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Why am I having constant pain in my legs?

Monday, 20 August 2007
Answered by: Dr. Mathew Varghese
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Director,
St. Stephens Hospital,
New Delhi
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Q. I am a 24 years old female, married for 5 months. I have a constant pain in my legs, especially in the area around the calves. I have consulted a lot of doctors. I have also taken a lot of vitamin supplements. But there is no relief. Please advise.

A.  Calf pain can occur because of several underlying problems. So you will have to give us more clues for a proper diagnosis. 1. In its simplest form it can be because of unaccustomed walking or running or leg exercises. You have not given any such history and anyway it does not last this long. 2. It can be a manifestation of a systemic problem. These include conditions involving thyroid, parathyroids, kidneys, liver, intestines and even several types of blood problems. 3. This could be a manifestation of a metabolic problem as in diabetes, calcium metabolism and control of other electrolytes (salt) in the blood. 4. It could also be as a result of decreased blood supply to the calf muscles. This can happen from narrowing of the vessels or blockage of the vessels. Such pains are typically worse on walking and are relieved by rest. Clotting of blood in veins can also cause pain in the calf with swelling. 5. It could also be as a result of a nerve problem either locally or in the back. So if you have a history of a back pain then you will need to be evaluated for either a disc problem or a spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips over the other). In these cases pain is the result of pinching of nerves. 6. At times pain is a manifestation of a psychological problem without any physical ailment 7. There are several other miscellaneous causes of calf pain also. The reason I have gone through this list is to make you aware that though the symptom seems simple, the diagnosis needs careful clinical evaluation. Having said that I am not trying to scare you, so do not start spending sleepless nights. As you have no other symptoms yours should be simple cause of pain. You could show yourself to a good orthopaedic surgeon and have an assessment done.

A.  Calf pain can occur because of several underlying problems. So you will have to give us more clues for a proper diagnosis. 1. In its simplest form it can be because of unaccustomed walking or running or leg exercises. You have not given any such history and anyway it does not last this long. 2. It can be a manifestation of a systemic problem. These include conditions involving thyroid, parathyroids, kidneys, liver, intestines and even several types of blood problems. 3. This could be a manifestation of a metabolic problem as in diabetes, calcium metabolism and control of other electrolytes (salt) in the blood. 4. It could also be as a result of decreased blood supply to the calf muscles. This can happen from narrowing of the vessels or blockage of the vessels. Such pains are typically worse on walking and are relieved by rest. Clotting of blood in veins can also cause pain in the calf with swelling. 5. It could also be as a result of a nerve problem either locally or in the back. So if you have a history of a back pain then you will need to be evaluated for either a disc problem or a spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips over the other). In these cases pain is the result of pinching of nerves. 6. At times pain is a manifestation of a psychological problem without any physical ailment 7. There are several other miscellaneous causes of calf pain also. The reason I have gone through this list is to make you aware that though the symptom seems simple, the diagnosis needs careful clinical evaluation. Having said that I am not trying to scare you, so do not start spending sleepless nights. As you have no other symptoms yours should be simple cause of pain. You could show yourself to a good orthopaedic surgeon and have an assessment done.

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