Have you ever found yourself asking "why do my legs ache?" or "why do my calves hurt?" Considering the amount of people who regularly use calf compression sleeves as a way to combat discomfort in the lower part of the leg, and the commonality of leg-based discomfort among Americans, the answer is probably yes.
The problem with that question "Why do my legs ache?" is that there are so many possible answers, it can take some time to figure out which one actually applies to your circumstances. For instance, leg pain can happen as a result of an injury, or it might be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. In certain circumstances, your leg pain may simply be a sign that you're spending far too much time on your feet.
The Most Common Reasons for Leg Pain
The most common form of leg pain is often muscle cramping. If you're asking "Why do my legs ache" after you've just had a serious workout at the gym, or you've run a marathon, then the chances are that you're suffering from cramps. In some circumstances, cramping can be caused by dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, high cholesterol, or exposure to certain medications, so it's worth seeing a doctor even if your cramps aren't too painful, just to be sure they're not a sign of an additional problem.
Alternatively, common leg pain can be caused by injuries to the leg. These injuries may either be acute, such as shin splits, stress fractures, or tendinitis, or long-term injuries that occur as a result of overuse. The severity of the pain in your leg will generally depend on the injury that caused it, however most of the time you'll find that there's a specific course of treatment recommended by a doctor that can help to alleviate your symptoms quite quickly.
Medical Reasons for Leg Pain
Besides sports injuries and leg-based accidents, there are also medical conditions that could leave you asking: "Why do my legs ache?". For instance, there are several forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gouty arthritis that can lead to pain in the ankle, hip, and knee joints. Additionally, some leg pain is caused by problems in the spine, as if someone experiences a herniated disc, they can begin to place additional pressure on a nerve that supplies sensation to the legs, leading to a very specific type of pain.
Your leg pain may even be caused by problems with the vascular supply in that area. For instance, an issue such as PAD, or peripheral artery disease could mean that blocked or narrowed arteries within the leg are preventing your muscles from receiving the oxygen and nutrients they need to function. The worse the supply of blood is to your leg, the more likely you are to suffer from severe pain when you attempt to use the muscle. These problems must be dealt with immediately by a doctor, as they can be a sign of serious additional concerns that may increase your risk of stroke, or heart attack.