Lower limb disorders/ problems
Lower limb disorders affect the hips, knees and legs, and are usually due to overuse. Many people complain of lower limb pain, aching and numbness without a specific disease being identified.
This is just a list of a few lower limb disorders.
Muscle cramp – Muscle cramp can happen in the middle of the day or in your sleep. It is a sudden, tight, intense lower leg pain. It happens when your muscles are tired or dehydrated.
Shin splints – Shin splints is pain up the front of your lower leg (calf). The muscles and flesh along the edge of the shin bone become inflamed, which causes pain to walk, run, or jump. Doing activity over and over on hard surfaces can also bring this on. If you have flat feet, or feet turn outward, you may be more likely to get shin splints.
Tendonitis – This is a common injury that makes a tendon swell stretch, or tear. It can happen from overworking the calf muscle or climbing the stairs. Symptoms of tendonitis can appear suddenly or can develop slowly over time.
Broken bones or sprains – If you have twisted your ankle and had a mild sprain, it may be painful to put your full body weight through your ankle. However, over a few days you should gradually be able to walk comfortably again. For a more severe sprain or a broken bone (fracture) it is advised to see a doctor straight away.
Blood clots – A blood clot is when your blood thickens in a vein and clumps together, it can turn into a clot. When a blood clot develops in a vein deep in the body it is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Most deep-vein blood clots happen in the lower leg or thigh. They’re more likely to happen if you’re inactive for long periods of time (a long hall flight or car journey). You’re also at risk if you are overweight, smoke, or take certain medications.
Varicose Veins – Varicose veins can be seen at the surface of the skin. They appear to be twisted, dark blue or purple veins, which are caused by weak valves and vein walls. They may cause a dull ache.
Muscle cramp – Muscle cramps are usually harmless and don’t require medical attention. However, you should seek medical advice if your muscle cramps are severe, don’t improve with stretching, or persist for a long time.
Shin splints – To be able to diagnose shin splints, an array of tests would need to be carried out; observation of the lower leg, palpation of the area, and ankle range of motion. These would be done by a therapist, who would rule out any other conditions through relevant testing.
Tendinitis – To diagnose a tendonitis, a clear medical history will need to be provided, before a physical examination can be carried out, evaluating the range of motion and tenderness of the affected area. X-rays may be taken to determine if another lower limb disroders, such as arthritis or a fracture maybe causing the pain.
Broken bones or sprains – With broken bones or sprains, a doctor’s evaluation is needed. An x-ray will also need to be carried out to identify any fractures.
Blood Clots – A blood clot is most often diagnosed by ultrasound. This is a non-invasive test, however if results are not definitive, the venography (an invasive test using contrast dye) or MRI may be used.
Varicose Veins – These can be diagnosed by your doctor. An examination of your legs will be carried out while sitting or standing. Questions may be asked about any pain or symptoms you’re experiencing.
Muscle cramp – If you are prone to muscle cramps, then you should drink more water. A gentle stretch or massage to the area where your muscle has tensed up may help. Stretching your legs before exercise is also a great way to help prevent muscle cramps.
Shin splints – Rest is important, or to avoid running on a hard surface. Ice is a useful treatment method to help reduce inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen can be used if suggested by your doctor and are safe for you to take.
Tendinitis – You can apply ice to the area for some relief. Or anti-inflammatories can be taken if advised by your doctor. It is recommended to avoid any movements that cause pain. However, stretching and strengthening can help with the pain.
Broken Bones or Sprains – RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is great for mild sprains. However, for more severe sprains or broken bones, you may need a cast or brace, followed by physical therapy.
Blood clots – If you think you may have a blood clot, seek medical attention.
Varicose veins – Supportive stockings may help to relieve some pain. Regular walking and standing throughout the day can help with pain and circulation.
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