Here’s a way to tell what that leg pain really means…

If you’ve ever been stopped cold by a charley horse, you know just how excruciating these muscle spasms can be. But are you sure it’s just a muscle spasm? Or is that leg pain due to something far more serious?

What can cause leg pain…Running physical injury, leg calf pain. Runner sore body after exercising, red background

PERIPHERAL ARTERIAL DISEASE (PAD)

This is one to worry about. Even though the pain usually isn’t intense, it can triple your risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

What it feels like: About 10% of people with PAD suffer leg cramps, leg aching and leg fatigue that occur only during physical activity involving the legs (any type of activity can trigger it—even just walking). When you rest your legs, the discomfort goes away, usually in 10 minutes or less. As PAD becomes more severe and blood circulation worsens, pain can occur during rest and result in leg ulcers and even gangrene.

What to do: See a doctor. PAD is usually caused by atherosclerosis, the same condition that leads to most heart attacks. Your doctor will compare the blood pressure in your arms to the pressure at your ankles. If there’s a significant difference, that could mean that you have PAD and you’ll need an ultrasound of the legs to determine the extent and location of arterial obstructions. Continue reading “Here’s a way to tell what that leg pain really means…” »