What are the Most Common Causes of Severe Leg Pain?

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  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2018
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Severe leg pain has a number of causes that range in severity from charley horses to deep vein thrombosis. Arthritis and varicose veins can also cause severe leg pain. No matter which of these conditions is to blame, sufferers can often get the best treatment by working with a physician who has experience with patients diagnosed with the same condition.

One of the most common and least serious causes of severe leg pain are charley horses, muscle spasms in the leg. They typically being with the feeling of a knot in the leg that can progress to severe pain. Most often, charley horses occur after periods of high amount of exercise or dehydration. For best results when treating a charley horse, massage, heat, ice, and mild pain killers should be used as soon as the initial symptoms begin to appear.

Arthritis is another common cause of severe leg pain. Typically, arthritis causes severe pain and swelling in the joints, and often can occur as early as the age of 40. Prescription and over-the-counter medications are often prescribed in the treatment of arthritis. In addition, using a heating pad or performing specific stretches or exercises may be a great way to eliminate arthritis pain. A physical therapist or personal trainer may also be helpful in prescribing exercises that can be helpful in treating severe leg pain associated with arthritis.


Varicose veins are also commonly to blame for severe leg pain. This condition is associated with large, cord-like veins that appear often on the back of the calves or inner legs. While it is not always possible to treat varicose veins, the development of the condition can be prevented through regular exercise, using sunscreen, and keeping the legs elevated throughout the day.

One serious cause of severe leg pain is associated with deep vein thrombosis. These are blood clots which form in the deep veins of the legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause not only severe leg pain, but can also lead to swelling, redness, and even a possible embolism, which could be life-threatening. Those who are concerned about the development of deep vein thrombosis should be sure to work closely with a physician who is skilled in this area of treatment.



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