Why Do My Legs Feel So Bad?

Professional Medical Advice from Melinda Ratini, MD the 14th of April, 2021

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

The legs, in particular, suffer from inadequate blood supply when this occurs. The most common cause of this is a narrowing of the arteries. It's possible that walking will make your legs feel numb, weak, or cramp. They might feel cold and be an odd color In some cases, PAD can be controlled by modifying lifestyle factors such as giving up smoking. Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers or other medications if that doesn't solve the problem. But there are cases where surgical intervention is required.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

A venous thromboembolism occurs when blood clots form in the legs. Symptoms are not always present, but they can include leg pain, swelling, and redness. Any of these should prompt a quick phone call to the doctor. Pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis that occurs when a clot breaks off and travels to the lungs. Clot-preventing medication can be prescribed by your doctor to prevent the formation, progression, and dissolution of blood clots.

Peripheral Neuropathy

This develops when there is disruption in the signals between your brain and the rest of your body's nerves. Although diabetes is by far the most common cause, it can also be brought on by a number of other diseases, medications, injuries, and infections. If the nerves in your legs are affected, you may feel a prickling or tingling sensation, or you may feel numb or weak. If you need pain medication, your doctor will treat the underlying condition that is causing the pain.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium, are minerals that aid in proper muscle function. When you exercise, you lose some through sweating; too much sweating can cause your legs to cramp, become weak, or go numb. It's also possible to experience this side effect after undergoing medical procedures or taking medications. Water and foods high in electrolytes, such as those found in sports drinks, can be beneficial. If cramping is a regular occurrence, you should see a doctor.

Spinal Stenosis

When the spaces between your spinal bones become too small, you suffer from this condition. When the nerves in your legs are compressed, you may experience pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness. Your equilibrium may also be off. If you experience any of these signs, please seek medical attention immediately. The pain can be treated with medication and physical therapy. If these don't help, surgical intervention may be necessary.


Having a pinched nerve in your lower back can cause excruciating leg pain. From a mild cramp to a searing stabbing pain, it can be debilitating. Possible causes include a compressed or herniated disk, a subluxated vertebra, butt muscle spasms, and spinal stenosis. Over-the-counter pain relievers and physical therapy are two options your doctor may suggest. Surgery may be necessary if your condition is severe.


Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness are common symptoms of this condition. Pain in the hips, knees, or ankles can make it difficult to walk or perform other routine tasks. Although diet and exercise won't reverse the disease, they may help mitigate its effects. Pain and swelling can be reduced by applying heat or cold to sore joints. Common painkillers can, too.

Pulled Muscle

It happens when a muscle is overworked. Many athletes have experienced this. Tenderness to the touch and immediate, severe pain characterize the affected area. Applying cold packs several times a day for 20 minutes at a time is the most effective treatment. Outside of that, you should use light wrapping, keep the area elevated if possible, and rest it. Pain can be relieved with over-the-counter medications.


When the band of tissue called a ligament that holds two bones together is overstretched or torn, this type of injury occurs. Sprained ankles are very common. You can't put any pressure on the injured area because of the swelling and pain. The R procedure is the most effective method of treatment. I C E method -- RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation; ice for 20 minutes, three times a day wrapped in a thin towel); compression bandaging; and elevation. Go get an X-ray to see if you've broken any bones.

Muscle Cramp

This is the sudden, painful tightening of a muscle, most often in the calf. It can cause severe discomfort, and you might feel a knot of muscle under your skin. As you get older, you're more likely to experience cramps, and if you're exercising in hot weather without adequately hydrating, cramps are almost guaranteed. Although cramps typically clear up on their own and aren't indicative of any health problem, if you experience them frequently you should see a doctor.

Shin Splints

The inner edge of your shinbone becomes painful when inflammation occurs in the surrounding muscles and tissues. Regular runners tend to wear them. They're not just caused by wearing inappropriate footwear, either. The most effective method of treatment involves sleeping on your back, applying cold packs to your legs for 20 minutes multiple times daily, and, if necessary, taking pain medication. However, you should see a doctor to rule out anything more serious.

Stress Fracture

You may have a small crack in your shinbone if the pain you're experiencing there feels like shin splints but doesn't go away. It develops when the muscles protecting a bone become fatigued and unable to absorb the force of movement in the way that they should. A stress fracture responds best to rest, but full recovery may take up to eight weeks. Make sure it's completely healed before you start exercising again to avoid aggravating the bone injury.


Muscles attach to bones via supple cords called tendons. Inflammation can cause significant discomfort, especially when the affected joint is used. Tendinitis is a degenerative condition that can manifest in the hip, knee, or ankle. The RICE method is optimal, just as it is for sprains. I C E method Also, make an appointment with your doctor to rule out other potential causes. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen may also be recommended.

Varicose Veins

The veins will appear enlarged, blue or dark purple when they are working harder than usual to return blood to the heart. They can cause heaviness, burning, throbbing, and cramping in the legs. Age, excess body fat, pregnancy, and prolonged periods of standing or sitting all increase your risk. It is possible that weight loss, exercise, and the use of compression stockings will help. If they don't, you and your doctor should discuss alternatives.

Burning Thigh Pain

Burning, numbness, or tingling in the upper thigh is a symptom of meralgia paresthetica, a nerve disorder. Pregnancy, being overweight, wearing tight clothing, and surgical scar tissue in the groin all increase your risk. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may help. When pain persists for more than two months, a prescription pain reliever may be necessary.


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Claudication, Meralgia Paresthetica, Muscle Cramp, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), Spinal Stenosis, and Varicose Veins: Self-Management, all from the Mayo Clinic's "Diseases and Conditions" section. ”

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. ”

Fact Sheet on Peripheral Neuropathy," National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke ”

Restoration of water and electrolyte balance after prolonged exercise," Journal of Sports Sciences, 2010. ”

Electrolyte Imbalance," UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center ”

"Electrolytes: Understanding Replacement Options," American Council on Exercise. ”

"Sciatica," Cleveland Clinic ”

"Inflammation and Stiffness: The Hallmarks of Arthritis," "What Is Arthritis," Arthritis Foundation. ”

OrthoInfo: Thigh Muscle Strains; OrthoInfo: Shin Sprains; OrthoInfo: Stress Fractures; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Burning Thigh Pain (Meralgia Paresthetica);" ”

Article on treating a sprained ankle from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. ”

According to the American College of Rheumatology, "Tendinitis (Bursitis)" ”

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