What Type Of Doctor Treats Leg Muscle Pain


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.

  1. If the problem is related to hormonal glands, you may end up seeing an Endocrinologist.
  2. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) – issues with blood flow – can also cause pain.
  3. You may need to be treated by a Vascular Specialist – rather than an Orthopedic Specialist – for this potentially serious problem.
  4. 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

What kind of doctor should I see if my leg hurts?

When Should You See an Orthopedist for Leg Pain? | Center for Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Leg pain is a fairly common complaint that has various potential causes. It can result from overuse, wear and tear, an underlying medical condition, or injury affecting any of the bones, soft tissues, nerves, or blood vessels in the leg.

  1. Most cases of leg pain go away either on their own or with self-care measures.
  2. However, there are cases that warrant a visit to an for prompt intervention.
  3. An orthopedist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and conditions that affect the bones and soft tissues.

Seeking treatment from an orthopedist can help you avoid complications down the road. The question is when should you see an orthopedist for your leg pain? You should see an orthopedist if your leg pain is accompanied by any of the following:

When should I be worried about leg muscle pain?

Make an appointment with your health care provider if: –

  • You have pain during or after walking.
  • You have swelling in both legs.
  • Your pain gets worse.
  • Your symptoms don’t get better after a few days of treating them at home.
  • You have painful varicose veins.

What does it mean when a muscle in your leg hurts?

Causes – Leg pain can be due to a muscle cramp (also called a charley horse ). Common causes of cramps include:

Dehydration or low amounts of potassium, sodium, calcium, or magnesium in the bloodMedicines (such as diuretics and statins)Muscle fatigue or strain from overuse, too much exercise, or holding a muscle in the same position for a long time

An injury can also cause leg pain from:

A torn or overstretched muscle ( strain )Hairline crack in the bone (stress fracture)Inflamed tendon ( tendinitis ) Shin splints (pain in the front of the leg from overuse)

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Other common causes of leg pain include:

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), which causes a problem with blood flow in the legs (this type of pain, called claudication, is generally felt when exercising or walking and is relieved by rest)Blood clot ( deep vein thrombosis ) from long-term bed restInfection of the bone ( osteomyelitis ) or skin and soft tissue ( cellulitis )Inflammation of the leg joints caused by arthritis or gout Nerve damage common to people with diabetes, smokers, and alcoholics Varicose veins

Less common causes include:

Cancerous bone tumors ( osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma) Legg-Calve-Perthes disease – poor blood flow to the hip that may stop or slow the normal growth of the legNoncancerous (benign) tumors or cysts of the femur or tibia (osteoid osteoma)Sciatic nerve pain (radiating pain down the leg) caused by a slipped disk in the back Slipped capital femoral epiphysis – most often seen in boys and overweight children between ages 11 and 15

Should I see a neurologist for leg pain?

When people complain of leg pain, they often describe a numbness or tingling, pricking sensations (paresthesia), or muscle weakness. Severe symptoms may include burning pain (especially at night), muscle wasting or paralysis. Others may complain of extreme sensitivity leading to an intense experience of touch (allodynia).

In such cases, pain may occur in response to a stimulus that does not normally provoke pain. In the majority of cases, the source of leg pain is peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral nerves send sensory information back to the brain and spinal cord, such as a message that the feet are cold. Peripheral nerves also carry signals from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles to generate movement.

Damage to the peripheral nervous system interferes with these vital connections. Like static on a telephone line, peripheral neuropathy distorts and sometimes interrupts messages between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body. Leg pain, if not the result of direct injury to the area or repetitive use, can be due to damage to the peripheral nervous system or of a neurological disorder that causes weakening of muscles.

A sensation of wearing an invisible “glove” or “sock”Burning sensation or freezing painSharp, jabbing, shooting, or electric-like painExtreme sensitivity to touchDifficulty sleeping because of feet and leg painLoss of balance and coordinationMuscle weaknessMuscle cramping/twitchingDifficulty walking or moving the armsUnusual sweatingAbnormalities in blood pressure or pulse

Seek medical care right away if you notice unusual tingling, weakness or pain in your hands or feet. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further damage to your peripheral nerves. Peripheral neuropathy has many potential causes. Besides a physical exam, diagnosis usually includes:

A full medical history including your medical history, symptoms, lifestyle, exposure to toxins, drinking habits and a family history of nervous system (neurological) diseases. Neurological examination including tendon reflexes, muscle strength and tone, ability to feel certain sensations, as well as posture and coordination.

