Little-Known Causes of Leg Pain

Leg pain is an equal-opportunity problem: It can affect young and old, men and women alike. In fact, that’s why it’s one of the most common pain-related complaints, affecting millions of Americans.

Lots of leg pain gets written off as muscle strain or “just part of getting older.” But the fact is, no type of leg pain is normal. What’s more, chronic leg pain might be related to a much more serious problem involving your cardiovascular system. 

At Advanced Vein Treatment and Cosmetic Center in Lake Zurich and Chicago Ridge, Illinois, Amjad Safvi, MD, and our team evaluate all types of leg pain using state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques. When vascular issues are the root of those symptoms, Dr. Safvi offers advanced treatment options to relieve painful symptoms and improve your overall vascular health, as well. 

If you’re having leg pain, here’s a quick review of some of the vascular issues that could be to blame.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

PAD affects about 7 million Americans, most of whom have one or more of these risk factors:

PAD happens when sticky cholesterol deposits (plaques) build up along your artery walls, making it harder for blood to flow through. PAD symptoms tend to be worse when you’re using your legs. That’s because your muscles need more oxygen-rich blood during activity.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)

CVI happens when the tiny valves inside your veins stop opening and closing the way they’re supposed to, slowing blood flow and allowing blood to pool inside the veins. The buildup of blood weakens the vessel walls, causing more damage to the tiny valves.

As many as 40% of American adults have CVI. In addition to leg pain, CVI can cause deep aching in your legs, along with swelling in your ankles and feet. In its early stages, it may cause no noticeable symptoms at all.

Superficial venous thrombosis (SVT)

SVT happens when a clot forms in a vein close to the surface of your skin. The clot causes the vein to become inflamed. Many people with SVT also have large varicose veins. In addition to pain, SVT often causes swelling in the affected area, along with extra warmth in your skin.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis refers to clot formation in the deeper veins of your leg. If the clot breaks off and travels to your lung, it can cause a pulmonary embolism, a potentially deadly complication of DVT.

In addition to leg pain, people with DVT may have swelling in their feet or ankles, along with leg cramps and a change in skin color. Often, DVT causes no noticeable symptoms early on, which is why having routine vascular screenings is important, especially as you get older.

Don’t ignore leg pain

Different types of vascular problems can cause leg pain, but there’s one thing all these problems have in common: They respond best when treatment begins early, ideally at the first sign of symptoms. If you’re having chronic or persistent leg pain, don’t put off your treatment. Call the office or book an appointment online, and let Dr. Safvi design a treatment plan for you.

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