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Category Archives: Leg Pain

A woman sitting on the edge of her bed, massaging away pain in lower extremities.

Pain in Lower Extremities: Aches, Stiffness, & Relief

Conditions that affect your arteries and veins — and cause pain in lower extremities — are called vascular diseases or circulatory diseases. Your heart pumps blood through your body via a network of veins and arteries. While the veins and arteries of a healthy individual are elastic vessels that transport blood, veins in particular carry blood from your lower half back to your heart after arteries have transported oxygen-rich blood to those extremities.

The first symptom of vascular disease is usually leg pain, but each person experiences it differently and usually complains of entire lower body aches. There is a wide range of severity when it comes to leg pain. Active or inactive, you may feel the pain at any time. In the beginning, it’s easy to ignore the pain and hope it will disappear on its own. However, you should never ignore any sort of leg pain.


Leg Pain and Other Pain in Lower Extremities

Leg discomfort may also be a symptom of an underlying vascular condition related to pain in lower extremities, especially when you spend all day on your feet. When you are experiencing leg pain, you will no doubt become very uncomfortable. Depending on the severity of your pain, it may range from a dull ache to a sharp shooting sensation. It may be a temporary problem or a chronic one.

Although lower body aches and stiffness are a simple annoyances for many, the pain may affect mobility and quality of life for many others. You should never ignore leg pain, no matter how much you hope the problem will resolve itself.


Peripheral Artery Disease and Pain in Lower Extremities

Resting relieves the pain caused by arterial problems in the large muscles of your lower half. However, plaque buildup can cause pain in lower extremities when those muscles are exerted again. This is where Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) comes into play.

As a result of fatty deposits building up inside the arteries, PAD hardens the arteries in the legs. By stiffening, clogging, and narrowing the arteries, fat deposits reduce oxygenated blood flow to muscles and soft tissues. It is common for the limbs to have poor circulation. Treating the underlying disease (arteriosclerosis for most) improves circulation and reduces or eliminates most symptoms.


PAD and the Rest of Your Body

Temporary Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a condition in which the arteries of the brain and carotid artery harden. Heart disease occurs when the arteries supplying the heart become hardened or clogged. PAD occurs when the leg arteries harden, causing entire lower body aches.

PAD progresses very slowly. Since the same biological processes as heart disease and stroke also cause PAD, the conditions directly connect to each other. If you have PAD, it is likely that arteriosclerosis affects more than just your legs, and you will need medical attention.

There are several symptoms associated with poor circulation. They include numbness, tingling, throbbing pain, and muscle cramps. Intermittent claudication characterizes PAD. Walking causes this to appear. Resting relieves it. The presence of severe pain in lower extremities while at rest may even indicate the disease is progressing. Known as Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI), severe blockages of blood flow to the limbs which causes skin ulcers, sores, and gangrene characterize your pain.


PAD and Smoking

Smoking may increase your risk of vascular disease throughout the entire body, which can also lead to leg amputations. Also, as a result of uncontrolled blood sugar levels, diabetic neuropathy destroys small blood vessels and nerves, increasing the risk of amputation. In the same way that heart disease and stroke are preventable, PAD is also preventable.

Over 200 million people worldwide suffer from Peripheral Artery Disease, again, a condition where leg arteries become blocked, reducing blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Those who get less than five hours of sleep have a 74 percent greater chance of developing peripheral artery disease than those who get seven to eight hours of sleep. This has become the catalyst for lower body aches at night for so many millions of individuals according to a study recently published in European Heart Journal—Open, an academic journal of the European Society of Cardiology.


Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pain in Lower Extremities

Venous blood clots can also block blood flow completely or partially, causing pain in lower extremities. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs or develops in the deep veins of the leg. A clogged vein causes pain, tenderness, swelling, redness, warmth on the leg, and lower body aches and stiffness.

However, while some individuals experience entire lower body aches, many people do not experience any symptoms whatsoever. Some of the causes include major surgery, cancer, inactivity, pregnancy, trauma, hormone replacement therapy, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, obesity, and inherited blood diseases.

An illustration of a blood clot forming and causing pain in the lower extremities.

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is the most serious consequence of DVT. When they travel there, clots direly affect the lungs. It is a life-threatening complication when a pulmonary embolism occurs.

Recent media attention has focused on DVT, so much so that there is a bipartisan effort in Congress to establish an awareness month for DVT and PE. About 900,000 Americans suffer from these conditions each year, and it is estimated that 100,000 Americans die from PE every year. Early detection and treatment of pain in lower extremities can often prevent these deaths.


Chronic Venous Insufficiency and the Pain That Follows

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) results from leg veins failing, causing blood to pool in the legs, pressure to form on the walls of veins, and bad pain in lower extremities. There’s a possibility blood valves can fail due to heredity or damage to the vein after suffering from Deep Vein Thrombosis or a blood clot (see above).

