Leg pain can come from a variety of causes. Your healthcare professional has specific ways to discover if the cause is P.A.D. Other non-P.A.D. common causes of leg pain may include:
- A muscle cramp (also called a charley horse), frequently caused by the following:
- Dehydration or low amounts of potassium, sodium, calcium, or magnesium in the blood
- Medications, such as diuretics, which can cause you to lose too much fluid or minerals
- Muscle fatigue or strain from overuse, too much exercise, or holding a muscle in the same position for a long time
- Injuries caused by:
- A torn or overstretched muscle (strain)
- Hairline crack in the bone (stress fracture)
- Inflamed tendon (tendinitis)
- Shin splints—pain in the front of your leg related to overuse or repetitive pounding
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in the large, deep veins of the leg. This clot can interfere with blood flow. In some circumstances, a part of the clot may break off and travel through the bloodstream (embolize). The dislodged blood clot (embolus) can travel to the lungs, brain, or other organs, causing severe damage.
- Infection of the bone (osteomyelitis) or skin and soft tissue
- Inflammation of the leg joints by arthritis or gout
- Nerve damage—common in diabetics, smokers, and alcoholics (symptoms include numbness, tingling, or a sensation of pins-and-needles)
- Varicose veins—swollen and twisted veins that are visible just under the surface of the skin
- Spinal stenosis—narrowing in the spine, causing pressure on the nerves and spine, with resulting numbness and pain
- Lumbar disease
Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
- Does my medical history raise my risk for P.A.D.?
- Do I need to do anything about my blood glucose, blood pressure, or cholesterol?
- Which screening tests or exams are right for me?
- If I have P.A.D., what steps should I take to treat it?
- What steps can I take to reduce my risk for heart attack and stroke?
- What can I do to quit smoking?
To Find Out More
For more information about P.A.D. and to download free education materials, visit:
- Stay in Circulation: Take Steps to Learn About P.A.D.,
- NHLBI Diseases and Conditions Index:
- P.A.D. Coalition: