Pain relief takes many forms. This Special Health Report, Pain Relief Without Drugs or Surgery, looks beyond the standard approaches of drugs and surgery and explores alternate pain-relief strategies, from acupuncture and mind-body therapies to spinal manipulation, physical and occupational therapies, herbal remedies, mindfulness meditation, and music therapy among others. The report also provides specific treatments for 10 common pain…Learn More »
Has leg pain ever kept you off your feet? If so, you know the frustration—and the worry.
When you can’t walk without pain, it can become difficult to work, play sports, exercise, or even climb a single set of stairs. If the damage is significant enough, it can lead to permanent disability.
You can have legs that are pain-and-problem-free!
The conditions that contribute to leg pain can range from fractures, muscle tears, and sprains, to long-term problems caused by osteoarthritis, peripheral neuropathy, and vascular disease.
This Special Health Report is designed to help you resolve both the pain and the problem. Healing Leg Pain will take you from symptoms to source to solution. You’ll find how to accelerate treatment, avoid recurrence, and assure renewed leg strength and wellness.
You can get a ‘leg up’ on leg pain!
More than any part of your body, your legs respond to care that is active and proactive. You’ll learn to work with your physician to pinpoint the cause of your condition and initiate effective treatment.
You’ll find take-charge ways to prevent PAD. You’ll learn an easy at-home therapy to ease Achilles tendinitis. You’ll read about a hands-on test to diagnose a meniscal tear…3 ways to decrease your risk for peripheral edema…and techniques to quickly assess and address dangerous deep vein thrombosis.
You’ll discover the advances that can put leg pain behind you!
Healing Leg Pain will tell you about emerging treatments and state-of-the-art procedures that can bring lasting pain relief, assure confident mobility, and keep your legs looking and feeling their best.
You’ll learn about a strategy to fully relieve IT band syndrome within six weeks. You’ll find two non-surgical approaches to treat ACL injuries. You’ll be briefed on a breakthrough that speeds healing from a hamstring tear…a newly-approved device to quiet RLS…and effective medications for knee bursitis.
You’ll get guidance you can depend on for legs you can rely on!
This report comes to you from Harvard Medical School. It is information you can trust—and use. From the first page, you’ll find clear and instructive guidance that will help you understand the treatment options and preventive measures that best suit your condition and your concerns.
From coping with muscle cramps and shin splints…to quelling the pain of sciatica and tendinitis…to preventing the disabling consequences of edema or osteoarthritis, Healing Leg Pain offers help, hope, and direction.
This Special Health Report was prepared by Harvard Health Publishing in consulation with Robert H. Shmerling, M.D., Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Clinical Chief, Division of Rheumatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (2019)
- Why your legs hurt
- Hip pain
- Hip anatomy
- Groin pull (strain)
- Hip fracture
- Upper leg pain
- Upper leg anatomy
- Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Hamstring strain or tear
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Meralgia paresthetica
- Knee pain
- Knee anatomy
- Baker’s cyst
- Ligament injuries (sprains)
- Meniscal tears
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Lower leg pain
- Lower leg anatomy
- Achilles tendinitis and tendon tear
- Muscle cramps
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD) and claudication
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Pseudoclaudication (lumbar spine stenosis)
- Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
- Shin splints
- Skin ulcers (leg ulcers)
- Varicose veins
When leg pain signals an emergency
Most leg pain results from gradual wear and tear or minor issues that will resolve in time or with conservative treatment. Yet, a few symptoms signal a much more serious problem that requires immediate attention. Call a doctor or 911 or go to an emergency room if you think you might have one of these conditions.
Avascular necrosis. Certain diseases, such as sickle cell anemia, or an injury such as a fracture or dislocation can damage the vessels that supply blood to bones in the leg. Also called osteonecrosis, avascular necrosis occurs when a disruption in the blood supply causes the bone to die. Eventually, the bone can break apart and collapse. Symptoms: Bone pain, which may begin suddenly and increases over time.
Bone cancer. Bone cancer is rare, accounting for less than 1% of all cancers. Most cancer in the bones has traveled there from other organs, such as from the breast or prostate gland. Cancer can damage and weaken bone to the point where it fractures. Symptoms: Bone pain, fatigue, unintended weight loss, swelling in the area, fractures, especially in someone with a prior diagnosis of cancer.
Compartment syndrome. In this serious condition, pressure within the muscles and other tissues in the legs builds to the point where it prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching nerves and muscles. Without treatment, it can lead to permanent muscle and nerve damage. Symptoms: Intense pain, a feeling of tightness or fullness in the affected muscle, tingling or burning.
Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein of the leg. It can occur when blood flow slows—for example, after surgery, or when you’ve been immobile for many hours on a long car or plane trip. If the clot travels to a lung and becomes lodged there, it’s called a pulmonary embolism—a lifethreatening condition. Symptoms: Swelling and redness in the leg, tenderness. If the clot travels to the lung, symptoms may include shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing.
Arterial thrombosis. This occurs when a blood clot forms in an artery. If the clot is not treated, the condition may lead to gangrene (with a dark discoloration of the toes or foot). Symptoms: Sudden pain and swelling in one leg, accompanied by discoloration.
Fracture. The force of an accident or weakening due to osteoporosis or cancer can cause a bone to fracture, or break. Fractures range in severity from a simple break in one bone to a shattering in which a bone breaks into multiple pieces or pierces the skin. Symptoms: Pain, swelling and tenderness of the skin over the injury, bruising, deformity, trouble moving or using the injured leg.
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