There are over two hundred diseases and conditions that cause leg pain. To determine what causes pain in leg that the patient is experiencing, the physician may ask questions about the type and specific location of the pain. The physician may also order some diagnostic tests.
Leg pain can be tingling, burning, prickling, dull aches, or sharp pain. The location of the pain such as the thigh, knee, shin, calf, or ankle can help the doctor identify the cause of the pain. The medical history of the patient and past injuries may provide clues as to the cause of leg pain.
Muscle strain is a common cause of leg pain. If the person has been more active than usual, muscle strain is likely to be suspected for achy leg pain in the thigh or calf. A muscle strain results from a tearing of the muscle. The pain can be severe depending on how significant the muscle tear is.
Shin splints is a condition causing pain along the shin bone that is associated with exercise or strenuous activity. Shin pain while running is commonly caused by shin splints. This type of leg pain is due to stress on the legs. If the pain continues, the patient should seek medical treatment to rule out a fracture or other potential causes.
Knee pain can be caused by stress on the knee from exercise or overuse. Arthritis and past injuries to the knee can also cause knee pain. Bursitis is another possible cause of knee inflammation and pain. Bursitis occurs when the joint’s bursae, sac of synovial fluid, becomes inflamed. This is often caused by overuse or repetitive pressure on the joint.
A deep vein thrombosis is a potentially lethal cause of leg pain. The deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in a vein. This can be caused by periods of inactivity especially if the movement of the legs is restricted. In addition to leg pain, a deep vein thrombosis causes swelling and leg warmth though it might not cause any symptoms. The fatal complication of a deep vein thrombosis occurs if the blood clot travels to the lungs and blocks a blood vessel in the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism.
The treatment for leg pain depends on the identified cause of the pain. After proper diagnosis, the physician may suggest treatment options or prescribe the specific treatment for the leg pain. In the case of minor muscle injury, the physician may recommend rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. Fractures, breaks, or severe sprains may require a cast or splint.