leg pain

Leg Pain

In this article, we will explain and cover the causes of lower limb pains. So what parts are included in the lower limb? The lower limb starts at the hip joint (where the femur is articulated inside the pelvis) and continues all the way to the toes.

So all the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and other parts of the hip joint down to the toes can be involved in causing lower extremity pains. Here are the main causes of foot pain:


Leg pain that is felt between the hip joint and the knee

Causes of knee pain

Causes of leg pain

Causes of ankle pain


Peroneal tendon problems

Achilles tendon problems

Radicular pain from non-musculoskeletal organs

Causes of pain from the ankle to the toes

When to see a doctor?



Leg pain between the hip joint and the knee:

If you have a pain between the hip joint and the knee, it can be because of one of the following reasons:

  • Osteoarthritis of the hip and pelvis
  • Avascular necrosis of the femoral head (AVN)
  • Muscle strain and injury
  • Quadriceps muscle stretching 
  • Stretching of the hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh
  • Quadriceps muscle rupture 
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Fracture of the femoral shaft
  • Vascular problems and circulatory disorders
  • Narrowing of arteries
  • Blood clotting
  • Diffuse back pain (sciatica)
  • Paresthetica meralgia
  • Thigh skin surface infections
  • Tumors


Radicular pain from non-musculoskeletal organs:

Some non-musculoskeletal organs can also be the source of the pain in the lower limb:

  • Inguinal hernia
  • Femoral hernia
  • Varicocele
  • Testicular torsion
  • Diseases of the ovaries and uterus
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Pain due to urinary tract obstruction (urinary tract stone)


Causes of knee pain:

Knee pains based on their severity and their causes can be categorized into two main categories:

  1. Causes of acute knee pain
  2. Causes of chronic knee pain


Causes of acute knee pain:

Any of these items can cause a acute knee pain:

  • Fracture
  • Knee joint dislocation
  • Patella dislocation
  • Patellar bursitis
  • Boris the Anserinus
  • Meniscus injuries
  • Patella dislocation
  • Infection
  • Injuries to the cruciate ligaments of the knee
  • Medial and lateral ligament injury of the knee
  • Tendon rupture


Causes of chronic knee pain:

On the other side, chronic knee pains can be the result of any of the followings:

  • Osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Patella chondromalacia osgood schlatter
  • Osgood schlatter 
  • Jumpers' knee disease
  • Infection
  • Quadrilateral tendonitis 
  • Patellar bursitis
  • Bursitis of Anserinus 


Causes of leg pain:

If we only consider the leg section, the pain can be because of so many reasons including:

  • Fracture
  • Muscle spasm
  • Stretching the leg muscles
  • Muscle cramps
  • Vascular problems and diseases
  • Blood clots in the deep veins of the leg
  • Bleeding following leg trauma
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Neuropathies
  • Shin Splint


Causes of ankle pain:

If we go lower, we will have the ankle. The pain in ankle can have multiple sources such as:

  • Fracture
  • Dislocations
  • Twisting the ankle or ankle sprain
  • Arthritis
  • Impingement of tendons
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Sinus tarsal syndrome
  • Coalition Tarsal Syndrome



Pain can sometimes be because of the tendinitis, These pains are usually categorized as:

  • Posterior tibialis tendonitis
  • Tendinitis of the foot flexors


Peroneal tendon problems:

Peroneal tendon injuries can also make you feel pain in your legs. These injuries may include:

  • Peroneal tendinitis
  • Peroneal tendon displacement


Achilles tendon problems:

Any problem in Achilles tendon like the following injuries and issues can be really painful.

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Achilles bursitis
  • Achilles rupture
  • Infections
  • Tumors


Causes of pain from the ankle to the toes:

If you feel a pain in your leg anywhere from the ankle to the toes, it may be because of:

Injuries to the foot:

  • Fractures
  • Stretching of tendons
  • Fracture of lisfranc


Causes of plantar fasciitis:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tension fractions
  • Tunnel tarsal syndrome
  • Tibialis tendonitis posterior
  • Rigid flat foot
  • Muscle spasm
  • Wearing inappropriate shoes


Causes of metatarsalgia (pain under the toe):

  • Overweight
  • Wear high-heeled shoes
  • Stress fractures of the metatarsals
  • Morton Tumor
  • High daily activity


When to see a doctor?

As we saw here, lower extremity pain has different cause and a skilled specialist can diagnose the cause of leg pain by going over the history of the pain, proper examination and the help of appropriate imaging techniques.

Remember that the pain caused by putting too much pressure on the roots of the spinal nerves in the lower back can spread in certain patterns in the lower extremities. For example, sometimes this pain starts in the lower back and extends to the back of the buttocks and back of the thighs.




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