If you have new onset of as sudden leg pain particularly if it is only in one leg and you notice swelling in the leg or shortness of breath, you should call your physician to be seen immediately or go to urgent care and rule out a blood clot.
If you pain is more chronic, you should call your physician so they can evaluate the underlying cause, or you may call our office and our vascular specialists will be glad to assist you.
To book an appointment with one our vascular specialists, complete our appointment request form.