Are you having chronic pain in the lower portion of your leg? This type of pain is common, but mostly amid runners and athletes. Unfortunately, your lower legs or calves withstand the brunt of your daily life.
Because calf injuries present in varied forms, the intricacy of your calf region can make pinpointing and diagnosing the exact cause a bit challenging. However, a correct diagnosis is significant for proper treatment.
Leg Pain Classifications
Primarily, leg pain may be categorized as either:
Also, keep in mind that these classifications can overlap.
Vascular: This type of pain can be due to:
- Varicose Veins
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Varicose Eczema, (correlated skin discoloration)
Musculoskeletal: This type of pain is generally due to:
- Night Cramps
- Stress Fractures
- Compartment Syndrome
- Crepitus – A cracking or popping noise inside your knee
- Arthritis – An autoimmune disease that is known to impact knee, ankle, and hip joints.
For instance, if you strain a tendon, ligament, or muscle, while falling, the associated pain will be musculoskeletal.
Neurological: This type of pain is typically associated with conditions like:
Even while resting, neurological pain can still be problematic. Let’s go ahead and delve into seven medical conditions that can provoke pain in your lower leg.
Causes of Lower Leg Pain
Lower leg pain is typically due to injuries to your:
These types of injuries can lead to:
- Shin Splints
Unlike strains and sprains that comprise injury to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and muscles — shin splints are a result of an injury alongside the inner edge of your tibia.
When the tendons in your calf get inflamed or irritated, it’s called tendonitis. The connective tissue between your bones and muscles is referred to as tendons. Overuse or intense physical activities involving your calf muscles are mainly the cause of tendonitis.
3. Lower Back Pain or Sciatica
Sciatica is a painful disorder that aggravates the nerves that go from your lower spine to your leg. Symptoms include:
- Burning feeling in your leg
Causes of sciatica include:
- A Tumor
- Spinal Stenosis
- Herniated Spinal Disc
4. Muscle Cramps
Involuntary contractions of your calf muscles can trigger muscle cramps, causing intense pain in the injured area. The cramps are tight and sudden, and can be triggered by dehydration or a muscle strain. Those living with thyroid disease, liver disease, diabetes, and fibromyalgia are more vulnerable to muscle cramps.
5. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
PAD is a disease that causes one or more arteries in your leg to become narrowed, which compromises the flow of blood to your leg. Symptoms of PAD can induce cramping in the lower leg that increases with movement. PAD is treatable with a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and regular exercise.
6. Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious and possibly life-threatening disorder that happens when you get a blood clot in your leg. If the clot moves into your lung, a blood vessel can be cut off, which could result in a pulmonary embolism (PE). PE can harm essential organs, like your heart and lungs, and may even contribute to heart failure. Blood thinners are generally prescribed to manage and treat lower leg DVT. Symptoms of lower leg DVT include:
- Severe calf pain
- Redness, and warmth, of your calf
7. Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Chronic Venous Insufficiency happens due to valves in the veins of your leg having suffered damage or is somehow malfunctioning. This hinders the flow of blood from returning to the heart, causing the backward flow of blood into the vein, and collecting in your legs. Symptoms include:
- Leg cramps
- Ankle swelling
- Feeling itchy in your legs
Through a comprehensive physical exam, along with imaging tests, your lower leg pain can be detected and treated.
If you’re tired of dealing with lower extremity pain, and you’re not sure what’s causing it, the pain management providers at Southeast Pain & Spine Care can help. Contact us today at a location near you to get started on a pain-free path to living again. In the meantime, check out our blog right here and follow us on Twitter right here!