Whether you have suffered a leg injury or have an underlying medical condition causing leg pain, it can significantly affect your quality of life. It can disrupt your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, and the pain can even be debilitating.
The treatment for your leg pain will depend upon its cause and location. Getting the right treatment for your leg pain can ensure a successful recovery and can get you back out doing the things you enjoy, with much less pain, in no time.
Common Causes and Treatments for Leg Pain
There are several reasons behind most cases of leg pain, and several common treatments for each type of pain, including the following:
Sprains and Strains
These are common sports injuries which can result in leg pain.
A strain is when a muscle or tendon gets overstretched or torn. It can occur suddenly or over time, and it can cause symptoms such as:
- Limited movement
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasms
A sprain, by contrast, is when you overstretch or tear a ligament, such as around the ankle or knee. Ligaments are the tough bands of tissue that connect two bones together to give them stability. Sprains can also cause pain, swelling, bruising, and limited movement around the joint, and sometimes the sprain causes a popping sensation at the time of injury.
Treatment: Strains and sprains can often be treated with the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the injured area.
Sciatica and Pinched Nerve
Nerves transmit messages from your brain to other parts of the body, allowing movement and the ability to feel sensory information (pain, pressure, and temperature). If nerves become compressed (“pinched”) or damaged, they cannot transmit signals and can cause pain, a lack of sensation, and/or a lack of movement.
The thickest and longest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve. This nerve extends from your lower back down to your feet. If it becomes compressed or inflamed, it can cause sciatica – which is a painful condition resulting in shooting pains, tingling, weakness, and numbness that may travel from the lower back, down the leg, and oftentimes down into the foot.
Treatment can include medication, steroid injections, and physical therapy.
Neuropathy is when a nerve is damaged or irritated, and peripheral neuropathy occurs when the nerve causes pain and/or loss of function in any of the limbs. Diabetes is a primary cause of this (diabetic neuropathy), but other causes include trauma, disease, and infections affecting the nerves.
Peripheral neuropathy often develops in the longest nerves first, which can cause numbness, tingling, and burning that travels up the legs from the feet. Movements can become weak, paralyzed, or uncoordinated.
Treatment depends on the severity, underlying cause, and the nerves involved. Once the cause of the pain is diagnosed by a doctor, treatment may include medication, physical/occupational therapy, mobility devices, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and lifestyle changes.
Tendons can get injured or become damaged through trauma, overuse or repetitive movements, and arthritis. This damage to the tendon can result in loss of movement, pain, and swelling. Tendonitis is caused by inflammation or irritation of the tendon tissue, and this can especially occur in the hamstrings, around the knee, and in the thigh.
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles in the back of the lower leg to the back of the heel bone, and it is the most powerful tendon in the body. Tendons can become weakened over time from tendonitis, and certain leg movements and jumping can create an imbalance of pressure on the leg and foot – which can cause the Achilles tendon to rupture. Symptoms include severe, sudden pain and difficulty walking.
Treatment may include casting and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
Osteoarthritis (often called simply “arthritis”) often affects the hands, hips, knees, and ankles. It can cause damage to the joints, resulting in pain, stiffness, loss of function, and immobility in the joint and limbs. Osteoarthritis results from overuse and wear-and-tear, as the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones breaks down, resulting in painful bone-on-bone rubbing.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the membrane that protects and lines the joints. However, it can spread beyond the joints to affect other organs such as the lungs and the heart.
Treatment for arthritis in the leg can include:
- Cortisone injections
- Viscosupplementation injections
- Physical and/or occupational therapy
- Heat therapy
- Splints, walkers, or canes
- Herbs and supplements (such as glucosamine and chondroitin)
- Lifestyle changes
How Can a Pain Management Doctor Help?
If you are suffering from ongoing leg pain, a pain management specialist can help. Their aim is to evaluate and diagnose the cause of pain in order to create a customized treatment program.
Your pain specialist will first employ conservative, minimally invasive, nonsurgical treatment methods to reduce or eliminate the pain. Their goal is to raise your quality of life and make you feel better physically.
Treatments for leg pain vary depending on the condition and severity of symptoms, but may include:
- Nerve blocks
- Heat therapy
- Cold therapy
- Pain-relieving injections
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Physical therapy
- A combination of two or more treatments
Pain Clinic in Boca Raton, FL
If you have leg pain, contact Kamerlink Pain Institute today. We provide compassionate and effective pain management techniques that will work for you.
Let us relieve your pain and help you move forward. Contact us today at (561) 404-7667 to find out more about the services we offer. We look forward to helping you achieve relief from your leg pain so you can get back to the lifestyle you love.