What Causes Random Pain in Your Leg?

A random pain in your leg can be deliberating and interfere with your normal activity. It may be felt as a stabbing, aching, tingling, dull, or sharp pain. This pain may be felt when you are inactive or active. This pain can occur between 6 and 7 times a day. It may be accompanied by muscle cramps, immobility, and cardiovascular problems. In this article we will discuss what causes random leg pain and when you should see a doctor.

What causes random pain in your leg?

It is quite difficult to determine the cause of random leg pain, because it is indiscriminate and sporadic. Below we have listed some likely causes:

Bursitis

This is a very painful condition that affects the fluid pads, or bursae, located near your joints.

Symptoms. Is the random pain sharp or shooting? Are your joints achy and stiff? Is there a red rash around your joints? Does it hurt to move around? If so, you may have bursitis.

Treatment. The initial treatment can be done at home. It involves resting your leg, applying an ice pack, and taking over the counter pain medication to relieve the pain. If that doesn't work and the random leg pain worsens, you may need to seek medical attention. Antibiotic medication may be prescribed if the bursitis is caused by an infection. Physical therapy may prove beneficial in easing the pain and strengthening leg muscles. A corticosteroid injection can help relieve the inflammation and pain.

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome

This is a rare condition that normally occurs from strenuous exercise.

Symptoms. Is the pain in your leg achy, burning, or a cramp? Does your leg feel tight? Is there any numbness or tingling in your leg? Is your leg weak? If so, you may have chronic exertional compartment syndrome.

Treatment. Your doctor will recommend a range of different treatment options. These include pain medication, leg stretches, orthotics, massage, physical therapy, and rest.

Fibromyalgia

This is a medical condition that causes pain and stiffness in your joints and muscles. The cause of this painful condition is currently unknown.

Symptoms. The most common symptom of Fibromyalgia is pain, which can be aggregated by stress, the weather, and movement. This pain may not just be localized to the leg; it can affect the whole body. Other symptoms include fatigue, memory problems, headaches, abdominal pain, and frequent urination.

Treatment. Tricyclic antidepressants have proven effective at easing the pain and discomfort caused by Fibromyalgia. These are taken in very small doses, and usually before bed. Cortisone medication injections and painkillers may reduce the pain. There are a few things that you can do at home. Stress reduction is necessary, because stress can aggravate symptoms. This can be accomplished with counseling, adjusting your work schedule, or yoga. Physical therapy, an exercise routine, or acupuncture may also prove beneficial.

Muscle Cramp

A muscle cramp in the leg can be felt as 'random' pain in the leg. This is a phenomena felt by most individuals at least once in their lifetime. It is the involuntary forceful spasm of a muscle that causes it to contract. A cramp that affects just the leg can be called a 'true cramp.' This can be caused by injury, vigorous activity, dehydration, or a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Symptoms. The primary symptom of a muscle cramp is pain. It can become so severe that it is immobilizing. This pain may be followed by swelling and redness on the affected area.

Treatment. A leg cramp can often be treated by stretching the muscles in the leg through walking or standing. You can also gently massage the leg and/or apply heat to it. You can use a heat pad or take a hot bath. If you get muscle cramps on a regular basis, it is a good idea to consult your doctor. There may be an underlying medical condition causing these cramps.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis is the inflammation or swelling of the tendons, structures that connect muscle to bone.

Symptom. The sole symptom of tendinitis is pain and tenderness felt in the tendon, close to the joint. This pain may be heightened at night and with activity.

Treatment. The goal of treatment is to relieve the pain and inflammation of the tendons. This can be done by resting your leg. Anti-inflammatory medication will also help reduce tendon swelling, consequently reducing the pain.

Bone Cancer

This is a rare kind of cancer that infects the bones, most commonly in the leg.

Symptoms. Is your random leg pain felt in the bone? Is their external swelling? Do you have tender and sore legs? Are you fatigued? Have you been losing weight without trying? If so, you should contact a doctor and get tested for bone cancer.

Treatment. Treatment normally involves surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Surgery will involve removing all the cancerous tissue. If it is very severe, the whole limb may need to be removed. Radiation therapy will be selected if surgery is not an option. It may also be used after surgery to eradicate any remaining cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is often used before surgery to shrink the cancer into a more manageable size. This can allow the limb to be saved.

Random leg pain may also be caused by one of the following:

  • Claudication
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Gout
  • Night leg cramps
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Posterior cruciate ligament injury
  • Posterior tibial tendon rupture
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Thrombophlebitis

When to contact a doctor

You should call a medical professional if: there is palpable swelling in both legs, you have a fever, the pain is intensified through activity, the leg has turned black or blue and is cold, or rest and other home care methods have not eased the pain. These are all signs that your random leg pain may be caused by a medical condition that will need to be treated by a doctor.

A medical professional should be seen as soon as possible if: there is any sign of infection (redness, swelling, fever), your leg is swollen, pale and cold to the touch, or if both of your legs are swollen and you are having difficulties breathing.

Go to the hospital immediately if: your leg has a serious cut or an exposed bone, you are physically unable to walk, your calf is red, swollen or painful, or you hear a distinctive popping sound at the time of injury or when you walk.