Legs are anatomically part of the lower extremities along with the thigh, the foot and patella (kneecap). Physiologically, theses parts work together for locomotion like walking, running, even swimming and the like. As a person grows, the extremities not only grow but it becomes stronger. However, as one grows older and as the weight increases, lower extremities may encounter problems such as leg aches. By virtue of gravity, the legs support the body weight putting pressure on the soles of your feet. Frequent standing, engaging in different sports and even just simple walking can cause leg pain. So it is crucial to know the risks, symptoms the treatments for the different lower leg aches.
Leg Ache Causes
There are a number causes why the legs ache. Some of it can just be minor and be treated right away while others can create a huge damage that can be life threatening.
this usually happens to the athletes especially in contract sports. Lower extremities such as the legs, thighs, feet, even the knee cap can be injured. Injuries in can include Muscle strain or torn or overstretched muscle or a hairline crack which is very painful, an inflamed tendons and pain in the front of the legs due to repetitive pounding or shin splints.
this is another cause of leg pain due to maybe dehydration or low levels of potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium in the blood. These electrolytes are essential of cellular metabolism for the body system to function well. Another reason in muscle fatigue is that sometimes, a person is in the same position for a long time.
sometimes, pain in the legs occur because there is not enough supply of blood in the lower extremities because of the damages in the nerve on the leg area. This can happen because of other conditions like diabetes, smoking and alcoholism. The sciatic nerve, an important nerve in the back can be damaged because slip disc thus pain can be felt on the legs.
Atherosclerosis and deep vein thrombosis
the blood vessels especially the arteries are hardened because of consuming foods high in fat and even too high cholesterol. Plaques are deposited in the inner most layer of the blood vessel which makes it difficult for the blood to move to its destination. As a result, less blood is delivered into the legs and causes leg pain.
these is a prevalent case during pregnancy. This happens when the blood remains in the veins as it make its way back to the heart. Enlarged veins result which can be painful. This is also common when a person always stands for a long period of hours. There is a difficulty in the return of the blood flow in the leg area.
Aching Legs Symptoms
Because there are various causes of leg problems, aching leg symptoms are also different from each other. In cases of injury, the leg pain can be sharp because of the direct trauma on the affected are (legs, thigh, patella, etc). Also, redness and swelling in the area is evident because of the injury in the affected area.
Sometimes, a patient may feel a burning sensation or a sharp pain because of neuropathy, a complication when a person suffers from diabetes. This also happens when cramps is experienced especially when asleep.
Radiating pain is also felt in some instances whenever a certain area is touched or palpitated then another pain is felt either adjacent to it or to another part of the leg. A concrete example is having a painful knee because of hip problems.
Remedies or Treatment for Aching Legs
For treatment to be effective there should be proper diagnosis in every leg pain. Remember that only experts (doctors) are the most reliable person to consult in leg problems and treatments for leg pains. Before the diagnosis, some blood samples may be taken as well as a comprehensive medical history. X-rays are also taken especially when the cause of the pain is injury so that the extents of the damage on the bones are examined. To be more concise, other imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or CT scans are done.
If the injury is minor such are simple cramps or swelling of the tissues, doctors will recommend application of hot or cold compress in a regular interval at a certain time. To relieve pain, non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug such as mefenamic acids or ibuprofen can be taken.
In injuries, some orthopedics can just apply cast, bracing or some splints if the injury is minor and to relieve the pain, NSAIDs are again given. But in serious injuries that cause bones to be broken, surgery is done to correct the problem.
Sometimes, in worst case scenarios, legs are amputated because there is a loss of function on the leg affected and if it is not removed, there is a hug tendency that the infection will spread in the other parts of the body. This usually happens to patients with diabetes that is poorly managed and in some cases, those who cannot stop smoking. They have this disease called bueger’s disease or thromboanginitis obliterans.
Pregnancy and leg pains
In pregnancy, one of the common problems of women is leg cramps and leg pains. This is usually felt during the second trimester and in the third trimester of pregnancy. This is caused by the pressure of the baby’s head on the nerves in the pelvic area. Another is the changes in significant electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and even potassium. They are responsible for muscle contraction and cellular metabolism. If these are low, leg cramps will likely happen. Another is the increase pressure on the muscles of the feet because of the increased weight due to the baby bump.
Another problem is the varicose veins. This happens because the blood in the veins cannot go back to the heart for circulation which results to enlarged veins and pain if felt.
To battle off these pregnancy problems, there are a number of suggestions by obstetrician-gynecologist. One effective remedy to relieve from muscle cramp is to massage the foot or both feet to restore the normal circulation of the blood. There are actually massage centers that cater to the pregnant women. Taking calcium supplements are also advisable so that leg cramps may be minimized.
There are a number of remedies to varicose veins in pregnancy. A compression stocking may be used because it can help improve the circulation on the leg muscle. It is also advisable to take exercises in pregnancy such as walking around the park. Diet is important so it is a must to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber. Water is also important to keep yourself hydrated. When sitting, it is best to sit without crossing your legs and avoid standing in long periods of time. Once in bed, it is best to elevate the foot to that there is a proper return of blood flow in the leg area.