Leg Pain

Why does my leg hurt?

Pain in the upper leg and lower leg are common problems. Leg pain can present itself as a sharp, stabbing sensation or simply a dull ache. Sprains and strains are common causes of leg pain, often from overuse of the leg muscles during sports or other exercises. Pain in the quadriceps, groin, and hamstrings are especially common in athletes who rely on speed in their sport such as sprinters, soccer players, football players, rugby players, lacrosse players, and basketball players. Though quite common, these muscular injuries are often easily treatable through leg therapy. Other areas in the upper leg and lower leg that are susceptible to pain are the calves, shins, and knees.

Symptoms of leg pain:

  • Pain when stretching or flexing thigh muscles
  • Broken blood vessels on leg
  • Bruising on the leg
  • Leg swelling
  • Weak legs
  • Muscle spasms in the leg

Possible reasons for leg pain:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Leg ulcers
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Sports injuries
  • Sciatica
  • Meniscus tear
  • Tibial fractures
  • Blood clot in the leg
  • Arthritis in the leg
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Tendinitis
  • Gout
  • Surgical procedure
  • Nerve damage in the leg
  • Muscle cramps (charley horse)
  • Acute leg injury
  • Slipped disc (herniated disc)
  • Varicose veins
  • Dehydration
  • Overuse of leg muscles
  • Torn leg muscle
  • Inflamed leg tendon
  • Shin splints

If you’re experiencing severe pain in the leg contact your doctor and Ivy Rehab to schedule a physical therapy session today!

  • Q: Is physical therapy effective in treating leg pain?
    Leg pain can be generated from many different sources: an abnormal foot posture and walking pattern; a loss of flexibility in the hip; an alignment issues in the knee or kneecap tracking, and even directly from a pinched nerve or problem in the back. There is no one solution for leg pain, so a physical therapy diagnosis and treatment plan is the best way to seek expert care quickly. Leg physical therapy can range from compression therapy to manual therapy. Depending on the patient's specific injury, a personalized physical therapy treatment plan will be curated by the PT.
  • Q: What sort of exercises can I do at home to treat my leg pain?
    It depends on the source of pain. If the leg pain is from the low back, often times the PT will instruct in progressive back exercises to provide space for the nerve to move freely. Some leg pain requires hip strengthening and re-balancing, or stretching to relieve pressure on a nerve that supplies the whole leg. It is best to have an individualized approach to any exercise with the guidance of a physical therapist to maximize pain relief.
  • Q: My leg pain seems to come and go. Is physical therapy right for me?
    If your pain is coming and going, then the source needs to be quickly discovered so it doesn't become constant and a reoccurrence can be prevented. A physical therapist can quickly determine the source of the problem and work with your physician to alleviate the pain and restore full function.
  • Q: Are there any quick remedies to temporarily relieve leg pain?
    If a leg injury is recent - within the last 48 hours - cold or ice packs may minimize swelling for the first 72 hours. If a hip or leg is stiff and painful with no clear injury, moist heat applied (caution with burns) for 15-20 minutes at a time to increase blood circulation. If there is no reason to immobilize the leg (such as pending x-rays after trauma or dislocation) performing ankle pumps to prevent blood clots and keep the nerves gliding and circulation pumping are a good idea as long as pain is not increased. Seek attention from a physical therapist or physician when possible.
  • Q: Is my leg pain related to the discomfort I have in my knees and hips?
    Any joint pain - such as in the knee joint or hip joint - can cause an irritation in a nerve that will result in pain above or below the joint, even without injury. Sometimes this worsens over time, so early intervention is best to prevent the entire leg from becoming painful.

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