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When Does Leg Pain Require Medical Intervention?

There are many causes of leg pain, including overuse, muscle cramps, broken bones, sprains or strains, and vascular issues. Sometimes, leg pain doesn’t require medical intervention. If your leg muscles are sore from an intense workout, for example, you might find relief through massage, rest, and a warm soak in the tub. 

But what about leg pain related to vascular diseases? Here at Vascular Specialists, our experienced team of vascular surgeons are experts when it comes to diagnosing and treating leg pain related to varicose veins or peripheral artery disease. Here, they answer the question: When does leg pain require medical intervention? 

What’s causing your leg pain?

Both varicose veins and peripheral artery disease could be the reason behind your leg pain

If varicose veins are causing leg pain:

Varicose veins develop when the one-way valves in your veins malfunction. As blood pools, it enlarges the veins, which can make them appear as twisty and lumpy under your skin. Most people regard varicose veins as a cosmetic issue, but they can cause pain and discomfort, too. Some people describe the sensation as heavy or achy. 

If left untreated, varicose veins can increase your risk for leg wounds (ulcers) and other serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis. Medical interventions for varicose veins at our Vein Care Institute include sclerotherapy, endovenous ablation, and VenaSeal™.

If peripheral artery disease is causing pain:

Peripheral artery disease is a circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries affect how much blood reaches your limbs. This can result in:

If you suspect that peripheral artery disease is causing your leg pain, seek medical intervention. The cramping and pain when moving can impact your quality of life, and untreated ulcers can increase your risk of infection.

In addition, peripheral artery disease can be a sign of another underlying condition: fatty deposits in other arteries — not just the arteries in your legs. Left untreated, clogged arteries can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Lifestyle changes as well as medical interventions (such as stents or angioplasties) can treat clogged arteries and help reduce your risk of unwanted complications.

Signs that leg pain requires emergency treatment

Sometimes, leg pain requires emergency medical treatment. A blood clot in your leg can be life-threatening if the clot breaks free and travels to your lungs. Signs of a blood clot include swelling in your leg, pain and tenderness, and redness. You might also have a fever.

Other examples of leg pain that require immediate emergency care include broken bones, inability to put any weight on your leg, and loss of any sensation in your leg or foot.

Get the relief you need

To answer the original question — when does leg pain require medical intervention? — the answer is when you’re in pain. You don’t need to suffer with any level of leg discomfort, whether that’s a nagging pain, a burning sensation, or achiness. 

At Vascular Specialists, we’re here to pinpoint the cause of your pain and get you started with the right treatment. From conservative options (like compression stockings) to advanced surgical solutions, we can help you get back on your feet.

Call 815-824-4406 to book a consultation at either location — in Tinley Park or Evergreen Park, Illinois. You can also request an appointment online.

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