Types of Leg Pain You Should Not Ignore!
Don’t ignore leg pain like Jack did! Jack was a very active 62-year-old man who loved to fish and play chess. He first noticed that the muscles in his leg would start hurting when he would walk across the parking lot from his car to the grocery store’s entrance. Then leg cramps started to impact Jack as he went out for his daily walk in his neighborhood with his friends. He would have to stop every 30 feet. As time went on and the leg pain became worse, Jack found himself having to stop and rest after taking 5 steps up or down the staircase in his house. He felt like his legs had stopped working and knew something must really be wrong, so he finally called his doctor. — There are many millions of people who experience the leg pain symptoms that Jack did. Today, we are sharing the types of leg pain you should not ignore and why it’s really important for you to not disregard them.
Leg Pain Could Indicate Vein or Artery Disease
Often, leg pain is misdiagnosed as simply muscle aches or arthritis. The reality is leg pain and cramps may be signs of a more serious underlying disease; therefore, you should discuss your leg challenges with a vascular specialist.
Leg pain or discomfort often occurs in the calves and thighs while exercising or while resting. What can cause this discomfort? Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a common medical condition that impacts the blood flow in the lower area of the body, could be causing your leg pain. In addition to discomfort, issues with the circulatory system can cause hair loss, discoloration, leg fatigue, skin temperature changes and skin lesions or ulcers. Many of these symptoms, in conjunction with leg discomfort, can also be an indication of disease in your veins known as venous insufficiency disease.
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Peripheral Arterial Disease & Leg Pain
Each year, millions of people are diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease, which is often referred to as “poor circulation” because the plaque buildup in your artery reduces blood flow.
People who smoke, have diabetes, or have a family history of vascular disease, heart attack or stroke are at greater risk for PAD. If you have any of these risk factors and are experiencing leg pain, please get a diagnostic test at a certified vascular lab to determine if you have artery or vein disease. There is medical evidence that shows that people with PAD have a higher risk for heart disease, heart attack, amputation or stroke, so it is important to schedule an appointment with a vascular physician.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency & Leg Pain
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) occurs when blood in your legs cannot flow back to your heart properly because the valves that push the blood are in a weakened state. This may cause the blood to ‘pool’ creating pressure in your veins, which may result in discoloration of your legs or feet, leg fatigue, swelling or discomfort.
If you are over 50 years old, are overweight or obese, smoke, live a sedentary life (with little activity), are pregnant, or work a job which requires you to sit or stand for lengthy periods of time, or have a family history of varicose veins, then you are at risk for chronic venous insufficiency.
Diabetics Shouldn’t Dismiss Leg Pain
Too often, diabetics confuse leg pain with neuropathy or the aging process – a burning or painful discomfort in the feet or thighs. If you or your loved one has diabetes, please do not dismiss leg pain or ‘stiffness’ as a normal sign of aging. It may be something more serious. Read our article ‘6 Ways to Prevent Diabetic-Related Vascular Challenges” to learn more.
Leg Pains You Should NOT Ignore
- Leg pain that doesn’t go away when you stop exercising
- Feelings of heaviness or fatigue
- Wounds that are not healing
- Redness, warmth or unusual tenderness
- Coldness in your leg or feet compared to other parts of the body
- Swelling in the legs or discoloration
- Pain in your calves, after long periods of sitting – such as traveling in a car; driving long distances and plane rides that are longer than two hours
- Hair loss on your legs
- Shortness of breath or chest pain
If you or your loved one has recurring leg pain or any of the symptoms above, schedule a consultation with a vascular specialist, as soon as possible. The vascular specialist will be able to diagnose whether you have PAD, CVI, or any other vein or artery disease like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and then prescribe an appropriate treatment plan.
Steps To Take If You Are Diagnosed with PAD or CVI
- Stop Smoking: If you are a smoker it’s now time to quit. Smoking is a major risk factor for PAD and CVI.
- Control Your Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is ‘the silent killer’ because it has no symptoms, but can increase the development of PAD and CVI.
- Control Your Cholesterol Levels: Keeping you cholesterol in a good range helps to prevent a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which reduces the blood’s flow.
- Manage Your Weight: If your BMI is 25 or higher, you are at a higher risk for heart disease. Contact a healthcare professional to learn healthy ways to manage your weight.
- Get Moving: Exercise can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Did you know a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood adds years to your life?
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