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Why Do My Legs Ache? Why You Should See a Doctor For Unexplained Leg Pain

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You’re sitting in a meeting at work, and your legs begin to ache. You can’t seem to get comfortable no matter how hard you try. Or maybe you’ve been on your feet all day, walking around the house while doing chores or running errands, and now they’re heavy, tired, and throbbing with pain. Sometimes leg aches have a simple explanation such as fatigue from exercise or you’re under the weather. If you can’t find a simple cause or the leg aches persist, however, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor or a vein specialist for an examination.

In this blog article, we will help you answer the question, “Why do my legs ache?” by exploring different causes for leg discomfort, such as varicose veins and blood clots, and why it’s important to seek care if you have persistent, unexplained leg symptoms such as heaviness, fatigue, pain, and more.

If you are concerned with leg pain or other symptoms, we invite you to book an appointment with Vein Specialists of the South in one of our three convenient locations in Macon, Warner Robins, and Locust Grove, Georgia.

Why Do My Legs Ache?

There are many reasons why you might experience leg pain, and some of them are more serious than others. Some common causes of leg aches are varicose veins and blood clots. You can have both of these and not even know it, so you should get unexplained leg aches, fatigue, heaviness, and swelling examined by a vein specialist.

Varicose Veins

If your legs ache, it’s possible that you’re suffering from varicose veins. While most varicose veins are visible, that’s not always the case. You can actually have vein disease with no outward signs. Veins deep within the leg can become enlarged and painful, leading to leg pain, fatigue, and heaviness. Varicose veins can also cause skin discoloration and swelling. Remember that just because you can’t see a bulging vein doesn’t mean one is not lurking beneath the surface causing your discomfort.

elevate your legsOther symptoms of varicose veins include:

Risk factors for varicose veins include:

  • Family history of venous disease
  • Long periods of time sitting or standing (usually for work)
  • Sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise
  • Obesity, being overweight, having a high BMI
  • Health conditions or disabilities limiting mobility

Blood Clots

While most blood clots do not cause symptoms, unexplained leg aches and pains could be a sign of a blood clot. When a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis) forms in your leg veins, it is a serious issue.

Factors known to increase the risk of developing a blood clot include recent surgery or illness limiting ambulation, conditions that thicken the blood, and unhealthy veins. According to recent studies, blood clots are more likely to form in varicose (or diseased) veins because they are already weakened and damaged. The reduced circulation and pooling of blood within the vein create the perfect conditions for a blood clot to form. If you or someone you know has a clotting disorder (such as hemophilia), it’s even more important to get checked out by a vein specialist.

Other symptoms of blood clots include:

  • Spot on the leg that is red, warm, and/or tender to the touch
  • Sudden swelling of the leg
  • Difficulty walking or standing

Risk factors of blood clots are nearly identical to those for varicose veins and include:sitting at a desk increases venous disease risks

  • Long term immobility due to surgery, injury, or illness requiring bed rest
  • Previous blood clots
  • Varicose veins
  • Sitting for long stretches of time, such as at a desk or during travel
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Disabilities and health conditions that limit mobility
  • Being overweight, obese, or having a high BMI

Other Causes for Leg Pain

As stated previously, there are many common causes of leg discomfort. Common causes of leg pain (other than vein problems) include back or orthopedic problems, arterial problems, nerve damage including neuropathy. Sometimes leg discomfort is simply a sign of general fatigue and overuse. But if you’ve been experiencing unexplained leg aches, why not get checked out by your vascular vein specialist?

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Why Do I Need to Be Treated for Varicose Veins?

You may be living under the assumption that varicose and spider veins are pure cosmetic problems. That’s not always the case. While varicose and spider veins usually have a cosmetic component to them you may have underlying vein disease, as their source. Plus both spider and varicose veins get worse over time and can lead to complications and have a larger impact on your quality of life.

Varicose Veins Weaken Over Time, Leading to Swelling, Bleeding, or Blood Clots

The vein walls become weak from the constant pressure on the vein walls. This can lead to leg chronic leg swelling when you are on your feet. Worse yet your varicose or spider vein can bleed very heavily from minor abrasion, shaving your legs, or just taking a bath.

Pain Can Limit Mobility, Leading to Other Health Risks

Chronic aching leg pain and the heaviness of vein disease worsens over time, limiting your mobility, and increasing your risk factors for other health problems, including blood clots. Also, who wants to be in pain all the time anyway?

When are Blood Clots Dangerous?

The most dangerous blood clot is the one that is asymptomatic. Symptomatic blood clots in the deep veins of the leg (DVT) or the superficial veins of the leg (SVT) have serious consequences. At least with symptoms, you have a chance to see a vein specialist before a complication occurs.

In a crazy way, the most dangerous blood clot is one that is asymptomatic because the first sign could be a life-threatening pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE occurs when an SVT or DVT blood clot breaks free and travels to the lungs. If the clot is large enough this is a life-threatening emergency. Symptoms include labored breathing, severe chest pain, and an overwhelming sense of doom.

That’s why it is important to see a vein specialist if you have varicose veins, spider veins, or unexplained symptoms of vein disease. If caught early a pulmonary embolism can be treated in the hospital, but you don’t want to get to that point if you can avoid it. Treating your unhealthy veins can not only reduce and eliminate the leg aches you’re experiencing. It can also prevent a medical emergency that can have life-altering, long-term consequences for your health.

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Schedule a Vein Health Evaluation With Vein Specialists of the South

If you’re experiencing unexplained leg pain or other symptoms listed above, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your vein specialist for an examination. Early detection is key in preventing more serious health problems down the road.

We offer a team-based approach to evaluation and care, convenient online appointment options, and a comprehensive treatment strategy combining conservative care at home — known as our Better Veins for Life® principles — and minimally invasive, Walk-In, Walk-Out® procedures.

As the experts on “why do my legs ache,” we encourage you to contact Vein Specialists of the South at one of our convenient locations in Georgia — Macon, Warner Robins, and Locust Grove. Let us help you achieve Better Veins for Life®.

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