aching legs for no reason

Aching legs for no reason – causes and treatment

The legs are one of the most important parts of the body. They are tasked with carrying and moving the whole body from one place to another.

The legs are used for activities such as running and walking. The over usage of the legs can lead to aching and sometimes these leg aches or pain appear for no reason. Leg aches are a common problem and are caused by many reasons.

These leg aches or pain can be mild or severe. This can affect your ability to walk, run and even stand in most severe cases. 

So, if you have aching legs for no reason then you found the right resource. In this article, we will take a look at the causes of pains or aches in the legs, what causes them and how to treat them so stick around to the end of this article. 

Aching in the legs

Aching in the legs are very common and can sometimes occur constantly or sporadically. They can be either severe or mild. In severe cases, your ability to walk or even stand can be affected.

There are a variety of causes for leg pain. These range from muscle injuries to the muscles, problems with blood vessels and some causes, leg pains can be caused by nerve problems in your spine.

Signs and symptoms of leg ache or pain

Aching or pains in the legs can be mild or severe. They can happen from time to time or even constantly. Leg pain can also be caused by certain activities that you perform or even while your legs are at rest. Your entire legs or a part of your leg can be affected with pain.

The experience of pain can vary greatly and may be described as dull or sharp, aching or stabbing, and burning or tingling. Below are some symptoms of leg pain

  • Stiffness to the leg
  • Bruising
  • Redness
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Buckling of the knees 
  • Cramping
  • Seizing of the muscles
  • Difficulty in standing 
  • Difficulty in walking 

What are the causes of leg pain?

There are many causes of aching in the legs. In this article we will discuss the common causes of leg pain.

Spinal stenosis

This is a condition that occurs when the spaces within the bones in your spine get narrow. That puts pressure on the nerves within the area and may cause pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in your legs.

You also might have trouble with balance. It may be due to congenital diseases or acquired from trauma or degenerative disorders  

Electrolyte imbalance

Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, and calcium that help your muscles work the way they are supposed to. Electrolytes are lost through sweat due to exercise and if you lose too much, your legs can cramp or feel weak or numb. It can happen when you get some medical treatments, like chemotherapy, too.

Cramps 

This is the major or most common cause of leg aches, which are often harmless. Muscle cramps or spasm (often known as a charley horse) usually triggers a sharp pain which is sudden as the muscles in your legs contract. The tightening muscles often form a hard lump beneath the skin which is visible.

There could also be some redness and swelling within the surrounding area. Leg cramps can also be caused by muscle fatigue and dehydration. The main victim of this is usually the calf.

Certain medications, including diuretics and statins, may also cause leg cramps in some people.

Injuries

Another cause of aching in the leg is due to injuries. The following injuries can result in leg pain. 

Stress fractures 

These are tiny breaks in the leg bones, especially those in the shinbone.

Shin splints

This is a condition in which pain is caused along the inner edge of the shinbone or tibia. This type of injury can occur when the muscles located around the shinbone tear as a result of overuse.

Tendonitis 

This is the inflammation ( swelling) of the tendon following an injury to the tendon. Tendons are thick cords that join the muscles to bone and when they become inflamed, it can be difficult to move the affected joint.

Tendonitis often affects tendons in the hamstrings or near the heel bone and this results in joint pain and may affect movement in the tendon. 

Knee bursitis

This is a condition where the sacs of fluid or bursa surrounding the area of the knee joint become inflamed. 

Sciatica

This is a type of leg pain that comes from a pinched nerve (sciatic nerve) in your lower spine. This nerve runs from your lower back to your feet.  It can range from a bad cramp to a strong shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand or even sit.

You might feel it because of a slipped or herniated disk, a slipped vertebra, a spasm of your butt muscles, or spinal stenosis.

Peripheral Neuropathy

This is a condition that occurs as a result of damage to the nerves located in the extremities of the body (peripheral nerves). Extremities here include the hands, arms, legs and feet.  This often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet. It can also affect other areas and body functions including digestion, urination and circulation. The most common cause is diabetes, but other health conditions, medicines, injuries, or infections can cause it. If it affects the nerves in your legs, they might feel prickly or tingly, or they might be numb or weak.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

This is a condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein located deep inside the body.. Deep vein thrombosis usually forms in the lower leg (usually in one leg in the region of the thigh or calf). 

The affected leg gets swollen, with a red or darkened skin around the painful area. The pain is described as cramping or throbbing, and the veins may be visible due to swelling and are painful when touched. 

You should visit the hospital or call emergency lines when you show symptoms of DVT in a leg and you get breathless or have chest pain.

When blood clots in your veins detach and move through your blood to areas in the lung, it can get stuck in there, resulting in pulmonary embolism – this is a medical emergency.

Arthritis 

This is a condition caused by the inflammation of the joints. Arthritis usually causes swelling, pain, and redness in the affected area. It often affects joints in the knees and hips.

Varicose veins

A condition whereby veins that are knotted and enlarged. These veins occur when they are overfilled with blood as a result of inept valves.

They mostly appear as swollen or raised and can be painful. They most frequently occur in the calves and ankles.

Gout 

A type of  inflammatory arthritis that occurs when too much uric acid accumulates in the body. It usually causes pain, swelling, and redness in the feet and lower part of the legs.

Treatment of leg sudden aches

There are many treatment options that can be used to treat sudden leg aches. You can try some of the tips below

  • Applying ice to the affected area of your leg at least 4 times a day can help relieve you of leg pains or aches.
  • Rest your leg as much as possible, and elevate your leg with pillows.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as aspirin  ibuprofen, to help ease discomfort as your leg heals.
  • Wear compression socks or stockings with support.
  • Taking a warm bath too can help with your leg pains

The takeaway from this article

Sudden aches in the legs are very common. They can be mild or severe. In severe causes, kindly seek immediate medical check up or treatment in order to avoid your walking and standing ability from being affected.

References 

D. Hui et al. (eds.), Approach to Internal Medicine: A Resource Book for Clinical Practice, 1 DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-11821-5_1, © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507908/

Melancia JL,Francisco AF,Antunes JL, Spinal stenosis. Handbook of clinical neurology. 2014     [PubMed PMID: 24365318]

Bates, P (1985). Shin splints–a literature review.. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 19(3), 132–137. doi:10.1136/bjsm.19.3.132 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5778510/

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Solomon Kwesi Otchere (Pharmacist)
Pharmacist

Dr. Solomon Kwesi Otchere is a Pharmacist by profession in Ghana. He is passionate about informed healthy lifestyle and diet options necessary for preventing many disease conditions. He also empowers patients and clients to make savvy choices on medications needful to promote good health.

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