Why Do My Legs Hurt?

Why Do My Legs Hurt? | Capitol Physical Therapy Orthopedics And Pain Management Washington DC

If your legs are sore, there are a number of different possible causes.

But regardless of what’s causing it, leg pain can be frustrating and impact your quality of life.

Not only is it painful, but severe cases of leg pain may even make it difficult to walk or stand.

Does any of this sound familiar?

If so, we can help.

At Capitol Physical Therapy, we have an interest in physical therapy for leg pain management.

Let’s take a look at some causes of leg pain that we commonly see in our patients here at our Washington DC physical therapy clinic.

What Causes Leg Pain?

Most cases of leg pain aren’t serious and will typically resolve on their own.

However, there’s a variety of different causes.

Physical therapy can treat your leg pain, but treatment will be different depending on what’s causing it.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common causes.

Leg Pain From Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

They help keep your muscles healthy and help prevent injury.

You lose electrolytes through physical exertion.

Losing too much can cause leg pain.

Additionally, some medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can lead to an electrolyte imbalance.

How Does It Feel?

An electrolyte imbalance may cause leg cramping, weakness, or numbness.

Occasionally, an electrolyte imbalance can cause muscle spasms in your leg.

You may also experience a tingling sensation in your legs, feet, and toes.

What Can You Do About It?

If you’re experiencing leg pain due to an electrolyte imbalance, make sure to load up on electrolyte heavy foods, such as spinach, beans, almonds, and avocados.

Staying hydrated is also an excellent way to restore your electrolyte levels.

Sports drinks can also contain electrolytes, but be mindful of how much sugar is in them.

Leg Pain From A Pulled Muscle

Pulled muscles commonly occur in your legs.

They are often caused by a minor injury to your muscle or tendon.

How Does It Feel?

The symptoms of a pulled muscle may vary depending on the severity of your injury.

If you’re dealing with a pulled muscle, you might experience:

  • Pain or tenderness
  • Redness or bruising
  • Limited motion
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling
  • Muscle weakness

What Can You Do About It?

Most cases of pulled muscles are mild and can be treated at home.

When it comes to pulled muscles, remember the acronym: RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Make sure to rest your injured muscle.

As you do, apply ice to it, wrap it in a compression bandage, and keep it elevated.

In rare cases, severely pulled muscles may need to be surgically repaired.

Leg Pain From A Sprained Ligament

Your body’s ligaments are the bands of fibrous tissue that help connect your bones with each other.

Since the most common location for a sprained ligament is the ankle, leg pain is a frequent symptom.

How Does It Feel?

Depending on the severity of the sprain, a sprained ligament may cause:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Limited mobility of affected joint

What Can You Do About It?

As with a pulled muscle, the most important aspect to recovering from a sprained ligament is rest.

Applying ice or a cold compress can also be beneficial.

Finally, keeping the injury elevated can help to increase blood flow and reduce swelling.

Leg Pain From A Muscle Cramp

A muscle cramp is a sudden, involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles.

They commonly develop in your leg muscles, especially your calves.

They can even make walking difficult, temporarily.

How Does It Feel?

Although they are typically harmless, muscle cramps can cause significant pain that may even wake you up at night.

The pain is most often described as a sudden, sharp pain that can sometimes causes a visible hard lump of muscle beneath your skin.

What Can You Do About It?

Muscle cramps are usually only a temporary inconvenience that goes away on its own.

If your muscles are cramping due to overuse, resting them can help to reduce pain.

Self care measures such as ice packs and over the counter pain medication can also help to ease symptoms.

If they happen frequently, it may be a sign of a deeper issue.

In that case, it’s a good idea to book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.

Leg Pain From Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins that appear close to the surface of your skin.

Although they can occur anywhere, varicose veins most commonly affect the veins in your legs.

How Does It Feel?

Varicose veins often don’t cause any symptoms and are only a cosmetic concern.

However, some people with varicose veins experience symptoms, such as:

  • An achy, heavy feeling in the legs
  • Burning, throbbing, swelling, and muscle cramping
  • Pain that increases after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itchiness around the veins

What Can You Do About It?

If your varicose veins are causing you pain, there are some home remedies that can help.

Self care measures, such as rest and over the counter pain meds, can help to manage your symptoms.

Physical therapy can also help.

Speak to your physical therapist about some of the exercises you can use to manage your varicose vein pain.

How To Avoid Leg Pain

Now that you know more about the causes of leg pain, you might be wondering how to go about preventing it in the first place.

Not to worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some physical therapist approved tips for avoiding leg pain.

1. Wear Shoes That Support Your Feet

It’s hard to feel your best when you’re wearing shoes that don’t properly support your feet.

Look for a pair of shoes with enough heel cushioning and arch support.

2. Stretch Your Legs, Especially Before Exercise

The importance of stretching your legs, especially before you go running or do other exercises, shouldn’t be underestimated.

Regularly stretching your body can do wonders for preventing injury and avoiding cramps.

Stretching your calf muscles is particularly important to help prevent injury, such as tendinitis.

3. Drink Enough Water

Staying hydrated is also an important factor to avoiding leg pain.

Getting enough fluids helps to keep up your body’s resistance to injury and sprains.

Aim to drink at least three pints of water a day.

What Causes Leg Pain? | Capitol Physical Therapy Orthopedics And Pain Management Washington DC

4. Do A Variety Of Exercises

Doing the same exercise again and again can be just as bad as not exercising at all.

Overusing a single muscle or joint is one of the top causes for leg pain.

Therefore, it’s important to make sure you mix things up.

Consider incorporating yoga, pilates, and other different types of exercises into your fitness routine.

As well, focusing on different muscle groups can help as well.

For example, perhaps one day you work on your core strength, another your upper arms, another your legs, and so on.

5. Move Around!

Inactivity is one of the worst things for leg pain.

Sitting still for long periods of time can increase your risk of blood clots in your legs.

However, it’s important to pace yourself.

Don’t immediately jump into a high intensity exercise routine.

Instead, gradually build your endurance.

When Should I Worry About Leg Pain?

In rare cases, leg pain can be a sign of something more serious.

Book a consultation with us here at Capitol Physical Therapy if you experience leg pain that:

  • Occurs during or after walking
  • Causes swelling in both legs
  • Doesn’t go away on its own

On the other hand, certain types of leg pain can be more serious.

Go to your nearest emergency room as soon as possible if you’re feeling leg pain that comes with:

  • Signs of infection, such as redness, tenderness, or fever
  • Swelling, paleness, or coldness to touch
  • Swelling in both legs accompanied by breathing difficulties
  • Severe pain that develops for no apparent reason

Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today

At Capitol Physical Therapy, we offer a wide variety of services that can help reduce your leg pain and prevent future flare ups.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call to ask questions or to hear more about our services.

Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy.

Capitol Physical Therapy
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005

- https://g.page/capitolptdc

9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

- https://goo.gl/maps/zjL4NnnuThRhrcS86

Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC