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What are Aching Legs?

What are Aching Legs?

Most people experience aching legs at some time or another. In most cases, the cause of pain is not severe in nature. Aching legs may occur as the result of injuries or disorders that affect the muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments, tendons, or other tissues in the legs. Achiness may develop in the upper or lower limbs or within the joints. While the most common causes of aching legs are not of serious medical concern, it is essential to see medical treatment for pain that is severe or chronic.

What Causes Aching Legs?

Muscle cramps or injury most commonly cause aching legs. Cramps may be caused by strenuous exercise, dehydration, or deficiencies of certain minerals like magnesium, potassium, or calcium. Certain medications including diuretics can cause mineral deficiencies that can lead to painful leg cramps. Common injuries to the legs that can result in an aching sensation include strained muscles, inflamed tendons, or shin splints. Severe injuries are more likely to cause sharp pain than aching legs.

Underlying medical conditions may also be to blame for aching legs. In severe cases, achiness may be caused by blood clots, blocked arteries, infections, or nerve damage. When left untreated, these conditions can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening complications. The most common medical conditions associated with aching legs include arthritis and varicose veins.

Diagnosing Aching Legs?

Determining the exact cause of aching legs may require extensive testing. Doctors usually begin by performing a physical examination and collecting the patient's medical history. They also ask questions regarding the nature of the pain such as where it is located, how severe it is, and any factors that make it better or worse. X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans may also be taken. Arthroscopic procedures may be utilized to locate and remove blockages or clots in the blood vessels.


In many cases, medical treatment is not needed for aching legs. Mild pain can usually be managed through home remedies and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. Injuries typically require rest, but in some cases, surgery may be needed to repair the damage. Other treatments may be necessary depending upon the source and severity of the patient's achiness. Treatments vary greatly and may include prescription medications, surgical procedures, or physical therapy. Aching legs usually are not a sign of a severe underlying condition. When achiness is severe or does not respond to home remedies, however, it is essential to seek medical attention to avoid potential complications.