Gravity can aggravate symptoms of mild pain, swelling, and heaviness in the affected leg. Even though there’s no threat of losing your limb, a painful ulcer can develop on the inside of the ankle. These related factors characterize CVI.

Additionally, CVI is a known cause of varicose veins. Pain, burning, and heaviness are symptoms of varicose veins. Inflammation of the vein causes CVI (also known as “phlebitis”) and leads to pain in lower extremities.

You can treat your venous disease by seeing a vascular specialist when and if you have aching legs with swelling at the end of each day, or if you suffer from entire lower body aches. The right experts can help with pain in the thighs, buttocks, and/or claves that rest does not relieve. Either way, you should see a vein specialist if you have CVI symptoms or DVT.

About 40 percent of adults are affected by venous insufficiency. As you age, your chances of developing venous insufficiency increase, especially when it comes to lower body aches at night. Women are also more likely to suffer from it than men.


Don’t Ignore Pain in Lower Extremities

Don’t ignore the pain in lower extremities if you are experiencing these symptoms. You should seek immediate medical attention if you are suffering from any of the above discomforts.

A range of orthopedic leg pain treatment options can treat lower extremity conditions. Through conservative treatments, minimally invasive procedures, or surgery, the right health specialist can offer a variety of treatments, providing medical massage therapy, acupuncture, radiofrequency vein ablation, hip and knee injections, arthroscopy, platelet-rich plasma injections, anesthetic injections, and viscosupplementation injections.

Depending on a patient’s condition and unique circumstances, a customized care plan can be created for entire lower body aches. Pain relief, range of motion improvement, and injury prevention are usually the goals of such a plan. Depending on the severity of the condition, a combination of treatments may be prescribed.

Patient care plans are usually personalized and developed based on their unique conditions and circumstances, as well as their input. Pain relief, range of motion improvement, and injury prevention are always the highest treatment objectives. Based on how bad the condition is, your doctor or health specialist may use a combination of treatments.


Wellness and Pain

When it comes to pain in lower extremities, you’re better off visiting us immediately to pinpoint what’s happening to your legs and body — and your health. Practitioners at Wellness and Pain confidently provide these important evaluations, apply their professional expertise, and offer the caring and sensitive non-invasive testing you need to improve any symptoms you are experiencing.

A woman with nervous legs syndrome awaiting diagnosis in a doctor's office.

Nervous Legs: What They Are and How to Treat Them

Many individuals know what it’s like to have nervous legs at night. As you lie in bed, ready for sleep, your legs start crawling, tingling, or itching just as your body begins to relax. Despite your best efforts, you can’t ignore the uncomfortable sensations, and eventually, you get the urge to move.

After stretching and pacing, you feel relieved for a moment. When you lie down again, your leg spasms start back up.

It’s estimated that one out of ten people suffers from leg spasms, and finding help and support isn’t always easy. There are a lot of people who don’t receive proper treatment for leg spasms. There aren’t many explanations for it, and sufferers are often dismissed simply as “nervous.”

Sometimes you don’t realize how much these distressing symptoms can affect your life until you’ve experienced them yourself. It’s possible that some doctors don’t even take symptoms seriously or realize that leg spasms are real. Meanwhile, twitchy legs are becoming more common and recognized in society. If your legs feel heavy and numb, or you suffer from aching legs, you can find relief through leg muscle spasm treatment.


Nervous Legs: Studies and Facts to Consider

There is a strong genetic component to having nervous legs, according to some studies, with 60 percent of people suffering from it having a family member with it as well. Approximately 40 to 90 percent of patients have a first-degree relative who has the disease, like their parents, siblings, or children. There are a few genetic changes that increase leg spasms, but more are likely to be found.

In a 2021 review published in the journal Sleep Medicine, scientists also found a link between nervous legs and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). While this is just one of dozens of other bodily associations, illnesses, and conditions, there’s still a lot to learn about all of them.

Approximately half of the patients in certain countries experience seasonal exacerbations in spring and summer too. Patients with moderate severity are more likely to experience those seasonal effects.

Regardless of the cause or a number of other associations, there’s help out there. You can calm your jittery legs and enjoy a peaceful and refreshing night’s sleep at home by practicing simple lifestyle changes, implementing self-help remedies, and ultimately getting the right treatment for your leg spasms.


Signs and Symptoms of Nervous Legs

It’s hard to describe nervous legs. You’ll probably feel itchy, tingly, prickly, crawling, burning, pulling, tugging, and aching. There are people who say it feels like bugs crawling up their legs, like a carbonated drink bubbling in their veins, or an itch deep within their bones. There are times when the symptoms are painful, but most of the time they’re just uncomfortable and disturbing.

Leg spasms are neurological. You may not be able to sleep for hours because of these sensations. Anyone can get them, but it’s more prominent in women and older adults. Early adulthood can trigger mild symptoms, which then get worse with age. Symptoms tend to get worse after 50 and can disrupt your sleep quite frequently after that point.

There’s a theory that nervous legs are caused by low iron levels in the brain. Dopamine imbalance is also thought to play a part in it.

