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Peripheral Artery Disease

Other Causes of Leg Pain

Leg pain can come from a variety of causes. Your healthcare professional has specific ways to discover if the cause is P.A.D. Other non-P.A.D. common causes of leg pain may include:

  • A muscle cramp (also called a charley horse), frequently caused by the following:
    • Dehydration or low amounts of potassium, sodium, calcium, or magnesium in the blood
    • Medications, such as diuretics, which can cause you to lose too much fluid or minerals
    • Muscle fatigue or strain from overuse, too much exercise, or holding a muscle in the same position for a long time
  • Injuries caused by:
    • A torn or overstretched muscle (strain)
    • Hairline crack in the bone (stress fracture)
    • Inflamed tendon (tendinitis)
    • Shin splints—pain in the front of your leg related to overuse or repetitive pounding
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in the large, deep veins of the leg. This clot can interfere with blood flow. In some circumstances, a part of the clot may break off and travel through the bloodstream (embolize). The dislodged blood clot (embolus) can travel to the lungs, brain, or other organs, causing severe damage.
  • Infection of the bone (osteomyelitis) or skin and soft tissue
  • Inflammation of the leg joints by arthritis or gout
  • Nerve damage—common in diabetics, smokers, and alcoholics (symptoms include numbness, tingling, or a sensation of pins-and-needles)
  • Varicose veins—swollen and twisted veins that are visible just under the surface of the skin
  • Spinal stenosis—narrowing in the spine, causing pressure on the nerves and spine, with resulting numbness and pain
  • Lumbar disease
  • Osteoarthritis
A male patient talking with his doctor

Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider

  1. Does my medical history raise my risk for P.A.D.?
  2. Do I need to do anything about my blood glucose, blood pressure, or cholesterol?
  3. Which screening tests or exams are right for me?
  4. If I have P.A.D., what steps should I take to treat it?
  5. What steps can I take to reduce my risk for heart attack and stroke?
  6. What can I do to quit smoking?

To Find Out More

For more information about P.A.D. and to download free education materials, visit:



Read More "Peripheral Artery Disease" Articles

Millions Untreated for Peripheral Artery Disease / Treating P.A.D. / Other Causes of Leg Pain / Your P.A.D. Checklist

Fall 2011 Issue: Volume 6 Number 3 Page 24