What’s Causing Your Leg Pain, Burning and Numbness? Leg and foot pain can have a variety of causes, but should burning joint pain be ignored. 13630 single-format-standard custom-background whats-causing-your-leg-pain-burning-and-numbness wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4. WNIN Tri-State Public Media, Inc.
Don’t see you local PBS station listed? What’s Causing Your Leg Pain, Burning and Numbness? Aching calves, burning legs, numbness in the feet — pain and discomfort in the lower extremities is a common complaint that sends many of us to our doctors seeking relief. But unless the cause is something obvious, like a fall, pinpointing the source may require some medical detective work. Trying to tough it out, though, will not get you any closer to the answers. Benjamin Wedro, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin and an emergency physician at Gundersen Medical Center in Lacrosse, Wis.
There’s no trophy for suffering. PAD, a narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood to your limbs, typically caused by the buildup of plaque or fatty deposits. Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity are major risk factors for PAD. John Fesperman, a family nurse practitioner at Duke Primary Care in North Carolina.
When you’re active, muscles need more blood. The lack of adequate blood triggers pain, which is known as intermittent claudication. Once you stop moving, the pain usually disappears. DVT, a blood clot in a deep vein that develops after extended periods of inactivity, can also cause major leg pain. Long flights or car rides make it difficult for the leg to return blood back to the heart. If that blood return slows or stops, it can create a clot within the vein.
And if part of a clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism, a serious and potentially fatal blockage of blood flow to the lungs. DVT usually occurs in only one leg, Wedro says, causing it to swell and turn a bluish hue. Neuropathy can cause numbness, tingling and a heavy sensation. In some cases, people may lose their ability to feel sensation in their legs, which can put them at risk for injury and infection.
According to the Neuropathy Association, approximately 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes will at some point develop peripheral neuropathy. Electrolytes transmit signals that support nerve, heart and muscle function, and affect the amount of water in your body as well. When electrolyte levels become too low, it can cause leg pain. For example, when sodium, which attracts water to cells, is depleted, cells straining to compensate for the lack of fluid can bring on painful cramps. Diuretics prescribed to control blood pressure are the most common culprits, Fesperman says, because they can deplete electrolytes in the blood. An imbalance in either or both can cause muscle cramping.
By reducing blood flow, dehydration can cause electrolyte imbalance, and cramps, as well. Likewise, if you drink too much water, you can flush out too many electrolytes. Conditions that affect your back often lead to pain in the legs as well. 50 and can be caused by arthritis, scoliosis or spinal injury. The pressure can impinge on nerve roots as they leave the spinal cord to form the sciatic nerve, the body’s largest. The irritated nerves can cause significant pain. Sciatica is difficult to diagnose and sometimes goes away on its own.