Your doctor may order tests, including:

Blood tests to detect vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, abnormal immune function and other conditions that can cause peripheral neuropathy. Imaging tests like CT or MRI scans to look for herniated disks, tumors or other abnormalities. Nerve function tests Electromyography to record electrical activity in your muscles and detect nerve damage. Other nerve function tests which might include an autonomic reflex screen to record how the autonomic nerve fibers work, a sweat test, and sensory tests to record how you feel touch, vibration, cooling and heat. Nerve biopsy which involves removing a small portion of a nerve, usually a sensory nerve, to look for abnormalities. Skin biopsy which removes a small portion of skin to look for a reduction in nerve endings.

It is common for people with peripheral neuropathy to experience different degrees of pain. Your doctor will work with you to identify the type of pain medication that will best manage your symptoms and work with your body chemistry, and other treatments.

  • Acute pain accompanies illness, inflammation, or injury to tissues.
  • The onset of acute pain is sudden and may occur with emotional distress.
  • The cause of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated, and the pain will go away over time.
  • Occasionally, acute pain can become chronic.
  • Chronic pain may be part of the disease itself.

Environmental and psychological factors may make it become worse. Chronic pain lasts for longer periods of time than acute pain and is more difficult to treat. Today, many treatment options exist (over-the-counter), doctor prescribed and alternative/complementary treatments) to alleviate symptoms, and aide in peripheral neuropathy pain relief, and it’s important to find the treatment option that will work best for you.

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Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can relieve mild symptoms. For more-severe symptoms, your doctor might prescribe painkillers.

Medications containing opioids can lead to dependence and addiction, so these drugs generally are prescribed only when other treatments fail.

Anti-seizure medications: Medications developed to treat epilepsy, may relieve nerve pain. Side effects can include drowsiness and dizziness. Topical treatments: Capsaicin cream can cause modest improvements in peripheral neuropathy symptoms. You might have skin burning and irritation where you apply the cream, but this usually lessens over time. Some people, however, can’t tolerate it.

Lidocaine patches are another skin treatment that might offer pain relief. Side effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, and numbness at the site of the patch.

Antidepressants: Certain tricyclic antidepressants have been found to help relieve pain by interfering with chemical processes in your brain and spinal cord that cause you to feel pain.

Others might also ease the pain of peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes. Side effects may include dry mouth, nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, decreased appetite, and constipation. If your lab tests indicate no underlying condition, your doctor might recommend watchful waiting to see if your neuropathy improves.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) calls for electrodes to be placed on the skin to deliver a gentle electric current at varying frequencies. TENS should be applied for 30 minutes daily for about a month. Plasma exchange and intravenous immune globulin which help suppress immune system activity might benefit people with certain inflammatory conditions.

Plasma exchange involves removing your blood, then removing antibodies and other proteins from the blood and returning the blood to your body. In immune globulin therapy, you receive high levels of proteins that work as antibodies (immunoglobulins).

Physical therapy can help improve muscle weakness and movements. Some people may also need hand or foot braces, a cane, a walker, or a wheelchair. Surgery may be suggested if you have neuropathies caused by pressure on nerves, such as pressure from tumors.

Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common forms of peripheral neuropathy. In this case, nerve damage occurs in an ascending pattern. The first nerve fibers to malfunction are the ones that travel the furthest from the brain and the spinal cord. Pain and numbness often are felt symmetrically in both feet followed by a gradual progression up both legs.

Later, the fingers, hands, and arms may become affected. This information was provided by the specialists at Semmes Murphey Clinic. Readers are encouraged to research trustworthy organizations for information. Please talk with your physician for websites and sources that will enhance your knowledge and understanding of this issue and its treatments.

If you experience leg pain, particularly prolonged or recurring pain or pain unrelieved by over-the-counter pain relievers, it’s time to see one of the doctors at Semmes Murphey. Request an Appointment

What is a referral for muscle pain?

Home » Pain Management » Trigger Points and Referral Pain What are Trigger Points? Trigger points, also known as “knots”, are hypersensitive tender points within the fascia that surrounds skeletal muscle. They can sometimes be felt as nodules in tightly contracted muscle bands and are often times associated with musculoskeletal issue.

  • Trigger Points are the most common source of pain that may be caused by stress, injury, strain, overuse or bad posture and can radiate from a localized focal point into another surrounding area associated with a twitch response.
  • Trigger Points may also decrease an individual’s range of motion (ROM) due to the pain, tightness or stiffness of the affected muscle and can cause an autonomic response if compressed.

There are two different types of Trigger Points: Active Trigger Points and Latent Trigger Points that an individual may experience. According to an article by in the American Academy of Family Physicians, Active Trigger Points and Latent trigger points are classified based on their characteristics. Trigger Points are unique and are very difficult to diagnose due to its nature. Because Trigger Points are complicated and may be caused by a multitude of factors, other underlying issues that are causing the Trigger Points may be ignored or misdiagnosed.

