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Pain When Walking

Pain When Walking

Getting Back Quality of Life

Pain when walking is a common complaint, especially among older individuals. It may develop for numerous reasons, and the severity can vary greatly. Some patients may experience mild discomfort while others may experience debilitating pain. The precise location of the pain can also vary from patient to patient. In most cases, the cause of pain when walking is not of serious medical concern, but when left untreated, it can lead to severe complications and a diminished quality of life.

Diagnosing the Cause of the Pain

When individuals experience pain when walking, it most commonly occurs in the legs, feet, or hips. The main may originate in the bones, muscles, joints, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or other tissues. In many cases, it develops as you age as the result of deterioration of cartilage that normally cushions the joint. This results in a painful condition known as arthritis that serves as one of the most common sources of age-related aches and pains. Pain when walking also commonly occurs as the result of repeated injuries or muscle strains.

Peripheral Artery Disease

In some cases, pain when walking may also occur as the result of other underlying conditions. Peripheral artery disease, more commonly known as PAD, is a condition in which the muscles do not receive adequate blood flow as the result of blockages in the arteries. This often occurs as the result of cholesterol build-up. When PAD affects the arteries leading to the legs, patients often experience pain that is most severe when walking or engaging in other physical activities. Other symptoms may include decreased strength or muscle pain when at rest.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Pain when walking that is severe enough to interfere with one's day to day life; it is important to seek prompt medical attention. Doctors may determine the cause of pain using a variety of diagnostic procedures. Typically, doctors perform a complete physical examination and collect the patient's medical history. Information regarding the location and severity of the pain is also obtained. Other tests that may be performed include x-rays, ultrasounds, MRI's, or CT scans.

Treatment Options

The treatment for pain when walking varies depending upon the cause. When the pain is mild, it can usually be managed through over-the-counter medications for pain and inflammation. Other home remedies such as hot and cold compresses may also help. When severe underlying conditions cause pain, additional treatments and medications may be needed. In patients with PAD, blockages may need to be removed through catheter-based surgeries.