Leg pain is often uncomfortable, persistent, and experienced in many forms. And, because of how numerous the causes of leg pain can be, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason for this issue. While many people associate leg pain and swelling with aging, the culprit behind this pain may actually be vascular—related to the veins and arteries that carry blood throughout your body.
Vascular leg pain can be described as any condition that hinders the circulation of the blood and lymph. There are many possible reasons behind vascular leg pain, but here are several vascular conditions which could cause serious pain.
Pain in the legs is often debilitating—because of how often we rely on our legs for basic movement and daily activities. However, our legs experience immense daily pressure due to how much we use them. Overusing our leg muscles and exposing them to high levels of pressure could result in varicose veins, a condition in which veins enlarge due to the malfunction in blood flow throughout the body. Varicose veins may cause feelings of heaviness in the legs, pain, and swelling. Often, varicose veins cause skin darkening and venous leg ulcers.
This disease is often caused by the narrowing or hardening of arteries and restricted blood flow. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can cause leg pain, leg cramping, tingling sensations throughout the leg and foot, and pain when moving the limb. PAD occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen flowing to the leg muscles. This is a common condition behind leg pain.
A blood clot that forms in the legs is considered thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis in general is the inflammation of a vein due to the formation of blood clots. Various forms of thrombophlebitis could cause leg pain, one of which is superficial thrombophlebitis, which is a red, engorged vein that causes localized swelling and pain in the legs.
Similarly, deep-vein thrombophlebitis (DVT) can occur due to injury and inactivity. However, DVT is considered a serious condition because of the chance that the blood clot can break loose and travel to the lungs, damaging the organ and causing reduced oxygen levels. DVT often causes swelling, redness, heat, and pain in the legs. Post-thrombotic syndrome occurs after DVT, where the affected leg can become chronically swollen, painful, and discolored. You may even form ulcers around the foot.
Considered the opposite of DVT, arterial embolism occurs when there is a blockage in the arterial or venous blood flow due to a blood clot. This condition is characterized by a sudden onset of pain in the legs, and can often result in a lack of motion in the legs or loss of sensation. Occasionally, the leg will lose a pulse and go cold. In these cases, the leg may require amputation.
A condition in which leg pain and swelling occur, lymphedema ensues when there's a blockage in the lymphatic system. This blockage prevents the lymphatic fluid from draining and results in swelling, tightness, itchiness, and heaviness in the legs. This condition is often caused by surgery complications, trauma, infection, or radiation exposure. If left untreated, lymphedema could result in poor quality of life and irreversible tissue damage.
Too many times, has leg pain gone unnoticed and patients are forced to spend their time and money to correct their pain. At South Valley Vascular, our team of experts has the technology and drive to get you back on your feet pain-free! For those suffering from unknown leg pain, visit us to learn more about the possible underlying conditions.