Leg pain is defined as a feeling of discomfort or uneasiness along with aching in the leg, varying from mild to severe intensity. Upper leg pain is pain anywhere from him to knees. Lower leg pain is the pain extending from knee to foot. A pain in leg could originate in joints like hip joint, knee joint or ankle joint. When the pain is in leg joints, it could arise from bones, ligaments or tendons. It can also arise from injury to muscles or nerves. Venous stasis and phlebitis can also cause pain in legs. Sometimes the pain can be referred from back as in the case of Sciatica, where the pain extends down the leg from lower back or hips down thighs and calf muscles. A rare case is pain in phantom-limb, when a person feels pain in the part of limb that has been amputated.
Causes of Leg Pain
- Arthritis – includes osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
- Injury – can lead to damage to bone, ligament and cartilage and that can lead to severe leg pain.
- Sprain- Due to sudden unnatural movements causes leg pain.
- Overuse – Overuse of joint can cause bursitis which ultimately leads to joint pain in legs.
- Infection – Any kind of infection to the joints may result in leg pain.
- Varicose vein – Enlarged distended vein, also causes leg ulcer and itching along with pain
- Deep vein thrombosis – Condition in which there is a blood clot in the deeper veins of leg, causes leg pain.
- Venous cause – includes phlebitis and venous compression.
- Calcium Deficiency – in Osteomalacia, Osteoporosis and Rickets can also cause pain in long bones of legs.
- Growth pains – Young children often complaint of pain in legs. Such pain is usually due to stretching of bones and tissue as part of ‘growing’.
- Pain in leg muscles can result from calcium or sodium deficiency and also from dehydration. Such pain is often cramping in nature. Vague muscle ache can result from hypothyroidism and myopathy.
- Physical examination – Including examination of joints, swelling, dislocation, gait, lymph nodes, movement etc
- Blood test – Complete blood count, ESR, rheumatoid factor, uric acid.
- Microscopic examination – Of joint fluid or synovial fluid
- X-ray knee – To diagnose fracture, osteoarthritis
- MRI – To detect ligament rupture and other conditions
- MANTOUX TEST – To diagnose tuberculosis.
- Other important investigations – venography – to diagnose deep vein thrombosis.
- Duplex ultrasound imaging – It helps in getting image of veins, it can also measure flow in the vessels.
- Arteriography – To diagnose arterial embolism.
- Doppler ultrasound – is the important investigation in case of venous disease.
Treatment of Leg Pain
Allopathic treatment of pain in legs – Includes pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants and calcium supplements. Anticoagulants, compression bandage, knee caps and surgery is also applicable in certain cases. Physiotherapy also plays an important role in many cases of joint pains. The exact treatment depends upon the underlying cause of leg pain.
Homeopathic treatment of leg pain – Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which a patient is suffering.
The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat leg pain but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility of the patient. For this patient’s current symptoms, past medical history and family history are taken into account. There are many homeopathic remedies which cover the symptoms of leg pain and can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the pain. For individualized remedy selection and treatment of leg pain, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. Some important remedies are given below for the treatment of leg pain:
- Bryonia alba. – Pain with inflammation which, is aggravated by movement and relieved by moderate pressure and rest.
- Ledum pal. – Excellent remedy for gout and rheumatism which is of ascending nature, better by cold application.
- Rhus tox. – Pain aggravated by first movement, damp weather and better by continuous motion.
- Colchicum – Pain worse by motion, touch, or mental effort; better by warmth and rest.
- Kalmia lat. – Descending type of pain, pain with palpitation of heart and slow pulse
- Guaiacum – Gouty abscesses of joints, pain relieved by cold bath and cold application.
- Calcarea carb. – Arthritic swelling, knee pain especially in fleshy people, effusion of knee joint, which is worse by cold.
- Benzoic acid – Gouty concretions of joints, knee pain due to abnormal deposition of uric acid
- Hypericum – Remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, knee contracted, has outstanding action over nerve pain.
- Lachesis – Rheumatic pain along with swelling. Sciatica of right leg. Warmth aggravates in general, intolerance of tight clothing.
- Lycopodium - Sciatica pain in left leg.
- Colocynth - Pain that radiates from hip to calf, esp in left leg, is accompanied by numbness and is better by warmth.