Many people suffer from aching legs and wonder what causes it and if there is anything they can do about it. In this article we will look at a few of the most common reasons people are afflicted with muscle pain in legs.
Leg Cramps and Their Causes
One of the most common form of pain in the leg area is cramps or “charlie horses”. There are 2 main reasons for leg cramps. The first one is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which if not treated properly can lead to serious health problems. Symptoms of DVT are swelling, redness and pain in a certain area of the leg. Sometimes a clot or lump can also be felt. If you should notice any of these symptoms it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Factors contributing to DVT include smoking and prolonged inactivity.
Another cause of leg cramps is an electrolyte imbalance and the dehydration that usually comes along with it. In most cases this is from simply not eating properly and drinking enough water throughout the day. Although not as life threatening as deep vein thrombosis, it is still good advice to eat the proper food and drink plenty of clean water as part of an overall health regiment.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
PAD is referred to as both peripheral arterial disease and peripheral artery occlusive disease. It is a blockage of the larger arteries throughout the body exclusive of those found in the brain or heart, and commonly results in muscle pain in legs. Some of the causes behind PAD include embolisms, atherosclerosis and any narrowing of the blood vessels (stenos).
Complications from Diabetes
Diabetes, or “diabesity” as it is being referred to lately, can result in a multitude of complications leading to muscle pain in legs, including peripheral neuropathy and other vascular problems that lead to poor blood circulation. Peripheral neuropathy is a potentially debilitating condition that afflicts over 20 million Americans according to the Neuropathy Association. It is caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system, and often elevates to the point of causing severe sensitivity in the feet and leg areas.
Sciatica Nerve Pain
Although sciatica commonly originates in the lower back, the pain frequently spreads downward into the leg area and can be quite painful, resulting in muscular weakness, numbness and tingling, and an inability to move or control ones legs. Sciatica is caused by something pressing down on the sciatic nerve, most commonly a ruptured or damaged disc in the lower back. The pain travels from behind the buttocks and thighs and can extend to below knee level. Cold weather can make sciatica pain worse than it already is.
Some of the other conditions that can lead to painful leg muscles include arthritis, fibromyalgia, and trauma from sporting activities or other over exertion. This can include shin splints, hamstring pulls and damage to the plantaris tendon. Tennis players often suffer from ruptures of the plantaris tendon, which is located in the calf area. Symptoms of a plantaris tendon rupture include broken blood vessels and swelling in the calf area.
Hopefully this article has shed some light on a few of the more common causes of muscle pain in legs. As with any condition that causes pain in the body, seeking the appropriate medical advice is always your best bet.