Leg pain is a common complaint in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 36.5 percent of American adults described having lower limb pain, according to a national health interview survey.1 Only back pain was experienced more often, with 39.0 percent of Americans saying that they had discomfort in this body region.1
According to the CDC and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), pain is the most common presenting concern in a US doctor's office, with more than 50 percent of adults admitting that they suffer from pain. 2
Why Am I in Pain?
While no one likes pain, it serves the vital purpose of letting us know that there is something amiss with the body. Pain is an alert system that tells us to pay attention to and fix the body part in distress. Pain is critical and often the first clue that something is wrong, which is why parents and doctors ask “Tell me where it hurts” more often than any other question.
But not all leg pain is created equal.
What Causes Leg Pain?
Often leg pain is caused by injury, overuse, sprains, pulled muscles, and normal wear and tear. However, there are many other less routine causes of leg pain, such as:
Venous Insufficiency (vein disease)
Vein disease is when vein valves in the leg fail to circulate blood back toward the heart. Blood pools in the lower extremities, causing aching, heaviness, cramping, swelling, or itching. Skin changes can occur, including thickening, hardening, and color changes. Ulcers that are slow to heal on the legs and ankles can appear.
CVR offers minimally invasive outpatient procedures to address problem veins and eliminate the symptoms.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
A blood clot in the deep veins of the leg, a DVT is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. A DVT blood clot can loosen, travel through the bloodstream, and lodge in the lungs. This loose clot, called a pulmonary embolism (PE), is life-threatening. Symptoms include leg swelling, calf soreness, leg warmth, and redness of the skin. Treatment includes blood thinner and clot-buster medications, filters, and compression stockings.
Sciatica is pain that moves along the sciatic nerve from the lower back, through the hips and buttocks, and down the legs. Pain often occurs due to compression of part of the nerve and usually affects only one side of the body. Medication and physical therapy are the usual treatments.
Caused by a narrowing of spaces in the spine, spinal stenosis puts pressure on the spinal cord, usually in the neck and lower back. In addition to pain, symptoms include numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Medication, physical therapy, and surgery are among the treatment options.
Nerve damage, often associated with diabetes, causes pain, weakness, burning, a pins-and-needles sensation, and numbness. Treatment includes medications and various therapies.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
This circulatory condition is marked by narrowed blood vessels that reduce blood flow to the lower extremities and can cause complete loss of blood circulation. Symptoms include muscle weakness, hair loss, and pain while walking. Treatment includes medication and lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking. Surgery may be needed.
Do you suspect that vein disease is the cause of your leg pain? CVR can help. Schedule a consultation online or by calling 800-FIX-LEGS. Major insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid, are accepted.