Why Do My Legs Ache? Know the Causes and Treatment

If you have been asking the question – why do my legs ache – a lot recently, you are not alone! 

A study done on 25,482 people by the University of California suggests that along with social isolation and loneliness, the COVID pandemic brought leg pain for people to suffer too.

But the Corona virus is not the only reason for leg pain you might be experiencing. There are several other causes of aching legs, and fortunately, there are also ways you can prevent and treat them.

Want to know how? Keep reading!

Why Do My Legs Ache? Here’s The Answer!

Leg pain can be caused by illnesses that affect the joints, bones, ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, or nerves.

It can occur in any portion of the leg. You may experience lower leg pain, pain in the calf muscles of the leg, the foot, ankle, knee, and thighs as well.

Depending on the reason, it might happen at night, when lying down, or while jogging or exercising.

Also, while some of us only experience pain in one leg at a time, leg discomfort can affect both legs too. 

One of the most common reasons behind leg pain is inflammation. Inflammation happens when your body is trying to cope up with an injury or illness. However, inflammation over long periods of time isn’t healthy as it can damage tissues. And this can lead to leg pain.

Another major reason is dehydration. When you drink less water than what your body requires, the bones and joints don’t get the cushioning and lubrication they usually get due to the high water content in your body.

Whatever the reason, having leg pain once in a blue moon is not a serious condition. But if you have it frequently, it’s best to consult a doctor before it gets severe.

Most Common Causes Of Leg Pain

why do my legs ache

Source: adultacutecareclinic.com

1. Radiculopathy

Commonly known as nerve pain, radiculopathy is a condition wherein the nerves in your legs become irritated. 

Usually, this nerve injury happens due to conditions like diabetes or dietary deficits. Depending on the actual cause of the nerve injury, the symptoms may vary. However, achy legs are the first symptom. 

Treatment 

You can try physical therapy, non-steroidal drugs, or narcotic pain medications. But make sure to consult your doctor first.

2. Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle happens due to rolling, twisting, or unusually turning your ankle. 

This results in stretching or tearing of the tight bands of ligament tissue that keeps your ankle bones together.

The degree of a sprained ankle determines the course of treatment. 

Self-care and over-the-counter pain relievers may suffice. But a medical examination may be necessary to assess how seriously you’ve sprained your ankle.

Treatment

Start with an ice pack compression. You can also try yoga or sunbathe for 20 minutes in the morning for some days. These practices will speed up your healing.

3. Cramps

Leg cramps are typically painless but may happen frequently. They occur when the muscles in your legs tighten up and feel unpleasant all of a sudden.

Although they most commonly affect the calf muscles, cramps can affect any area of your leg, including your feet and thighs.

If you find yourself wondering – why do my legs ache at night, cramps are the most possible reason. That’s because when we sleep, our calf muscles get constricted at the time, making them unable to receive proper blood supply with oxygen. Thus leading to cramps.

In fact, you may experience discomfort and soreness in your leg for several hours after the cramping has faded.

Another reason for cramping is dehydration. That’s because with reduced water supply in the body, blood flow also decreases. And since legs aren’t as crucial as the essential organs like the brain, the body doesn’t transfer oxygen and nutrients there.

Treatment

To get relief instantly from a muscle cramp, most people just stretch the corresponding muscle. This means if the cramps are in your thighs or calf muscles, just stand up straight.

You can also try hot or cold treatment to calm down your muscles. And make sure to drink a good amount of water throughout the day.

Not-So-Common Causes Of Achy Legs

why do my legs ache

Source: lafarrerr.com

1. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) 

This disease causes pain in one or both legs. It happens because of a reduction in arterial blood flow to the leg when your artery constricts i.e., reduces in size.

For example, activities like walking or jogging require more oxygen for the muscles. But the arteries being smaller in size, are unable to cope with the demand fast. So, you may experience more discomfort during such activities and hence aching legs for no reason.

The locations of reported discomfort may vary depending on the degree of constriction and the specific muscles affected.

Treatment

Firstly, manage symptoms like leg discomfort so you can go back to doing things you like. You can try pain-relieving sprays and balms.

Secondly, work on the root cause. Try reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke by slowing the growth of peripheral artery disease throughout your body. For this, you will have to focus on your diet, do moderate exercise, and make sure you have your medicines in the correct dose at the right time.

2. Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition wherein one or more joints get inflamed and become tender. It affects the knees and hips. 

Stiffness and fatigue with pain in the joints are the most common symptoms of arthritis.

The root cause of arthritis is inflammation in the joints. This can be due to various reasons like old age, dehydration, and immune system dysfunction.

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common kinds of arthritis which can cause your legs to ache.

Treatment

A doctor may recommend steroids, counterirritants, and NSAIDs to cure arthritis.

You can also try home remedies like oil massage or yoga to find some relief.

Also Read: Healthy Living in 2022: Diet Plans, Fitness Trends, Workout Plans, and Much More

3. Varicose Veins

Veins that get twisted and swollen are varicose veins. They can develop near the skin’s surface (superficial veins) and cause that region to pain.

The condition mostly affects the veins in your legs. That’s because standing and walking raise the pressure in the lower body’s veins, causing them to swell and pain.

Treatment

Start with choosing the correct footwear. If you are overweight, you will have to lose the excess to reduce pressure on your veins. Also, avoid tight clothing and standing or walking for long periods.

If the condition seems to grow still, consult your doctor for medicinal treatment.

How to Prevent Aching Legs?

why do my legs ache

Source: medicalnewstoday.com

  • Practice yoga and exercise regularly.
  • Drink enough water – around eight glasses – daily.
  • Massage your legs with a suitable oil or balm every now and then.
  • Do not stand or walk for an extended period. Take breaks.
  • Eat a nourishing diet that supports your heart, kidney, and liver health. Not taking care of these may lead to conditions like diabetes and obesity that lead to inflammation and increased pressure on your legs.
  • Wear the right kind of footwear. Make sure you put comfort before fashion.
  • If you exercise often or work a field job with a lot of movement, you have a higher chance of injury. Make sure to check your feet for scratches, bruises, and scrapes regularly. This is especially necessary if you have diabetes or anemia, because injuries can lead to excessive blood loss.

Summing Up

Got your answer to “Why do my legs ache”? Well, it’s primarily because of cramps, varicose veins, and sprained ankle. But may also be because of arthritis, radiculopathy, or peripheral artery disease.

Thankfully, preventing achy legs is easy as mentioned above!

Want to know more about such conditions? Comment below!

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