Exercise For Leg Pain
At Home Workouts To Relieve Leg Pain – The Vascular Institute of Birmingham Are you ready to get back on your feet? What better time than today? With it being the beginning of spring, there are so many reasons to take action to relieve your leg pain and become active again. Here are eight easy, at-home exercises that can help relieve some of that unnecessary pain you keep feeling:
Should we exercise in leg pain?
Is it bad to work out when you’re sore? – “Muscle soreness occurs because both muscle and the connective tissue around it get damaged during exercise,” explains Dr. Hedt. “This is completely normal and, for the most part, nothing to worry about. In fact, this is how muscle gets stronger since it builds back a little bit better each time.” Still, muscle soreness is uncomfortable and can feel like:
Muscles that are tender to the touch Burning pain as you use a specific muscle group Discomfort that occurs as you stand, sit, squat, lift or go up and down the stairs
What’s more is that this soreness can hang around for a while. “Usually you don’t actually feel sore until about 24 to 72 hours after your workout, and then this soreness can persist for up to three days,” says Dr. Hedt. “This is why it’s called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.” (Related: No, Lactic Acid Buildup Isn’t What Causes Muscle Soreness After a Workout — Here’s Why They Do Get Sore, Though ) And despite stretching, foam rolling or using a massage gun, you might still be dealing with sore muscles by the time your next workout rolls around.
- The logical question: Should you be pushing through such soreness or resting your muscles.
- Working out when sore is okay as long as it isn’t affecting your movement to the point where it’s causing you to compensate and do something in a way that’s unsafe,” says Dr. Hedt.
- Muscle soreness can be a deterrent to exercising, but it’s temporary and the more you exercise, the less you should feel it.
This is why staying active is so important. Usually, those who stay active aren’t going to get sore as much.” Even with soreness, though, there’s risk in following the “no pain, no gain” mantra too closely. “You never want to inadvertently turn some discomfort that started as nothing into something that can potentially increase your risk for injury,” says Dr.
How do I stop my legs from hurting when I walk?
Leg Pain When You Walk?Claudication Defined, Easily Treated In 1831, a veterinarian described a condition of lameness that hit horses after exercise defining the problem as “claudication” from the Latin word meaning “to limp.” These days, claudication describes a similar problem that affects 10% of people over 70, as well as about 2% of people aged 37-69.
Men are twice as likely as women to suffer this health issue. Claudication symptoms are described as aching, burning, weakness or “dead weight” in their legs when walking. “The leg pain can be easily treated,” says McLeod Vascular Surgeon Dr. Christopher Cunningham, “But it could signal more serious issues, such as or broader vascular issues, known as atherosclerosis (ATH-er-o-skler-oh-sis).” Causes Leg muscles cramp when they aren’t receiving enough oxygen, a condition call ischemia (uh-SKEEM-ya).
As we age, arteries stiffen from a buildup of cholesterol, calcium and other tissue, called plaque (plack). As the artery narrows, blood flow is restricted. Muscles become painful when they need, but don’t get, sufficient oxygen during exercise. Walking is an important exercise to help prevent and improve claudication.
- You will at some point, have to stop and rest.
- Your cramps should ease in a few minutes.
- Then, you can resume walking.
- Diagnosis Your physician will confirm the problem by checking the pulse in your legs.
- A handheld ultrasound device measures and compares the blood pressure in your arms and legs.
- Another ultrasound test can measure the size of the leg’s blood vessels.
High tech image scans can further examine blood flow in the patient’s legs.
You may also be tested for diabetes, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels, thyroid and kidney function – all of which can be triggers for the leg pain. Risk Factors In addition to growing older – which we can’t do much about – there are risk factors that can reduce the pain and slow the “hardening of the arteries” that cause claudication:
Smoking speeds up the hardening of the arteries and prevents development of smaller blood vessels that can assist the blocked arteries Excess Body Weight requires more blood in the legs to carry it.
Treatments In most cases, the leg pain will not worsen over time. But the problem will not clear up by itself. Simple approaches can reduce the pain and treat its ultimate causes.
Walking is the simplest way to strengthen leg muscles while building other blood vessels to feed the muscles. Start slow – short walks several times a week. If discomfort arises, stop for a few minutes. Over time, try walking longer distances. In 3-6 months, you should be able to handle longer distances without aching. Medications, such as taking an aspirin a day, can help circulation problems. Angioplasty uses a balloon inserted in a small incision in the thigh to stretch arteries and increase blood flow. Bypass Surgery is only used in severe cases that are not improved by other treatments. A section of blood vessel is taken from another part of the body to replace the blocked artery.