  1. For instance, Trigger points can sometimes be mistaken or misdiagnosed as Fibromyalgia syndrome because it consists of multiple tender points or spots, similar to Trigger points.
  2. Although they present similar symptoms, they are both very different conditions.
  3. In order to assure that you are receiving the best and most accurate diagnosis and care, see an Osteopathic Physician who specializes in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the Muscular skeletal system.

What is Referral Pain? The difficulty of treating Trigger points is due to their unique mechanism of causing referred pain. Referral or referred pain is when there is pain in a specific muscle but creates pain in another area of the body. For example, if there is a trigger point in the Trapezius muscle ( upper back / Shoulder area), it can refer pain up towards the head and neck and cause tension headaches or even migraines. I heard about Delight Medical through living social. I started coming in for prolotherapy and I would highly recommend it for athletes. I’m a runner and it’s helped me with a hip injury. It’s helping to strengthen my hips so I can get out there and run again.

  1. It’s also helpful in my jaw for TMJ; I would highly recommend this treatment for people that suffer from TMJ.
  2. I’ve tried a lot of different things and this has been very helpful.
  3. I’m also doing the trigger point therapy, which is really great for people that carry a lot of stress in their upper back area, which is what happens to me, and it helps relax things when massages and other things don’t work.
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I would highly recommend that as a great way to release stress. I like coming here because when I leave I feel a lot better.

Can leg muscle pain be serious?

Leg Pain Could Indicate Vein or Artery Disease – Often, leg pain is misdiagnosed as simply muscle aches or arthritis. The reality is leg pain and cramps may be signs of a more serious underlying disease; therefore, you should discuss your leg challenges with a vascular specialist. Leg pain or discomfort often occurs in the calves and thighs while exercising or while resting.

What can cause this discomfort? Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a common medical condition that impacts the blood flow in the lower area of the body, could be causing your leg pain. In addition to discomfort, issues with the circulatory system can cause hair loss, discoloration, leg fatigue, skin temperature changes and skin lesions or ulcers.

Many of these symptoms, in conjunction with leg discomfort, can also be an indication of disease in your veins known as venous insufficiency disease, **SPECIAL OFFER: Contact Maryland Vascular Specialists to take advantage of our 3-FOR-1 Vascular Screenings – Request An Appointment Today!

How long does it take for leg muscle pain to go away?

Sore muscles after exercise – Feeling your muscles ache or stiffen for a few days after exercise is normal and is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It can affect people of all fitness levels, particularly after trying a new activity or pushing yourself a bit harder than usual.

How do I know what is causing my leg pain?

Leg pain is a symptom with many possible causes. Most leg pain results from wear and tear or overuse. It also can result from injuries or health conditions in joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves or other soft tissues. Some types of leg pain can be traced to problems in your lower spine.

  1. Gout
  2. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis)
  3. Osteoarthritis
  4. Pseudogout
  5. Psoriatic arthritis
  6. Reactive arthritis
  7. Rheumatoid arthritis

Blood flow problems

  1. Claudication
  2. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  3. Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  4. Thrombophlebitis
  5. Varicose veins

Bone conditions

  1. Ankylosing spondylitis
  2. Bone cancer
  3. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  4. Osteochondritis dissecans
  5. Paget’s disease of bone


  1. Cellulitis
  2. Infection
  3. Osteomyelitis
  4. Septic arthritis


  1. Achilles tendinitis
  2. Achilles tendon rupture
  3. ACL injury
  4. Broken leg
  5. Bursitis
  6. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
  7. Growth plate fractures
  8. Hamstring injury
  9. Knee bursitis
  10. Muscle strains
  11. Patellar tendinitis
  12. Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  13. Shin splints
  14. Sprains
  15. Stress fractures
  16. Tendinitis
  17. Torn meniscus

Nerve problems

  1. Herniated disk
  2. Meralgia paresthetica
  3. Peripheral neuropathy
  4. Sciatica
  5. Spinal stenosis

Muscle conditions

  1. Dermatomyositis
  2. Medicines, especially the cholesterol medicines known as statins
  3. Myositis
  4. Polymyositis

Other problems

  1. Baker cyst
  2. Growing pains
  3. Muscle cramp
  4. Night leg cramps
  5. Restless legs syndrome
  6. Low levels of certain vitamins, such as vitamin D
  7. Too much or too little of electrolytes, such as calcium or potassium

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

What do doctors do for leg pain?

Considering Nonsurgical and Surgical Treatments for Leg Pain – Nonsurgical treatments, such as medications, physical therapy and/or epidural steroid injections are generally considered first for treating leg pain. Surgery may be recommended when nonsurgical treatments are ineffective and one or more of the following factors are present:

Severe infection, cancer, or tumors Progressive neurological deficits, such as leg weakness and/or numbness Reduced or complete loss of bowel and/or bladder functions

For a successive surgical outcome, it is necessary for the patient to have a structural condition that is known to be responsive to surgery among other factors.