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What causes leg muscle pain?

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Quick Answer

Torn or stressed ligaments, muscles or tendons, a herniated disk in the spine or blood clots in deep or superficial veins in the leg can cause leg muscle pain, according to Mayo Clinic. Circulatory disorders may also cause leg muscle pain.

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What causes leg muscle pain?
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Full Answer

Leg pain occurs in any part of the leg, and it can be a painful or uncomfortable feeling that ranges from a dull ache to a severe, stabbing sensation, explains Healthline. Most people experience temporary leg pain that does not require medical treatment. A cramp, also called a muscle spasm or charley horse, usually causes leg pain and results from dehydration, muscle fatigue and medications such as diuretics. Injuries that lead to leg pain include stress fractures, shin splints, tendinitis and muscle strains.

Another cause of leg muscle pain is compartment syndrome, claims the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In this condition, pressure builds up in the compartments in the leg that contain muscle tissue. This condition can be caused by an injury, such as a tearing or overuse of the muscle, or a bone fracture. It is a potentially dangerous condition that causes intense pain and can result in permanent damage to the muscle or nerves in the leg. If left untreated, it can result in amputation.

Claudication is also a cause of leg muscle pain, according to Mayo Clinic. It happens when the leg receives too little oxygen because of restricted blood flow. Sufferers feel pain upon exercise, though some feel pain when they are at rest. Claudication may be a symptom of arterial disease.

A herniated disk in the spine can also cause pain in the leg, says WebMD. In this condition, the spongy disk between the vertebrae bulges out and presses against the root of the nerve. Numbness as well as pain are present down the back of the leg.

In some cases, leg pain can indicate a medical condition, such as a bone or tissue infection, gout, arthritis, deep vein thrombosis, or atherosclerosis, states Healthline. Pain that travels from the back down to the leg can be a symptom of slipped disk.

Individuals with varicose veins should raise the painful leg while resting and use pantyhose with support, suggests Healthline. For pain that results from excessive physical activity, it helps to apply ice on the affected area for 15 minutes up to four times a day. Stretching, massage and nonprescription pain relievers, such as aspirin, can help alleviate pain due to muscle cramps.

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