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Pain Management Health Center

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Lower Leg Pain: Causes and Treatments

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Bones, Joints, and Muscles continued...

Apply ice to get some relief. Or take anti-inflammatories if your doctor says they're okay for you. Avoid doing anything that causes pain. When it hurts less, stretch and strengthen your leg.

If your pain feels severe, your Achilles tendon may be torn. Another possible sign of a tear is having trouble pointing your toe downward. Your doctor may inject medicine into the inflamed area. You might need surgery to repair the damage.

Broken bones or sprains. Say you twist your ankle and get a mild sprain. Try the RICE treatment: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

For a more severe sprain or a broken bone (fracture), apply ice and see your doctor right away. You may need a cast or brace. You may also need physical therapy.

It will take time, but gradually you'll be able to walk comfortably, again. Go slow as you gradually increase your strength and put weight on the injured leg.

Veins and Clots

Blood clot. When your blood thickens in a vein and clumps together, it can turn into a clot. One that develops in a vein deep in the body is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Most deep-vein blood clots happen in the lower leg or thigh. They're more likely to happen if you're inactive for long periods, like on a long flight or car ride. You're also at risk if you're overweight, or you smoke, or take certain medications.

There's a chance a clot could break off into your bloodstream and travel to an artery in the lungs. If so, it could block blood flow. This is a serious condition called pulmonary embolism.

If you think you might have a blood clot, go to your doctor or emergency room right away.

Medications, support stockings, and weight loss are types of treatments to help you avoid getting clots.

Varicose veins. You might be familiar with these, because you can see them at the surface of the skin. They appear to be twisted, dark blue or purple veins, and are caused by weak valves and vein walls. They may cause a dull ache, especially after standing.

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