Some interesting facts about muscle pain and spasms in legs are:

  • You can experience a strong, often irresistible urge to move your legs, accompanied by uncomfortable sensations deep within them.
  • Symptoms worsen when you rest. Whenever you’re sitting, lying down, or trying to relax, you can experience those uncomfortable leg sensations.
  • Symptoms worsen at night. Nighttime is when nerves flare up. If the symptoms are more severe, they will usually start earlier in the day and get worse at night.
  • When you’re sleeping, your legs twitch or kick. People with nervous legs at night are also more likely to have periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), which involves jerking or cramping of the legs at night.

It should also be noted that in very severe cases, leg spasms can affect your arms too.


Self-Help Tips for Nervous Legs

You can overcome nervous legs by avoiding triggers, such as:

  • Finding out how your body reacts to caffeine. Caffeine triggers nervous legs in some people. However, recent studies show it might actually be good for others. Keep track of your symptoms after cutting out coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
  • Stress management. When you’re anxious and overwhelmed, your symptoms can get worse. Meditation and deep breathing are great ways to keep stress in check.
  • Exercise, but not too much. Getting regular exercise can significantly ease jittery leg symptoms, but be careful not to overdo it, especially close to bedtime. Strenuous exercise can exacerbate leg spasms, so don’t exercise so intensely that your joints or muscles hurt afterward.
  • Getting rid of cigarettes. Cigarettes, vaporizers, and e-cigarettes all contain nicotine, which can impair blood flow to the muscles.
  • Limiting or eliminating alcohol. Be cautious about drinking in the evening if you have leg spasms. In addition to disrupting sleep, alcohol also makes you more likely to wake up with nervous legs.

Get regular exercise and stretches every day, improve your sleep, and avoid long periods of inactivity.


Treatment for Leg Spasms: Your Next Step

Knowing what you want from a visit to your healthcare provider will help you get the most out of finding a remedy for your nervous legs. Make a list of questions you want answered before your visit. Ask your provider questions.  Take notes, if necessary, so you can remember what he says.

If you get a new diagnosis, write it down, along with any new medicine, treatment, or test. If your provider gives you any new instructions, be sure to also write those down. Understand why you’re getting a new medicine or treatment. Make sure you know what the side effects are.

Check if there’s another way to treat your condition. Make sure you know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean. If you choose not to take the medicine or not to have a test or procedure, you should know ahead of time what to expect.

Make a note of the date, time, and purpose of your follow-up appointment. If you have questions after returning home, know how to reach your provider.

Several research papers have found that self-education and using other valuable resources may help patients with nervous legs. This can be used, along with appropriate and targeted treatments for leg spasms, to get better results.

Note that leg spasms can be a lifelong condition that might get worse with age, but some people go into remission and don’t have any symptoms for days to years. Keep your doctor updated on how you’re doing. If you start to feel worse, they might suggest different lifestyle changes or medications. It can help to talk to other people who know what you’re going through, whether it’s a family member who has it or a support group.


Wellness and Pain

When it comes to nervous legs, you’re better off seeing a doctor who truly cares about you and your health. Physical therapy, vein ablation, massage therapy, and acupuncture therapy are vital options you should consider.

Practitioners at Wellness and Pain confidently provide these important evaluations, apply their professional expertise, and offer the caring and sensitive leg muscle spasm treatment you need to improve any symptoms you are experiencing.

Restless leg syndrome causing a woman to kick and stir in her bed.

Restless Leg Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs and a powerful urge to move. Sitting or lying down usually triggers it mostly in the evenings or at night. A way to temporarily feel better is to get up and move around.

Unfortunately, as you get older, RLS gets worse. These sleep disturbances can interfere with your daily life on so many levels.

Thankfully, the right treatment, life changes, and some self-care can help relieve symptoms of RLS leg pain in most patients.


Restless Leg Syndrome: Causes and Risks

In most cases, restless leg syndrome doesn’t really have a known cause. Some think a brain chemical called “dopamine,” which controls muscle movement, may be to blame for the condition.

The condition can also run in families, especially if it starts before the age of 40. A gene for restless legs may be present within certain chromosomes.

Symptoms can also be temporarily worsened by pregnancy or hormonal changes. RLS may strike for the first time during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester. After delivery, symptoms usually go away.

You can get RLS at any age, even as a child. The condition is more common in women as they age than in men. Extreme restless leg syndrome isn’t usually caused by anything serious. It can, however, come with other conditions:

  • Spinal cord disorders: Injuries or damage to the spinal cord can cause restless leg syndrome. The risk of developing RLS is also higher if you’ve had any sort of anesthesia injected into your spinal cord.
  • Kidney failure: Iron deficiency is often accompanied by anemia in people with kidney failure. Iron levels in your blood can drop if your kidneys aren’t working right. RLS may be caused or worsened by this and other changes in body chemistry.
  • Peripheral neuropathy: Often, chronic diseases like diabetes and alcoholism cause nerve damage in both the hands and feet.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: RLS is more common in people with Parkinson’s Disease and those who take a special compound that activates dopamine receptors in treatment of such (called dopaminergic agonists).
  • Lack of iron: Even without any sort of anemia being present, iron deficiency can worsen or cause RLS. In some cases an iron deficiency may be caused by bleeding from the stomach or bowels, heavy menstrual periods, or donating blood too frequently.