Final Thought. Very few people with claudication have a risk of losing their leg. However, medical supervision is important to relieve the symptoms, restore a person’s quality of life and most importantly to recognize when it’s progressed to limb threat.
Can dehydration cause leg pain?
1. Dehydration – Have you been drinking enough water? Dehydration is one of the most common causes of leg cramps. A cramp is an involuntary contraction of a muscle. The fluids in your body allow your muscles to relax, but—when those muscles are dehydrated—they get irritable and prone to cramping. Staying hydrated, especially during physical activity, is an excellent way to avoid leg cramps.
What type of doctor treats leg muscle pain?
Medically Reviewed by Patrick K. Denton, MD Hip Joint? Bad Knee? Leg Cramps? Torn Muscle? Hairline Fracture? Inflamed Tendon? “In medical terms, those questions are the beginning of a differential diagnosis,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Patrick Denton, MD.
- For most people, the term leg pain can be the key to a multitude of medical issues – some minor, some serious.
- Many – but not all – are handled by Orthopedic Specialists.” Let’s try to sort things out a bit.
- Orthopedic Specialists primarily deal with problems related to your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.
Below are some common leg pain issues treated by Orthopedic Specialists:
Total Joint Replacement. When arthritis or injury leaves a person’s hip or knee joint with limited mobility and pain, new joints can be installed – some lasting as long as 30 years. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) or Meniscus Tears, When a quick stop or twist causes one of these tissues to split, surgery is often the only successful treatment to get you back on your feet. Injury to your Achilles Tendon, near the heel of your foot, also falls into this category. Spinal Problems can trigger pain that radiates down the leg. In this case, an Orthopedic Specialist who deals with back problems may be preferred. Exercise-Related Injuries – from tendonitis to stress fractures – are problems that an Orthopedic Specialist is trained to deal with. And, of course, regular fractures are the domain of an Orthopedic Specialist.
Other problems might be best treated by other specialists, such as: Leg cramps can have numerous causes from simple dehydration to a disorder of the adrenal or thyroid glands. Your personal physician is a good place to start when trying to determine a cause and treatment options.
If the problem is related to hormonal glands, you may end up seeing an Endocrinologist. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) – issues with blood flow – can also cause pain. You may need to be treated by a Vascular Specialist – rather than an Orthopedic Specialist – for this potentially serious problem. FINAL THOUGHT As you can see, a simple aching leg may not be simple at all.
Don’t ignore leg pain. See a physician for a diagnosis and treatment options. Find an Orthopedic Specialist near you. Sources include: McLeod Health, National Institutes of Health, National Health Service (UK), American Association of Family Physicians
Should I workout my legs if my knees hurt?
Simple home exercises and stretches can help ease some common types of knee pain. – If you’ve got sore knees, exercise might seem like the hardest thing you can do — but it’s also one of the best. “Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for knee pain,” says Dr.
- Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.
- The right combination of strengthening and stretching exercises can relieve pain by helping to improve the way the joint moves and functions.
- The knee is often an innocent bystander between the hip and the foot.
Knee pain is often caused by problems occurring above or below,” says Dr. Elson. For example, weak hip muscles may cause more strain on the knee, intensifying your pain. Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint can help relieve it, says Dr. Elson. In addition, knee pain is sometimes caused or aggravated by tight muscles around the knee, a problem that is often successfully addressed by stretching.
If the muscles aren’t flexible, the knee joint sometimes won’t move properly, says Dr. Elson. Knee exercises and stretches can help relieve knee pain caused by many conditions, including these three that commonly affect older women: Patellofemoral pain. This condition typically causes a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee that’s made worse by daily activities, such as squatting, going up or down stairs, or standing up after sitting for a long period of time.
The pain is caused by irritation of the cartilage underneath the kneecap when it does not glide or sit properly. Exercise can help to eliminate problems that lead to this irritation. Stretches can loosen tight muscles on the side of the knee that may be pulling the kneecap out of its groove as it moves.
Strengthening weak hip muscles or stretching tight muscles in the front or back of the legs can also reduce discomfort. Chronic degenerative meniscal tears. When one or both pads of cartilage that cushion each of your knee joints deteriorates or tears, you may feel pain and a sticking or locking sensation.
