Leg Pain and Fatigue Causes and Treatment

Leg pain and fatigue can follow a hard workout at the gym or sitting too long in a cramped car during a road trip. Within a day or two, the soreness will fade, and you will feel back to normal. But sometimes leg pain does not go away. This may be a sign of an underlying health problem. Do not ignore ongoing pain in your legs — your primary care physician can help find and treat the issue and get you back on your feet.

Causes of Leg Pain and Fatigue

Chronic venous insufficiency is a major cause of heaviness and pain in the legs. This condition occurs when veins deep in the legs that keep blood flowing back to the heart weaken, allowing blood to pool. People who sit or stand for long periods, those who are overweight or obese, and women are at greater risk for this condition, which causes leg pain and fatigue.

Leg pain can be the result of several types of injuries and illnesses, including these causes.

Injury

  • inflamed tendon
  • shin splints
  • strain
  • stress fracture

Disease

  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • multiple sclerosis
  • peripheral artery disease (PAD)

Lifestyle

  • dehydration
  • muscle fatigue after exercise
  • obesity
  • poor circulation

Other Causes

  • blood clots
  • bone infection
  • medication side effects
  • sciatic nerve pain

Diagnosing Leg Pain and Fatigue

There are countless causes for leg pain and fatigue. Seeing your physician is the only way to get an accurate diagnosis. You should contact your physician if you have leg pain accompanied with swelling, fever or discoloration (black or bluish tint to leg). It is also important to see a physician if your leg pain is getting worse and at-home self-care is not helping.

To diagnose leg pain, your physician will start by examining your legs, as well as your feet, back and hips. You will be asked to describe the pain and explain what makes it worse or better. Your physician may order additional tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to get a more detailed look at your leg.

Leg Pain and Fatigue Treatment

Your physician will address the root cause of leg pain and fatigue to help you find relief. Here are a few treatment options your health care provider may recommend:

  • Compression therapy. This involves wearing supportive socks that apply gentle pressure to control leg swelling and discomfort.
  • Medicine. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help with mild to moderate leg pain. If you are prone to blood clots, your physician may have you take medicine to thin your blood. You may need to take antibiotics if you have an infection.
  • Physical therapy. Completing leg exercises with a supervised physical therapist can ease painful symptoms and restore motion in the joint.
  • Surgery. You may need surgery for varicose veins, severe tendon damage, sprains and strains, or other leg injuries.

Prevent Leg Pain and Fatigue

It is not always possible to prevent leg pain. However, your lifestyle does play a part in reducing your risk. Here are few lifestyle changes to make to prevent leg pain:

  • Aim for a healthy weight.
  • Avoid sitting or standing too long.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  • Follow your physician’s recommendations for physical activity.
  • Promote leg circulation with exercise, compression stockings and leg elevation.
  • Quit smoking to decrease your risk of PAD and blood clots.
  • Take rest days from exercise.
  • Warm up before exercise (every time, no exceptions).