The Bewildering Enigma of Restless Leg Syndrome

According to research, many Americans suffer from restless leg syndrome, along with a handful of sleep disorders or similar characteristics.

According to a 2020 research paper from the National Library of Medicine, 70 percent of American adults don’t get enough sleep at least one night a month, and 11 percent don’t get enough sleep every single night. On top of these facts about the general population, it’s good to note that:

  • Jerking leg syndrome affects about 15 percent of the U.S. population.
  • Because RLS has multiple causes and varies so much in response to treatments, it’s always been a challenge to manage.
  • No matter your family history, you can get RLS at any age.
  • Symptoms, causes, and implications for patients of “primary restless leg syndrome” and “secondary restless leg syndrome” can be similar, but there are some notable differences as well.
  • Acupuncture, light therapy, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and transcutaneous spinal direct current stimulation can often largely reduce RLS symptoms.
  • Kicking leg syndrome often occurs with another sleep disorder called Periodic Limb Movement of Sleep (PLMS), characterized by periodic episodes of repetitive, stereotyped leg movement during sleep. According to the studies, around 80 percent of people with RLS have PLMS. The movements associated with PLMS often consist of flexion or extension at the ankle. In some cases, this may also occur at the knee, or it may occur on one side, or go back and forth between the left and right sides.

Given these facts, the symptoms of restless leg syndrome are even more interesting.


Restless Leg Syndrome Symptoms

Leg twitching is the main symptom of restless leg syndrome. Restless sensations that often start while you’re sleeping characterize RLS. Most people get this feeling after lying down or sitting for a long time, like in a car or a plane.

Movement can also relieve symptoms. Stretching, shaking the legs, pacing or walking helps RLS leg pain symptoms. However, it’s also possible for symptoms to get worse in the evening. Nighttime leg twitching, unfortunately, can be a common symptom. It can be associated with periodic limb movement of sleep, which causes the legs to twitch and kick while you sleep, possibly all night long.

Symptoms of RLS include unpleasant sensations in the legs or feet. It will usually happen on both sides. Arms, however, are usually less affected. Nonetheless, symptoms include itching, pulling, crawling, throbbing, creeping, aching, and electric sensations, which generally happen inside the limb rather than on the skin. It may sometimes be hard to even explain the sensations. Patients consistently describe and report leg movement, but they do not typically report muscle cramps and numbness as symptoms.

The severity of symptoms from restless legs changes a lot. What’s even more interesting is, symptoms can disappear for a while before returning.


How to Alleviate the Symptoms

A sleeping disorder like restless leg syndrome can be made worse by personal habits. There may be times when they’re a big part of the problem. You can reduce symptoms and sleep better by trying some (or all) of the following tips, or go further by exploring RLS treatment. For now, the tips include:

  • Massage your legs regularly.
  • Get some exercise every day.
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Stretch your legs every morning and evening.
  • Avoid using your bed for anything but sleeping or sexual activity.
  • Request a blood test to evaluate how your kidneys and iron may be functioning.
  • Do your best not to worry about anything at bedtime.
  • Before going to sleep, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
  • Always let your doctor know what medications you’re taking.
  • Before going to sleep, soak your legs in warm water.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal before bedtime.
  • Work on keeping a regular sleep schedule.

Consider severe RLS treatment when you have tried nearly everything possible in your own power to alleviate your restless leg syndrome.


When to See a Doctor for Restless Legs Syndrome

The fear of not being taken seriously makes some people never seek medical attention for restless leg syndrome. However, since RLS leg pain can interfere with your sleep and make you drowsy during the day, it is also affecting your quality of life. Get checked out by your doctor if you think you might have RLS.

If your diagnosis is positive, write down the name of the RLS treatment or test. Keep a note of any new instructions you get from your doctor. Make it a priority to know why you’re getting a new medicine or treatment. Also, make sure you know the side effects. You may wish to ask your doctor if there’s another way to treat your condition.

Know why you’re seeing a health specialist for RLS and what you expect from that visit. Make a list of questions you want answered before your visit. You may wish to have someone else present with you during the visit so they can help you remember what your doctor says.

Understand why a restless leg syndrome test or procedure is suggested and what the results mean. If you choose not to take the medicine or not to have a test or procedure, know what to expect. Make a note of your follow-up appointment date, time, and purpose. Make sure you know how to get in touch with your provider.