While surgery is sometimes necessary, doctors usually first recommend physical therapy to help build up the muscles around the knee to take the pressure off the joint and reduce discomfort. Osteoarthritis. If you’re over age 50 and you have stiffness, pain, or swelling, it may be osteoarthritis.
Years of wear and tear can break down the cartilage in the knees, leading to chronic joint inflammation. A past injury may also lead to arthritis. While nothing can reverse these physical changes, you can reduce pain by building up the muscles around the knee as well as in the pelvis and core. Strong muscles act like scaffolding, taking some of the pressure off the joints.
Stretching to increase flexibility can help the joint function properly.
| While many conditions that cause knee pain can be helped by exercise, in some instances it may not be appropriate, says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. You should stop exercising and see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
Image: © ipopba/Getty Images
To ease knee pain, you’ll want to perform exercises that work a number of different muscles, from the hip abductors to the hamstrings and quadriceps, says Dr. Elson. Two to add to your routine are the side-leg raise, and the single-leg lift. Do this workout at least two days a week to start and ideally work up to every other day.
How many exercises you do in each session is your choice. But keep in mind that rushing through exercises can be counterproductive. “It’s more important to have good form than it is to have volume,” says Dr. Elson. Start slowly with fewer repetitions to ensure you get your form right. Then add more as it becomes easier.
SIDE-LEG RAISE Starting position: Lie on your right side, with your legs straight. Bend your right forearm upward and rest your head on your hand. Movement: Keep your legs straight and slowly lift your left leg up toward the ceiling. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position. Finish all repetitions, then repeat on the left side. Tips and techniques:
- Throughout the movement, keep your hips straight and still as if you were lying with your back against a wall.
- Contract your abdominal muscles and keep your pelvis still (no rocking) throughout.
- Lift your leg up as high as possible without letting your hip move and while maintaining good form.
- Make it easier: Lift your top leg a shorter distance, or lean your back against a wall for support.
- Make it harder: Tie resistance tubing around your upper thighs, or increase the number of repetitions.
- SINGLE-LEG LIFT
Starting position: Lie on your back with your legs straight. Extend one leg, foot slightly flexed. Rest your hands at your sides on the floor. Movement: Tighten your thigh muscles and slowly lift the leg in the air until your knees are aligned. Pause, then slowly lower your leg to rest on the floor. Finish all repetitions, then repeat with the other leg. Tips and techniques:
- Keep your abdominal muscles contracted.
- Keep your hips on the floor as you lift one leg.
- Exhale as you lift.
Make it easier: Lift your leg a shorter distance. Make it harder: At a slow, controlled pace, try tracing the letter T with your leg in the air. Lift up one leg four inches, move the leg four inches to the left, return to center, move the leg four inches to the right, return to center, then lower your leg to the floor.
Finish all repetitions, then repeat with the other leg. You should also incorporate daily stretching into your routine. Try using a foam roller to work out the kinks in your muscles. The roller targets tight, rigid, and painful areas in both the muscles and the myofascial tissue (a layer of connective tissue around the muscles).
This process, called myofascial release, which can also be performed through a hands-on massage, is designed to relax this tissue to reduce pain. It does this by releasing tension in muscles that are pulling abnormally on the knee joint, says Dr. Elson. Starting position: Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms by your side. Movement: Grasp your right leg with both hands behind the thigh. Extend your leg to lift your right foot toward the ceiling, foot flexed. Straighten the leg as much as possible without locking the knee to feel a stretch along the back of the right thigh.
- Stretch the leg extended toward the ceiling to the point of mild tension without any pressure behind the knee or any pain.
- Relax your shoulders down and back into the floor.
- Make it easier: Don’t lift your leg as high, or use a strap instead of your hands to support your leg.
- Make it harder: Pull your leg closer to your chest.
- QUADRICEPS STRETCH
Starting position: Stand on the floor with your feet spaced shoulder-width apart. Movement: Bend your right knee and bring the heel toward your right buttock. Reach back with your right hand and take hold of your foot. Hold the stretch, then slowly lower your foot to the floor. Repeat the stretch with your left leg. Tips and techniques:
- Stand straight.
- Keep your bent knee aligned with the hip, not pointing out to the side.
Make it easier: Lie on your stomach to do the same stretch. Place a yoga strap around your foot and hold on to both ends as you get into the starting position. Then use the strap to assist with the stretch. Make it harder: Doing the stretch on your stomach, lift your knee off the floor slightly, without pulling your foot, to increase the stretch.