When To See A Doctor In Case Of Leg Pain

When To See A Doctor In Case Of Leg Pain

Leg pain can be caused for many reasons; at many different times during the day and during our lifetimes. Our legs are made up of so many different inter-connected parts; muscles, bones, skin, ligaments and tendons that it can sometimes be confusing figuring out what is a serious leg pain and what is not.

So how do you know if you should be seeing your doctor or not? Sometimes it will be obvious - think broken bones, deep cuts and literally being unable to walk. Other times however it is not going to be so obvious.

So, What Causes Leg Pain?

Leg pain can be caused for several reasons including injury, disease or nutrient deficiency. Sometimes there is no known reason (frustrating I know).

Woman Holding For Foot Wrist


Typical Injuries that can cause leg pain include broken bones, torn and strained muscles, torn and strained ligaments, cuts and pinched nerves.


Typical diseases that can cause leg pain include diabetes (this can sometimes lead to nerve damage in the legs, leading to pains and numbness), Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVP) (the result of a blood clot in a deep vein - usually in the leg). Arthritis (felt as a pain often located in the knees and ankle joints).

Nutrient Deficiencies

The most common nutrient deficiencies are insufficient water (dehydration), low levels (sometimes high levels) of salts in the blood (sodium or potassium).

So How Can We Know If It Is Serious?

If you have any of the following signs or symptoms you should visit a doctor as soon as possible.

  • If there is any sign of infection (including an unusual red skin coloring or a high fever)
  • A swollen leg or legs (possibly including problems breathing)
  • A leg that is unusually cold
  • Prolonged Calf pain (especially after sitting down for a long time)
  • Leg pain that has not been getting better (especially if it has been getting worse)
  • Varicose veins that hurt
  • Pain during or after walking

What About Some Less Obvious Causes Of Leg Pain?

Here are some of the potential causes of leg pain:

Leg Cramps

Many people will get leg cramps at some time; some more often than others. It has been estimated that one in three people over the age of 60 will have regular leg cramps. Drinking water and gently stretching or massaging the cramp can sometimes help with painful leg cramp.

Muscle Pain

Muscle pain can involve one or more muscles, tendons or ligaments and is often the result of overuse or injury. A good treatment for non-serious muscle pain is the R.I.C.E. treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Sometimes muscle pain can be the result of a condition known as fibromyalgia; leading to aching muscles and fatigue.

Calf Pain

Calf pain is commonly the result of strains and ruptures. Most strains and ruptures will be the result of an injury. The decision whether to see a doctor or not will depend largely on the severity of the injury and the extent of the pain.

Holding For Calf

Pain Severity

A pain severity measures a patient's pain intensity or other features:

  • Mild Pain - Some discomfort and mild pain. Minimal restrictions to normal activities. Go easy on yourself and keep an eye on things to make sure they don’t get worse. If you have any doubts or worries you may want to consider seeing a doctor
  • Moderate - Discomfort when walking. Restricted ability to run and jump and possible bruising
  • Severe - An injury making it impossible to walk. Possible swelling and bruising. You could try and tough it out but personally I think you should see a DOCTOR

Take it easy. If you have concerns, see a doctor. If it’s not getting better, see a doctor. If it’s getting worse, see a doctor. I think you get the point.


Ultimately if in doubt see a doctor; especially if your symptoms include some of the more serious ones above.


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