Wellness and Pain

When it comes to restless leg syndrome, it’s best to see a specialist or doctor who truly cares about your health. Oftentimes, our Wellness and Pain practitioners will recommend and offer radiofrequency ablation, which uses energy to heat inside the vessel walls, causing damaged vessels to close. We also use sclerotherapy to close off problem vessels with a foam that causes scarring. Injecting this foam into these vessels allows blood to flow to healthy ones.

Our services include vein ablation, massage therapy, acupuncture, and IV hydration. Wellness and Pain practitioners provide these important evaluations, apply their professional expertise, and offer the caring and sensitive RLS treatment you need.

A woman bending over to massage her swollen legs caused by standing all day.

Swollen Legs

5 Common Causes of Swollen Legs + An Alarming One

The term “Swollen Legs” is a multitasker. It refers to a variety of conditions that all revolve around one commonality: Fluid build-up (But more on this later).

Regardless of the exact condition, swollen legs can be a sign of substantially worse problems waiting for you down the road. Not to mention the discomfort you might be bearing right now. Symptoms like swelling, stiffness, numbness, and tingling are just the start. In severe cases, the skin becomes stretched, ulcers appear, and difficulties standing and walking become prevalent.

Swollen legs can sneak up on you. After all, we’re always going somewhere—Always doing something—and it can be easy to brush off the little things. However, it won’t be easy to brush off the big ones.

Here are some common causes of swollen legs:

  1. Fluid Build-Up
  2. Prolonged Sitting or Standing
  3. Injury or Trauma
  4. Blood Clots
  5. Venous Insufficiency
  6. Heart Failure


Fluid Build-Up and Swollen Legs

The technical term for fluid build-up is “Edema.” It’s a condition characterized by an excess of watery fluid collecting in the tissues and cavities of your body. This watery fluid is just that: Water. Well, for the most part. It varies based on which underlying condition caused it and often contains blood plasma, interstitial fluid (The fluid that surrounds your cells), and other proteins.

What can complicate edema, even more, is how skin does not swell with it; it’s your tissue beneath the skin that swells, not the skin itself. Your skin is forced to stretch and make room for it. This causes a range of secondary symptoms that lessen the quality of your life just as much as the edema does. Things like dryness and itching are precursors to ulcers and sores.

Temporary fixes for swollen legs caused by fluid build-up are limited. Not to mention, they’re reactive. Not proactive. These don’t prevent swollen legs. They only alleviate the symptoms, things like massages or elevating the legs.

Fluid build-up is a big deal and is often at the core of most other conditions involving swollen legs.


Prolonged Sitting or Standing

It’s been said before, here at Wellness and Pain, “The human body was made to move.” When you don’t move enough, issues arise. Prolonged periods of sitting or standing can cause swollen legs. They impede the normal flow of blood and fluids throughout your body. Whether you experience leg swelling after sitting at a desk all day or tired legs from standing all day, what comes down must go up… Or was it the other way around?

Anyway, your heart is always working, always sending blood down your extremities, and trying to pull it back up. When you move, this is easy. When you don’t, the flow of blood and fluid in the legs becomes impeded, which causes fluid to accumulate in those tissues and cavities. Your legs can become achy and tired. They can feel painful and heavy.

Temporary fixes for swollen legs caused by prolonged sitting or standing include movement and exercise. Compression stockings also help alleviate swelling. Again, these are only after the fact.


Swollen Legs from Injury or Trauma

Even if you don’t suffer chronically from swollen legs, you can still be susceptible to them. Anyone can.

Acute injury or trauma to your legs can damage the lymphatic system and blood vessels—Your lymphatic system is the network of organs and vessels throughout your body responsible for aiding your immune system. It also drains lymph (The colorless fluid containing white blood cells that coats your tissues) into your bloodstream. So, pretty important.

Inflammation can trigger greater blood flow and fluid leakage in the affected area, resulting in more swelling. More swelling can mean more inflammation. And so on. In worst cases, blood clots can form, either partially or completely halting the flow of blood in that area. However, just because blood stops flowing doesn’t mean fluids stop leaking. It only gets worse.

Temporary fixes for swollen legs caused by injury and trauma can be tricky. Applying ice or a cold compress can help. So can rest. Of course, seek help from a healthcare professional.

Blood Clots

Though blood clots can have various causes, from pre-existing conditions to injury or trauma, they often result in a shared symptom: Swollen legs (More specifically the affected leg). A blood clot (Thrombus) is a gel-like clump of blood that is typically the last step in coagulation. These are good when they occur in the right places. A vein is not one of them.

An illustrative depiction of a blood clot blocking a vein in swollen legs.

They block the flow of blood, causing fluid to accumulate and pressure to build. The affected area and surrounding tissues can swell, become discolored and warm, and radiate pain. Your veins can become visibly enlarged.

IMPORTANT: Blood clots are serious, and they have no temporary fixes. You must seek medical attention immediately, as blood clots in your legs can be potentially life-threatening.

