Leg pain affects millions of people for different reasons, and often it subsides on its own or after minimal treatment. But if your pain lingers for months or years with no obvious cause, even after receiving medical care, then you may be experiencing a condition known as chronic leg pain.
What Is Leg Pain?
Leg pain can be continual or irregular, come on suddenly or slowly, and harm your entire leg or a certain area, like your knee or your shin. It can take several forms, with people who experience it adding the descriptors of aching, dull, sharp, stabbing or tingling. Some leg pain is merely irritating, but more serious leg pain can restrict your ability to walk or stand on your leg. Thankfully, ketamine therapy may lessen the discomfort.
When Does It Become Chronic?
By definition, leg pain becomes chronic when it persists all day, most days, for more than six months – even long after an initial injury has healed, or you’ve recovered from a surgical or other medical procedure. One of the biggest things to know about chronic pain is that it’s very common, reported each year by more than three million Americans. Though chronic pain is self-diagnosable, therapy or other treatment only happens after an official diagnosis.
What Causes Chronic Leg Pain?
Like other kinds of pain, chronic leg pain is often mysterious and hard to diagnose. Doctors or therapists may determine it’s caused by problems with bones, joints, nerves, and muscles.
- A muscle cramp can strike at any time. This unexpected, tight, extreme lower leg pain is sometimes known as a “charley horse.” When it hits, it can worsen quickly. It occurs when your muscles are dehydrated or tired.
- Shin splints often run up the front of the calf. The muscles and skin along the perimeter of the shin bone become swollen, so it’s painful to jump, run, or walk. Repeated activity on a hard surface can trigger this kind of pain. Shin splints are more likely if you’re flatfooted, or your feet go outward.
- Tendinitis. A tell-tale sign of an inflamed Achilles tendon is discomfort in your lower calf, toward the back of your heel. It’s a frequent injury that makes the tendon stretch, swell, or tear. It can be triggered by overworking your calf muscle or continually using flights of stairs, and can persist for a long time.
- Broken bones or sprains, from an accident or intense physical activity like contact sports.
- Veins and blood clots. When your blood gels in a vein and clusters together, it can result in a clot. If such a clot develops in a vein deep inside your body, the condition is called deep vein thrombosis. Many deep-vein blood clots occur in the thigh or lower leg. They’re more likely to occur during long periods of inactivity, such as traveling on a long car ride or a long flight. Other risk factors include being overweight, smoking, or relying on certain medications.
- Varicose veins, which often are visible at the surface of the skin. They look like twisted, purple or dark blue veins, and are the result of vein walls and weak valves. You may experience a dull ache, especially after you stand up.
- Lower-extremity peripheral arterial disease, caused by arteries in your legs becoming damaged and hardened. As arteries narrow or get blocked, your legs are denied the blood flow they need. That can result in lower leg cramps and feeling pain when you climb stairs, walk, or do other kinds of exercise, all because your muscles aren’t getting sufficient blood.
- Stenosis and sciatica. A general cause of a constricted spinal canal is spinal arthritis. Sometimes a herniated disc adds pressure to close nerve roots, resulting in symptoms of sciatica like burning, cramping pain when standing or sitting, deadness, fatigue, tingling, and general weakness.
- Diabetic neuropathy is a widespread problem of diabetes. Nerves can get harmed from high blood sugar levels, resulting in pain in both legs along with less sensation and numbness in your lower legs.
Luckily, many symptoms associated with chronic leg pain can be treated with therapy, certain kinds of medicine, and ketamine treatment.
If you suffer from chronic leg pain, managing the symptoms may begin with a diagnosis by a medical doctor or clinician. You can expect to undergo different kinds of lab tests and examinations and should provide your doctor with as much information about the pain as you can remember, such as when it started, if it was preceded by an injury or surgery, and other details. Contact us today to learn more about our innovative treatments!