Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Physician Dr. John-Paul Rue discusses when you should seek help for leg pain.
When is leg pain serious enough to consult a doctor?
Some of the most common causes of leg pain are pressure on the sciatic nerve in the lower back, which causes radiating pain down the leg, knee injuries, arthritis and blood clots in the lower leg which can be serious.
According to John-Paul Rue, M.D., a fellowship-trained Board Certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon with Orthopedics & Joint Replacement at Mercy Medical Center, if you have leg pain with some swelling, it is important to have that evaluated, especially if it happens after traveling. A simple ultrasound test can determine if you have a blood clot.
"If you have an acute injury, say in a sports activity and there's a muscle sprain/strain, typically we recommend resting it, icing, some compression and elevation. If you don't improve within a week to two weeks, typically we recommend that you have that evaluated," Dr. Rue said.
Leg cramps, spasms or cramps in the leg muscles that don't relax for at least several seconds may be caused by overuse or dehydration. Another cause of ongoing pain and cramping in the legs could be peripheral artery disease, a clogging of the arteries, much like heart disease, that can reduce circulation to the limbs.
The classic symptom of peripheral artery disease is pain in the calf with walking. If it doesn't feel right, contact your doctor.
View Mercy orthopedics and sports medicine expert Dr. John-Paul Rue’s interview about leg pain.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.