Leg pain


Leg pain can be constant or intermittent, develop suddenly or gradually, and affect your entire leg or a localized area, such as your shin or your knee. It can also take a number of forms — stabbing, sharp, dull, aching or tingling. Some leg pain is simply annoying, but more-severe leg pain can affect your ability to walk or to put weight on your leg.


Most leg pain results from wear and tear, overuse, or injuries in joints or bones or in muscles, ligaments, tendons or other soft tissues. Some types of leg pain can be traced to problems in your lower spine. Leg pain can also be caused by blood clots, varicose veins or poor circulation. Some common causes of leg pain include:

  1. Achilles tendinitis
  2. Achilles tendon rupture
  3. ACL injury
  4. Baker’s cyst
  5. Bone cancer
  6. Broken leg
  7. Bursitis
  8. Chondromalacia patella
  9. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
  10. Claudication
  11. Deep vein thrombosis
  12. Fibromyalgia
  13. Gout
  14. Growing pains
  15. Growth plate fractures
  16. Hamstring injury
  17. Herniated disk
  18. Infection
  19. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  20. Knee bursitis
  21. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  22. Torn meniscus
  23. Muscle cramp
  24. Night leg cramps
  25. Osgood-Schlatter disease
  26. Osteoarthritis
  27. Osteochondritis dissecans
  28. Osteomyelitis
  29. Paget’s disease of bone
  30. Patellar tendinitis
  31. Peripheral neuropathy
  32. Posterior cruciate ligament injury
  33. Posterior tibial tendon rupture
  34. Pseudogout
  35. Rheumatoid arthritis
  36. Sciatica
  37. Shin splints
  38. Spinal stenosis
  39. Sprains and strains
  40. Stress fractures
  41. Tendinitis
  42. Thrombophlebitis
  43. Varicose veins


Call for immediate medical help or go to the emergency room if you:

  • Have a leg injury with a deep cut or exposed bone or tendon
  • Are unable to walk or put weight on your leg
  • Have pain, swelling, redness or warmth in your calf
  • Hear a popping or grinding sound at the time of a leg injury

See your doctor as soon as possible if you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as redness, warmth or tenderness, or you have a fever greater than100 F (37.8 C)
  • A leg that is swollen, pale or unusually cool
  • Calf pain, particularly after prolonged sitting (such as a long car trip or plane ride)
  • Swelling in both legs along with breathing problems
  • Any serious leg symptoms that develop for no apparent reason

Schedule an office visit if:

  • You have pain during or after walking
  • You have swelling in both legs
  • Your pain gets worse
  • Your symptoms don’t improve after a few days of home treatment
  • You have painful varicose veins


Minor leg pain often responds well to home treatments. To relieve mild pain and swelling:

  • Stay off your leg as much as possible
  • Apply an ice pack or bag of frozen peas to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day
  • Elevate your leg whenever you sit or lie down
  • Try over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve)