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Leg pain below the knees – causes – how to treat leg pain?

Leg pain below the knees – causes – how to treat leg pain?

Pain in the legs below the knees is a worrying condition for patients and can be a symptom of diseases related to the musculoskeletal system, such as diseases of the spine or joint injuries. Leg pain can affect the knee joint, the knee, and shin, or the calf itself. Pain under the knee sometimes indicates a Baker's cyst. Pain in the legs (calves) is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps, caused, for example, by a deficiency of magnesium or potassium.

Pain in the leg below the knees - causes

Pain in the legs below the knees is a symptom of anxiety in patients, which can be a symptom of diseases of the musculoskeletal system - the spine and joints, as well as vascular diseases. Leg pain can impact the knee joint, the knee, and shin, or the calf itself.

If symptoms persist, it is worth contacting an appropriate specialist, as they can tell you:

  • injuries or overload of joints or muscles,
  • joint diseases,
  • problems with the spine,
  • vascular diseases (manifested by a burning sensation in the legs below the knees),
  • metabolic disorders,
  • systemic diseases (for example, diabetes, alcoholism, rheumatism, gout),
  • defects or deformities of the foot (for example, flat feet),
  • cancer.

Moreover, severe pain in the legs below the knees often radiates from the injured area of the body to other places, expanding the range of diseases that can cause symptoms.

Knee pain, knee injuries and joint overload

Injuries may involve joints (hip, knee, or ankle) and may involve a sprain, dislocation, or contusion. Injuries may also affect elements within the joints, such as the joint capsule, menisci, bursae, or ligaments.

If there is no serious injury, the cause of pain may be overused of the joints or muscles associated with the type of work or physical activity. In athletes, knee, and knee pain can be caused by, for example, ill-fitting shoes, lack of proper warm-up, running on hard surfaces, or muscle fatigue.

However, when there is severe overload in the knee joint, runner's knee and jumper's knee can develop. In turn, overtraining of the lower leg can mean, for example, tibial overload syndrome, fascial compartment syndrome or tibial stress syndrome.

Pain under the knee and diseases of the spine and joints

Knee pain and pain behind the knee are sometimes associated with developing or advanced degenerative disease, which in this case may affect the knees or hips. Rheumatic changes, most often associated with rheumatoid arthritis, also contribute to changes in the joints and associated severe pain, inflammation, and limitation of joint function.

Other relatively common knee conditions include chondromalacia patella and Baker's cyst, which is pain behind the knee associated with a cyst occurring in that area.

There are many spinal conditions that can cause leg pain. Most of them are associated with pressure on the nerve roots located in the lumbar spine, the symptoms of which, in addition to pain, can radiate from the spine to the legs, even to the feet.

Such diseases include: degenerative changes, discography, intervertebral disc herniation, radicalizes, spondylolisthesis, stenosis and congenital spinal defects.

Leg pain from the knees down, thrombosis and atherosclerosis

Deep vein thrombosis means the formation of blood clots, most typically in a leg vessel, which impairs blood flow and, as a result, can lead to a heart attack or vascular embolism. Many diseases can contribute to its development, such as a previous heart attack, varicose veins, bleeding disorders or long periods of immobilization, as well as pregnancy.

In addition to muscle pain in the leg (muscle pain in the leg), there is swelling, redness and a bloated feeling in the calves, bruising in the feet and discomfort when standing and walking. Atherosclerosis and associated changes (for example, narrowing of the arteries) cause ischemia of the lower extremities (manifested, for example, by tingling in the legs).

Manifested by pain in the legs, most often when walking, and with untreated lesions - also at rest (pain in the legs at night), the lesions affect the legs and feet, sometimes leading to ulcerations and necrotic lesions.

Chronic venous insufficiency, in turn, impedes the outflow of blood from the lower extremities due to defects in the venous valves. If additional factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, excess weight or poor diet contribute to this, excess blood does not flow from the lower extremities, causing pain, a feeling of heaviness or the formation of swelling of the legs and varicose veins.

Leg pain, leg cramps and metabolic disorders.

Metabolic disorders are associated with the state of water and electrolyte balance in our body. Due to certain factors, such as poor diet, weight loss, excessive physical activity and fatigue, or taking certain medications, it may become impaired.

Most often these include: dehydration or deficiency of elements, especially magnesium, potassium, or calcium.

Leg pain below the knees, especially in the calves, is associated with painful muscle spasms that can wake you from sleep.

Pain in the leg below the knees - diagnosis and treatment of leg pain

Diagnosis of joint injuries and strains is based on a visit to an orthopedist, who will examine the joints and order imaging studies.

If you suspect diseases of the blood vessels, metabolic or systemic diseases, you should contact an appropriate specialist. Most typically in such cases, imaging, genetic and biochemical tests are prescribed.

Then treatment is prescribed in an appropriate clinic (for example, vascular, cardiology, orthopedic, dietary), monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol levels, or pharmacotherapy (specialized drugs or painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs taken as needed in the form of ointments or gels).

What about leg pain? In this case, it is recommended, among other things:

  • physiotherapy (if we are talking about injury, overload, or problems with the spine),
  • relax and unload your legs by slightly raising them and placing them on a pillow,
  • regular and appropriate physical activity (even a short walk will improve blood circulation and joint mobility),
  • use of compression pantyhose that improve blood circulation,
  • maintaining an appropriate diet with an emphasis on maintaining an appropriate weight, removing excess water from the body and improving metabolism,
  • restriction of smoking and alcohol consumption,
  • control of blood pressure and cholesterol levels.