Venous Insufficiency and Swollen Legs

“Venous insufficiency” might sound like a complicated term. It’s not. Let’s break it down. “Venous” simply refers to your veins, and “Insufficiency” is the same as “Inadequate” or “Lacking.” It means the veins in your legs aren’t quite what they used to be.

Normally blood is circulated through your heart and into the rest of your body. Your legs actually have valves within their vessels that assist in re-circulating that blood back to your heart. After all, that’s a long way to travel against gravity—Think of them as little pit stops. As time passes, they can wear out, not working the same. Blood and waste products that need to be filtered begin to accumulate in your legs. Soon, you may notice your legs are swollen, fatigued, and feel abnormally heavy.

As with swollen legs caused by blood clots, there is no temporary fix for venous insufficiency. The problem is too far gone. You may alleviate symptoms, but medical attention is required.


Bonus: Heart Failure

Yes, heart failure. It sounds like a serious thing, and that’s because it is. Thankfully, it doesn’t solely refer to your heart suddenly stopping. It refers to your heart being unable to pump effectively. If your heart can’t pump effectively, it can’t pull all that blood and waste from your legs.

This can lead to stasis (Pooling of blood) in your legs, causing them to swell and feel tight or heavy. It’s not always the case, but swollen legs can certainly be an early sign of heart failure.

A while back, The National Library of Medicine put out an article on the warning signs and symptoms of heart disease. In it, they say, “Swelling (edema) in your lower legs is another sign of a heart problem. When your heart doesn’t work as well, blood flow slows and backs up in the veins in your legs. This causes fluid to build up in your tissues. You may also have swelling in your stomach or notice some weight gain.” (Warning signs and symptoms of heart disease: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia)


A Permanent Fix for Swollen Legs

So yeah, the term “Swollen Legs” is a multitasker. With so many causes, conditions, and concerns, it can be easy to get lost in the sea of temporary fixes. It can be treated after the fact, right? They’re only symptoms. But what happens when you’ve treated them so many times you don’t know what else to do? What happens when the symptoms become too far gone? What if there are no temporary fixes?

With so much on the line, it’s important to know there is a solution right for you. There’s a healthcare specialist waiting who can get to the root of your symptoms. You don’t have to troubleshoot anymore, and you don’t have to treat after the fact. No more guessing. There is a swollen legs treatment that works.

Severe leg cramps causing a woman to stop walking and massage her ankle.

Severe Leg Cramps

Severe Leg Cramps and Where They Can Occur

Asking someone where severe leg cramps can occur might seem like a silly thing to do. But there’s more to it—Actually, there’s a lot more. These sudden and intense episodes of pain are utterly debilitating. Oftentimes, they’re accompanied by tightness and spasms and can feel like someone is twisting your leg into impossible knots. Your entire body is affected, making it difficult to move. You are not the only one either. The Medical University of South Carolina recently put out a newsletter stating, “It is estimated that 60 percent of adults have cramps from time to time.” They further explain that “The frequency increases as we age.” (Muscle Cramps & Spasms)

So, let’s get to the meat of the matter!

You are right. Of course, severe leg cramps occur in the legs. More specifically, the muscles of the legs, and there are a lot of them. In fact, the largest muscle of the human body can be found there. You might be sitting on it right now. It is the gluteus maximus! If that wasn’t enough, the longest muscle can be found there too—You won’t be sitting on this one. It’s the sartorius, a thin muscle that runs down the upper thigh. Not to mention all the other intricate muscles that work to support your hips, knees, and ankles.

Here’s where most people report having severe leg cramps, from the most common to the least:

  • Thighs
  • Inner legs
  • Hamstrings
  • Feet (Yes, the feet too)

The human body was made to move, to go places and do things. It is the legs that make that happen. All the more reason to understand their major muscle groups, how they work together, and exactly where your cramp might be occurring.

Thigh Cramps

The thigh is an absolute powerhouse. More muscle means more chance for severe leg cramps. Made up of numerous key muscles that work together to not only facilitate movement and stabilize lower extremities, the primary ones are the:

  • Quadriceps femoris
  • Hamstrings (Even more on this later)
  • Adductors

The quadriceps femoris (“Quad” for short) is a large muscle group located at the front of your thigh. It’s responsible for extending your knee and straightening your leg. The hamstrings are located in the exact opposite place: The back of your thigh. They are responsible for flexing your knee and bending your leg. Finally, the adductors are a group of muscles located on the inner portion of your thigh and are connected to your pelvis. They work in unison to bring your legs back center.

Highlighted muscles of the upper and lower leg in motion before sustaining severe leg cramps.

Whether it be walking, running, or jumping—Anything, really—these key muscles work together in a beautifully coordinated way. They are what propels your body forward. The quad extends your knee, and your foot pushes off the ground. Then, your hamstring works to slow the subsequent descent of your body. All the while, your adductors maintain your balance in preparation for the next step.


