Sudden leg pain can be a symptom of a serious illness

Sudden leg pain can be a symptom of a serious illness

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When leg pain is very dangerous
Most people assume that leg pain has a harmless cause. But it is precisely when the legs tingle and swell that a serious illness could be the cause. Circulatory disorders in the arteries and veins or a narrowing of the spinal canal can be the cause. Therefore, it makes sense to see a doctor as soon as possible. It is often advisable to contact an emergency doctor. We show when that is the case.

Leg pain can have different causes
Many people have various non-specific pains in their legs from time to time: these suddenly become warm and heavy, feel plump or pull. This can often be harmless, but in some cases the symptoms indicate dangerous illnesses. Since the legs are connected to several joints and are traversed by numerous nerves, muscles and blood vessels, the causes can be very diverse. Prof. Hermann Josef Steinkamp from the Angioclinic Vascular Center in Berlin explained: "For example, the arteries on the legs are much longer than those on the heart and neck, so that more deposits can build up here." An overview of possible causes:

Circulatory disorders as a trigger
Among others, the peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is to be mentioned, sometimes also called chronic arterial disease (AVK). This includes a clinical picture in which sufferers suffer from chronic circulatory disorders in the extremities. The legs are usually affected. In advanced stages, PAD is also known colloquially as a smoker's leg.

Steinkamp explained: "With peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD), the pelvic, thigh and lower leg arteries narrow due to deposits, so that the leg muscles are poorly supplied with blood and receive less oxygen." Especially when walking, the arterial narrowing is noticed by those affected. "Often they get cramps in their buttocks, thighs or calves that are so severe after less than 200 meters that they can no longer walk." In many cases, a balloon catheter is used so that the blood can flow freely again. With very solid deposits, however, the wire no longer threatens to get through. In the past there was only amputation. Nowadays, however, such closures can be vaporized with high-energy laser light, explained Steinkamp.

Wear of the spine in old age
In spinal canal stenosis, tingling and numbness in the legs occur in addition to back pain. Here, however, the cause is not circulatory disorders, but among other things the progressive wear of the spine with increasing age. According to the dpa, orthopedic surgeon Nicolas Gumpert from Frankfurt am Main said: “The spinal canal in the lumbar spine is narrowing, so that the spinal nerves come under pressure. The flow of nerve information is disturbed, which then translates into leg pain. ”Spinal canal stenosis is usually first treated with medication and physiotherapy. Sometimes an intervention is necessary. Experts repeatedly point out that spinal canal stenosis operations should be carefully considered, since conservative measures usually lead to success.

Thrombosis can be life-threatening
Last but not least, the veins can also cause leg problems. In the form of deep leg vein thrombosis (DVT). "A blood clot hinders the backflow of blood from the foot through the knee and the groin to the heart," explained Norbert Frings from the Capio Mosel-Eifel Clinic for Venous Diseases in Bad Bertrich. The leg usually swells, becomes heavy and unusually warm. "The clot can initially remain without symptoms," says the doctor. This is tricky, since an undetected thrombosis can quickly become life-threatening: if the DVT is not treated, there is a risk of pulmonary embolism.

"A piece of the clot can detach and be flushed into a vessel in the lungs, so that acute heart failure threatens," said Frings, according to dpa. It is usually treated with drugs that inhibit blood clotting. Those affected are usually advised to wear compression stockings, quit smoking and lose weight. And also for regular exercise, but not during an acute DVT. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: PAD Peripheral arterial disease 2 MOST important signs u0026 symptoms on Exams u0026 NCLEX (July 2022).


  1. Kikree

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  2. Fitzadam

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  3. Lawson

    Why is absent?

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