If you have walked a great deal or have been standing on your feet for quite some time, you may have a case of aching legs to deal with at night. Most of the time, leg pain can be treated with a simple massage or a few pain killers. However, sometimes the leg pain can become unbearable and if it is continuous, then it is a cause for concern. You should visit your doctor right away for a diagnosis. There can be many causes of aching legs, ranging from simple and common issues, to more serious and life threatening causes.
Causes of Aching Legs
1. Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease is most commonly experienced in the legs of the elderly as their arteries become narrower over time due to fatty deposits. As people age they will experience this disease at a greater rate. The arteries are gradually blocked and if left untreated, restrictions in blood flow can cause tissue damage and death.
2. Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are the specific veins, which move the deoxygenated blood from the body to the heart. If there is an issue with these veins, the deoxygenated blood begins to travel in a different direction and causes the veins to swell. Women most often have to deal with varicose vein issues.
The tissue, which connects the muscles to the bones, is known as tendons. When these tendons are inflamed due to injury, arthritis, or diabetes, it can cause severe pain in the joints and muscles.
For those suffering from hyperthyroidism, there is an overactive gland, which can cause a great deal of pain. Any gland or system that has been compromised can cause aching legs as most systems work with your lower body and your legs are used to support your entire body as well.
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs from the lower back down through the entire leg. If this nerve becomes inflamed, sciatica occurs, which is a common culprit of severe leg pain. Sciatica can cause numbing of the legs and individuals may experience a tingling sensation.
6. Restless Leg Syndrome
Some people find it difficult to keep their legs steady and still. The constant use of the legs can cause aching and sore legs. Children and young adults alike can suffer from restless leg syndrome.
Iron deficiency can cause leg pain. If there is a lack of blood flow in the body, there will be pain and discomfort, especially in the legs.
If there is a tumor growing in the lower limb, this can cause a great deal of pain. Blood clots in the legs are very dangerous and can be the cause of leg pain.
9. Other Diseases
When the health of the body is compromised, weakness and muscle fatigue can occur. There are many diseases that cause leg pain, such as diabetes, which if left untreated can cause damage to the nerves in the legs. Blood circulation disorders can also cause aching legs. Chronic diseases such as arthritis and cancer also tend to cause pain and soreness of the joints and muscles.
10. Previous Injuries
If you have injured a knee or bone previously, your body may not fully heal which can cause pain from time to time. Especially as individuals age, it takes longer for their bodies to heal after injury and sometimes they experience chronic pain after an injury.
11. Physical Stress
Being on your feet for too long causes excessive strain and pull on your leg muscles. Pregnant women can experience leg pain as they begin to carry a heavier weight and need more support from their legs.
12. Imbalanced Diet
If you are not eating a healthy diet, your muscles and joints will not be receiving the nutrients they require. A lack of potassium, iron and calcium can lead to weak bones and muscles, which can cause leg aches and pain.
13. Hormonal Changes
During the menstrual cycle, women experience a hormonal imbalance, which can cause weakness. It is not uncommon for women to experience leg pain during menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth when hormone levels are constantly changing.
14. Lack of Exercise
Your body needs to be exercised from time to time. If your muscles and joints have not been used properly for some time, they may become stiff and weak. It is important to keep your body active and your muscles strong through exercise.
Also, excessive exercise and exercise done without proper stretching can cause aching muscles and joints. Often, you will not feel the pain until after a day when your muscles relax once again.
15. Other Causes
- Not drinking enough water can also cause your body to become weak and lowers your metabolism.
- If you experience leg cramps you will feel the pain of aching legs for at least one or two days.
- Standing or sitting with the wrong posture can lead to additional strain on your lower back and limbs causing achy legs.
- Sometimes medications have leg pain side effects. Certain drugs such as corticosteroids may cause leg pain.
Home Care for Aching Legs
Sometimes all your legs need is a good rest. If you are experiencing leg pain due to excessive use of your leg muscles, try these home care remedies.
- Give your legs a break!
- Put your feet up for a little while.
- Apply heat or ice to the area that is in pain.
- Try to stretch out your legs and muscles.
- Use a simple over the counter painkiller such as ibuprofen.
If you suffer from varicose veins, elevating your legs for some time or wearing leggings can help ease some of the pain.
If your leg pain is caused by nerve disorders, it is important to keep diabetes in check, refrain from alcohol or smoking and to wear comfortable shoes to give your legs and feet proper support.
When to See a Doctor
Get help immediately
- If you have injured your leg causing a deep cut exposing a tendon or bone.
- If you cannot walk or put any weight on your leg.
- If there is severe pain or swelling in your legs.
- If you experienced a popping sound at the time of injury.
See your doctor immediately
- If there is redness on your legs and if you have a fever.
- If your legs are swollen and feel abnormally cool to touch.
- Welling in both legs and breathing problems.
- Calf pain after sitting for a long time such as after a long flight.
Book an appointment to see your doctor
- If you feel pain when walking.
- If you experience swelling in your legs.
- If your pain does not improve.
- If you have severely painful varicose veins.