Inner Leg Cramps

Just like the thigh, the inner leg contains several key muscles that work together harmoniously to control the movement of your ankles and knees. On top of that, they specialize in stabilizing your ankles and knees. Some of the primary muscles susceptible to severe leg cramps are the:

  • Tibialis anterior
  • Soleus
  • Gastrocnemius
  • Plantaris

Located on the front of your shin, the tibialis anterior is responsible for two very fancy-sounding movements. The first, dorsiflexion (Lifting the foot upward). The second, inversion (Turning the foot inward). The soleus is located just under your gastrocnemius (Or the larger calf muscle). It helps with plantar flexion (Which is pointing your foot downward). The gastrocnemius also helps with this. Finally, the plantaris is a small, slender muscle that runs between the soleus and gastrocnemius, helping with the same movements.

FUN FACT: The plantaris is commonly considered to be a vestigial (Accessory) muscle and is often harvested for tendon grafts elsewhere in the body.

These key muscles work together in controlling and stabilizing the movement of your knees and ankles. The tibialis anterior and soleus work nonstop to control what direction your foot points. At the same time, the gastrocnemius and plantaris work to ensure you have the power needed for sudden movements.


Hamstring Cramps

Like a lot of muscle groups that are often referred to as just one muscle, the hamstring is an entire group of them. They’re located on the back of your thigh and work together to produce movement by coordinating strength and stability between your hips and knees. They are the:

  • Biceps femoris
  • Semitendinosus
  • Semimembranosus

The biceps femoris is the most lateral muscle of the group (Or the one furthest away from the center of your body and inner thigh). It acts on both the hip and the knee. The semitendinosus is just one step over and is responsible for hip extension and knee flexion. Then the semimembranosus is the largest and most medial muscle of the hamstrings (Or the one closest to the center of your body and inner thigh). It also helps with hip extension and knee flexion.

When these muscles contract, they work together to produce movement at the hip and knee joints. For example, when running, the hamstrings contract to extend the hip and flex the knee. This allows your leg to swing backward into the next phase of the gait cycle (The time between two steps). Sustaining severe leg cramps here will bring your day to a screeching halt.


Severe Leg Cramps in the Legs and Feet

If you thought the legs were complex, just wait. The foot has numerous muscles that work together to deliver stability, support, and flexibility to your foot and lower leg. They can be susceptible to severe leg cramps too. Some of them we have already talked about. Others are new. They are the:

  • Tibialis anterior
  • Gastrocnemius
  • Soleus
  • Peroneus longus and brevis
  • Flexor digitorum longus
  • Extensor digitorum longus

The peroneus longus and brevis wrap around the outside of your lower leg and foot. They are responsible for everting your foot (Or turning it upward). They also assist in dorsiflexion. The flexor digitorum longus and extensor digitorum longus are located deep within the calf. They run down the length of the lower leg and connect to the foot. However, they do two vastly different jobs. The flexor digitorum longus helps to flex your toes, while the extensor digitorum helps to extend them.

These muscles play a crucial role—If not the most crucial role—in maintaining balance and stability. This is especially true when you walk on uneven or rocky surfaces. Not to mention, they provide natural shock absorption that helps to protect the bones, joints, and tissues of your entire body.

By working together in an intricately coordinated way, the muscles of your foot provide the foundation for movement for all your lower extremities. Severe leg cramps throw a wrench in that.

Severe leg cramps causing a woman to stop walking and massage her ankle.

Treatment for Severe Leg Cramps

Understanding the major muscle groups of your legs, how they work together, and exactly where your leg cramp might be occurring is integral in determining the best course of action and treatment for severe leg cramps. Many of these muscle groups are interconnected and dramatically dependent on each other. A cramp in one can send a rippling effect throughout the others. This causes a severe detriment to the quality of your life and your enjoyment of it.

You were made to go places and do things, to experience life at its fullest. So don’t let something treatable get in your way. Don’t let it slow you down. And never, under any circumstances, let it make you stop moving.

ANY and ALL leg muscle cramps can be treated with the proper information and a caring specialist.

Painful legs cause a woman to massage her calf at the edge of her bed.

Painful Legs

Painful Legs: 5 Symptoms and Why They Shouldn’t be Ignored

Painful legs, it’s such a generic term. However, it has a lot of meaning. It means even more for the quality of your life. Although a lot of its symptoms overlap each other, they’re still different and need to be treated as such:

  • Burning
  • Aching
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • And Soreness

In today’s modern age, everything is go-go-go. From school to work, family, and friends, everyone needs you and there’s always something that needs to be done. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find time for yourself, let alone seek treatment for something that you might’ve been living with for a very long time. After all, not a lot of us regularly ask, “Why do my legs hurt?”

Other times, the very prospect of treatment can be daunting. The Washington Post even put out an article stating, “We procrastinate on tasks we find ‘difficult, unpleasant, aversive or just plain boring or stressful.’ If a task feels especially overwhelming or provokes significant anxiety, it’s often easiest to avoid it.” (Haupt, 2021)

The fact is this: Treatment for painful legs doesn’t have to be… Well, painful. You’re worth taking care of. If not, who’s going to be there for the people who need you most? Who’s going to do what only you can? But action needs to be taken sooner rather than later. Here are five common symptoms of painful legs, what you need to know about them, and what you should do next.


Burning Leg Pain

Burning in the legs is a wide-reaching symptom of painful legs that refers to the sensations of heat, warmth, or pain in the legs. Some people even describe it as a tingling or numbness, while others say it’s more like a sharp, stabbing pain. It can be constant or intermittent, and the feeling itself can range in intensity from mild discomfort to severe pain either localized to a specific area or felt throughout both legs. It may be accompanied by other symptoms and has the potential of getting worse at night or during physical activity.


Aching Pain in Both Legs

Aching pain in both legs can feel like a dull, persistent pain that oftentimes feels impossible to find or reach. It can be felt almost anywhere, from your muscles to your bones and joints, and can be localized to a specific area or be felt throughout the entirety of both legs. It may be accompanied by fatigue, weakness, or cramping. As with other symptoms, the pain can get worse with physical activity or prolonged sessions of standing or sitting. It can also be intensified by certain weather conditions, such as humidity or cold.


Chronic Painful Legs and Stiffness

Like aching pain in both legs, chronic leg pain and stiffness is a persistent and long-term discomfort that doesn’t just happen overnight. Rather, it grows and gradually becomes worse. Sometimes, you become so used to it it’s hard to recognize it anymore. It’s characterized by most as deep, achy, or dull pain, often giving rise to stiffness and a reduced range of motion in either one or both legs, and even the rest of the body. The pain may be felt in the muscles, bones, or joints, and can be localized to a specific area or be felt throughout the leg. Again, it can unintentionally be made worse with physical activity or prolonged sessions of standing or sitting.


Chronic Painful legs and Weakness

Chronic leg pain and weakness is typically where one’s quality of life takes a dramatic turn for the worse, regarding painful legs. You literally can’t do as much as you could before and it’s simply because you lack the strength. Of course, chronic leg pain and weakness is persistent and long-term, but it’s also accompanied by reduced muscle strength and difficulty in performing daily activities. The pain can be dull, achy, or sharp, and can be felt in the muscles, bones, or joints. It may be accompanied by stiffness and decreased range of motion. The lack of strength can truly be felt when trying to stand, walk, or climb stairs. This pain and weakness can affect the quality of life and make it difficult to perform daily activities.


Chronic Muscle Soreness in Legs

Chronic muscle soreness in the legs is characterized by persistent and long-term discomfort or pain specifically in the muscles of the legs—And there are A LOT of muscles in your legs. This soreness can be described as a deep ache, tenderness, or stiffness, and it may be accompanied by overall weakness, fatigue, or cramping. As always, it can be localized to a specific area or be felt throughout both legs and can be intensified by physical activity or prolonged sessions of standing or sitting. It can also be made worse by a lack of physical activity or poor posture.


How the Human Body Responds to Painful Legs

The human body is an incredible thing, designed for survival in almost every way. As such, it can adapt to a negative stimulus, especially if it starts small and is drawn out over a long period of time. However, adapting to leg pain—Or, even ignoring it—isn’t dealing with it. It’s only allowing it to get worse. Allowing it to get worse leads to greater complications down the road.

Any time you experience any sort of leg pain, it can cause you to inadvertently change your gait or stride, which can quickly lead to an uneven distribution of your weight across your body, causing greater stress on your lower back and spine. This subsequently causes the muscles in your lower back to overcompensate for the pain in your legs, leading to further muscle strain and tension. It can also cause the spine to become misaligned, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility.

Athlete stops running and holds back due to discomfort caused by painful legs.

Uneven strides can cause one leg to bear more weight than the other. This is likely to lead to uneven wear and tear on the joints in your lower back and spine, which can cause degeneration and wear and tear over time. These complications aren’t just physical either. They’re mental and emotional. They’re cyclical.

The Importance of Seeking Treatment for Painful Legs

Any sort of perceived stress placed on your body can send you into a sort of low-level state of fight-or-flight. Staying in this state of fight-or-flight releases more of the neurochemical transmitters that add stress to your body. This stress and these transmitters then have the potential to increase the inflammation already experienced by your body. All of this is commonly associated with increased instances of fluctuating mood, emotional instability, and even experiencing anxiety and depression, which then turn in on themselves to create deeper cycles of pain, fight-or-flight, stress, and so on. These cycles are incredibly hard to break. This combined with what you’re already experiencing can be unbearable. You don’t need to go through it alone.

So, if you suffer from any of these symptoms of leg pain, know there’s a way to treat it. It doesn’t have to get worse, and it certainly doesn’t have to affect the quality of your life. You’re worth taking care of. The first step is simple: See a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of your leg pain.

Covered by Most Insurances and Most Unions

Wellness and Pain accepts most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the major insurance plans we accept. If you do not see your insurance plan listed, please call our office to confirm.

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