June 16, 2010

Causes & Treatment for Sore Aching Legs

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Leg pain is a very common ailment experienced by almost all of us at some point or the other. The different locations in which leg pain can occur include thighs, calves, shins, ankles, feet and heels. Joint pain, nerve pain and muscle pain in various parts of the leg are also regarded as leg ache. Contrary to what many people believe, a leg ache does not always originate in the legs; very often problems or injuries in the spinal column and the hip result in sore, aching legs. A leg ache may come in several different forms, which include:

  • Dull pain
  • Sharp pain
  • Stabbing pain
  • Tingling

You may also experience pain that:

  • Affects your entire leg or just a specific area
  • Is constant or intermittent
  • Develops gradually or suddenly

In some instances, you may just experience a dull, constant pain in your legs, which feels nothing more than an annoyance. However, at times, the pain in your legs can be so severe you may not be able to walk properly. Some cases of leg aches get better on their own, without any treatment, whereas others may require immediate medical attention. Therefore, it is best for you to get the pain in your legs checked by a doctor. This is especially important in case the pain is severe or keeps recurring.

Causes: There are several different factors due to which your legs may hurt and some of them are more serious than the others. Given below are some of the most common causes of leg pain:

  • Absence of a well-balanced and healthy diet, as it could deprive your body of essential nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium
  • Dehydration or the insufficient consumption of water on a daily basis
  • Dysfunction of certain systems and glands in the body, such as hyperthyroidism
  • Engaging in unhealthy practices like smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs on a regular basis
  • Fractures or other types of injuries on the leg can cause you to experience a significant amount of pain
  • Hormonal changes (in women) that usually occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause
  • Lack of exercising or even working out excessively after a long period of inactivity
  • Peripheral artery disease in the legs (common in elderly people), which leads to blockage of the arteries & adversely affects the circulation of blood and oxygen to the legs
  • Presence of blood clots or a tumor in the leg
  • Restless leg syndrome, a fairly common disorder that affects several children and young adults
  • Sciatica, an inflammation in the sciatic nerve, usually characterized by a tingling sensation through the leg
  • Standing or walking for a long period of time, which puts a significant amount of stress on the nerves and muscles of your legs.
  • Tendonitis or an inflammation in the tendons around the knee or heel. Conditions that increase the risks of tendonitis include diabetes and arthritis
  • Use of certain medication, especially corticosteroids
  • Varicose veins, a disorder that causes the blood to flow in the wrong direction and leads to swelling of the veins in the legs.
  • Wearing badly fitted shoes, high heels or uncomfortable footwear while walking or exercising

You may need to undergo a few tests and exams to accurately diagnose the exact cause of the problem.

Treatment for Leg Pain: The treatment prescribed by your health care provider for relieving leg pain will depend completely upon the causes. In case the leg pain is not the result of a serious underlying condition, your doctor may prescribe over the counter painkillers for relief from aching calves, thighs and feet. However, if the pain is caused by a serious problem you may also need to undergo surgery.

In addition to medication, there are several self-care steps that are excellent for alleviating the pain in various parts of your leg. You can seek relief from aching calves, thighs, knees, shins, ankles and feet by trying these simple measures:

  • Ice: Apply an ice pack directly on to the affected part of your leg. This should reduce the pain, swelling and inflammation. Alternately, you could also use a bag of frozen peas, or just wrap a few ice cubes in a towel and apply it on to your aching leg.
  • Heat Therapy: A heating pad or a hot water bag applied on to your leg can help relax your muscles and nerves in the area, gradually alleviating the pain. You could also administer heat therapy to the area by soaking your leg in a tub of hot water.
  • Massage: You can reduce aches and pains in many different parts of your body with the help of a good massage. Just before you go to bed, massage your legs with some warm oil for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Exercise: In order to strengthen your leg muscles, it is important that you exercise for at least half an hour each day. However, if the pain worsens after exercising, you need to speak with your doctor about it immediately.

These measures for relieving leg pain are safe if done correctly. However, it is important to speak to your doctor and get his advice before trying any of them.


  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003182.htm
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/leg-pain/MY00080