If you’ve ever exercised, you’ve probably experienced the aching muscles that can follow a particularly strenuous workout. In those instances, a little discomfort isn’t uncommon; it’s a pretty common “side effect” from some types of physical activity. If you have persistent or recurrent pain, it could indicate an underlying medical problem that needs to be treated.
At TLC Medical Group Inc. in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Anthony B. Lewis MD, FACC, and his team are skilled in diagnosing many types of recurrent or chronic leg pain, including pain caused by varicose veins and other circulation problems. Here, learn why leg pain happens after exercise and when our team should evaluate your symptoms.
Why you can experience leg pain after exercise
Leg pain following exercise isn’t uncommon; in most cases, it’s benign. Knowing the possible causes can help you decide when it’s time to have your symptoms evaluated by our team.
Extra-intense workouts or working out after a period of inactivity often result in temporary muscle soreness. This type of discomfort often begins within a day or two of a workout and can include mild to moderate discomfort and stiffness.
Muscle soreness like this happens when muscle fibers respond to exercise by “reorganizing” themselves as you build strength. This kind of discomfort resolves on its own within a few days, and in the meantime, you can find some relief with over-the-counter pain medicines, a warm heating pad, or ice packs.
Your muscles require plenty of fluid during exercise to replace fluids lost through sweat and intense activity. Sweating can also rob your body of electrolytes, special chemicals used by your muscles.
If you don’t replace those fluids regularly during your workout and afterward, you can wind up with leg cramps. Drinking water is typically enough to rehydrate, but if your workout is especially intense or you’re perspiring a lot, you might also benefit from a sports drink that includes electrolytes.
Strains and sprains
Strains occur when a muscle or tendon is stretched beyond its normal limits, sometimes causing tiny (or big) tears. Sprains happen when ligaments are damaged during exercise.
Both sprains and strains are more common when you push yourself to extreme limits or when your muscles are fatigued. Each of these problems can cause leg pain, often accompanied by swelling, limited mobility, and sometimes bruising. Medical treatment is important for promoting optimal healing and recovery.
Leg pain after exercise can also be a sign of an underlying circulation problem, like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or peripheral artery disease (PAD). These conditions interfere with circulation in your limbs, causing aches and pains when exercise puts added demands on your muscles.
Leg pain caused by a circulation problem is often accompanied by leg swelling and feelings of fatigue in your limbs, and it frequently subsides once you stop exercising and rest your legs. These problems can cause serious complications, including life-threatening blood clots. Medical evaluation is essential to prevent these problems and to correct circulation issues for better health and function.
Find out what’s causing your leg pain
Chronic or recurrent leg pain definitely needs to be evaluated medically. Ignoring symptoms can lead to serious problems, including blood clots that can travel to your heart, lungs, or brain. To learn how we can help, call 772-200-3829 or request an appointment online with the team at TLC Medical Group today.