Different causes require different treatments, and the following article shall examine some of the more common forms of chronic leg pain. Some of these problems can be dealt with at home, whereas the more serious causes will need to be seen by a medical professional.
Identifying the Problem
If you suffer from chronic leg pain then the first thing you will need to do is locate the source of pain. This is generally quite easy to do, as you will have become familiar with the area in your leg most affected by the problem. However, it’s important to note that the source of the pain and the actual area in which it is manifested are not always the same, so diligence is required when identifying what is wrong. If you’re having difficulty in doing this then it is advised that you contact your local Doctor.
Chronic leg pain can be divided into the following subcategories, and doing so will help you to discover where in your leg the pain is originating; foot pain, joint pain, knee pain, hip pain, shin pain and muscle pain.
The most common cause of chronic leg pain is without a doubt trauma. Trauma to the leg can take a number of forms, and the severity of the problem can range greatly. A fracture is any kind of break in a bone or cartilage, and causes the patient pain as the nerve endings around the bone have been disrupted causing them to send signals to the brain. Shin splints are another common form of chronic leg pain caused by trauma, and this occurs when too much pressure is placed on the shinbone causing the muscle and tissue surrounding the bone to split.
This is a very common problem for runners and people who partake in start-stop sports like tennis or football. As with shin splints, sprains and strains affect the muscle and ligaments in our legs rather than the bone. A sprain or strain occurs when the muscle or ligaments have been twisted, stretched or torn, and the result makes it very difficult to walk without experiencing great pain.
Dealing with Trauma
The majority of trauma related injuries are healed over time providing that the individual rests their leg for the appropriate time. How long the leg should be rested will depend on the seriousness of the injury and the extent to which damage has done. Sprains, strains and shin splints typically require a few days rest to fully heal, whereas fractures can take weeks if not months and may need to be set in cast to heal correctly. If you believe you have fractured a bone in your leg then ensure you visit your local Doctor as soon as possible, as the longer you wait to deal with the problem, the worse it will become.
Other Causes of Chronic Leg Pain
Although trauma is the most common cause of chronic leg pain, there are a number of other disorders and complications that cause extreme discomfort. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is generally found in older generations, but can affect those with blood disorders. PAD consists of a blockage in any artery outside of the brain or heart, and is often associated with thrombosis. When this occurs the veins in the leg become narrower, making it harder for blood to be successfully pumped through.
This can result in a number of symptoms typically experienced when engaged in physical activity. These symptoms include pain, weakness in the leg and cramps. There are a number of treatments available to those who suffer from peripheral artery disease depending on how much of the leg is affected. These treatments range from drug therapy, supervised exercise routines and endovascular revascularization.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, is a form of chronic leg pain that occurs in a patient when a blood clot called a thrombus develops. This can happen for a number of reasons, the most common being in those with poor circulation of narrow veins. The majority of DVT sufferers are not aware that they have the condition, but it can become a serious problem if the clot breaks free from the leg and travels through the body towards the heart or lungs.
Symptoms include pain, swelling and tenderness in the affected area, reddening around the affected area and an enlarged section where the clot is thickest. DVT is quite straightforward to deal with and most people affected by this condition simply take a course of blood thinning medication to help break the clot down. If you believe you may have deep vein thrombosis make sure to visit your local Doctor as soon as possible.
Arthritis is probably the most common cause of chronic leg pain in those aged fifty and over. Arthritis is a condition that affects our bone system, especially where our joints connect and it can be extremely painful. Readers should note that arthritis does not refer to one singular disease but instead is the umbrella name used to describe over one hundred related conditions. Arthritis is generally treated with medication, although the type of medication used will vary depending on the patient, their age, and the type of arthritis they suffer from and where in the leg it occurs.
Chronic leg pain can be extremely frustrating to deal with and cause a hindrance in our daily lives. The causes of chronic leg pain vary greatly, but the majority of cases are a result of some form of trauma. The level of pain experienced will dictate as to whether or not you need a professional’s opinion, but always remember to visit your Doctor sooner rather than later as untreated case can greatly worsen over time.