Do you experience leg pain when you’re walking, running, or swimming for long period of hours? Can’t you engage in too many sports because your leg and ankle always ache? You shouldn’t ignore signs of leg and ankle pain as they might be telling you something about your overall health condition.
Here are the top reasons why you may be experiencing leg pain.
- Muscle cramps
Also known as “charley horse”, muscle cramps are characterized by sudden tightening of the muscles in the lower leg that produces intense pain and discomfort. Leg cramps usually happen when you are tired, stressed, or dehydrated, and can attack anytime of the day – whether you are actively having fun or sleeping.
Cure: When muscle cramps attack, it would help if you gradually stretch the leg that is experiencing pain and gently massage your tensed muscles.
Prevention: To avoid muscle cramps, make sure that you drink plenty of water regularly, do some stretching before exercise, and prevent pushing yourself when you are already tired.
- Shin splints
Shin splits are normally on the front of the calf, and is characterized by inflamed muscles and flesh located along the edge of the shin bone. When you have this pain, walking, running, and jumping will be painful. Shin splits happen when you keep doing an activity over and over on hard surfaces, like the ground or the floor. Flat feet and outward feet also cause shin splits.
Cure: When you start to feel shin splits, immediately rest your legs. Ice can help relieve the pain, too, so you may want to perform ice therapy on the affected area. Additionally, anti-inflammatory medicines like naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen can assist in eliminating the pain and inflammation.
Prevention: To avoid shin splits, do not stress or overwork your legs. Do regular stretching and make sure to wear supportive, comfortable shoes. Avoid running on hard surfaces, too.
Tendinitis, or inflamed Achilles tendon, is pain characterized by discomfort felt in the lower calf and near the back of the heel. Other symptoms include swollen, stretched, or torn tendon. Tendinitis tends to last for longer periods of time, and is due to overworking the calf muscles and too much climbing up and down the stairs.
Cure: To relieve tendinitis, apply ice therapy on the affected area or take in anti-inflammatory medicines. If the pain is too severe, such that you are not able to point your toe downward, you may need to undergo medical treatment such as medicine injection on the inflamed area or surgery to repair the damaged tendon.
Prevention: To avoid tendinitis, walk in moderate pace and do not overwork your feet. When walking or climbing the stairs get tiring, stop and rest for a while. Do regular feet and leg stretches, too.
- Varicose veins
These are dark, twisted veins visible on the surface of the skin along the leg area. Pain brought by varicose veins are usually dull, but signifies weak valves and thin vein walls due to frequent and continuous standing.
Cure: Use support stockings to relieve the pain. If it becomes severely painful, you need to consult with your doctor about other types of treatment.
Prevention: Avoid standing for too long. Throughout the day, make sure that you switch between standing and sitting. Moreover, eat foods that strengthen your veins and prevent this type of disease, including fiber-rich foods and foods that contain rutin.
Primarily characterized by narrowed spinal canal, sciatica is caused by arthritis of the spine or herniated disc, both putting pressure on the nerve roots. You know you are suffering from sciatica if you feel the following symptoms: cramping leg pain, numbness, fatigue, tingling, and weakness. Usually, pain begins at the back and the hips, moving downwards to the legs.
Cure: While rest is the initial treatment for sciatica, pain-relief and anti-inflammatory medications should be taken alongside. Application of cold and heat therapy can also help relieve some of the symptoms. Chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and stretching exercises can be useful for treating sciatica. For severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery or other medical treatments.
Prevention: To prevent sciatica, you have to exercise regularly, observe proper posture, and maintain good body mechanics.
Is your leg pain due to any of the above reasons? Remember, if pain is no longer tolerable and home remedies are not working well to relieve discomfort, consult with your doctor or chiropractor immediately.