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.
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.
Other 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
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:
- 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?