What Causes Legs To Ache All The Time?

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73875056

Most of the leg pain arises from wear and tear, overuse, or damage to the joints or bones, or to muscles, ligaments, tendons, or other soft tissues. Some forms of leg pain can be traced back to issues in your lower spine. Leg pain can also be caused by blood clots, varicose veins or poor circulation.

Some of the common causes of leg pain include:

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

In this disease, your limbs—usually your legs—are not getting enough blood. Typically this happens when the arteries have narrowed. When you walk, your legs can feel tired or numb or cramped. They might feel cold, and they might be a strange color. Some people can handle PAD with changes in their habits, such as stopping smoking. If this doesn’t work, your doctor can give you medication to treat the problem or help you with pain. But certain people are in need of surgery.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

This is a blood clot in your vein, usually in your thigh or lower leg. It doesn’t always cause signs, but you can have discomfort, swelling in your leg, and it may be warm and red. If you find any of these, contact your doctor immediately. DVT can lead to a severe condition called pulmonary embolism—when the clot breaks down and goes to your lungs. Your doctor can give you medication to prevent clots from forming, developing, or breaking down.

Peripheral Neuropathy

This occurs when you have nerve damage in your body that relays signals to and from your brain. Diabetes is the most common cause, but other health conditions, medications, injuries or infections can cause it. If it affects the nerves in your legs, you may feel tingly or tingly, or you may feel numb or sluggish. Your doctor will treat the illness that triggers it and give you pain relief if you need it.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium that make the muscles function the way they should. When you exercise, you lose some of your sweat, and if you lose too much, your legs can cramp or feel tired or numb. It can happen when you have any medical care, such as chemotherapy, too. Sports drinks with electrolytes—or water, along with food containing these minerals—may aid. If you ever cramp up, see your doctor.

Spinal Stenosis

This disorder arises when the gaps between the bones of your spine are narrowed. This puts pressure on the nerves in the region and can cause discomfort, tingling, numbness, or weakness in your legs. You might have trouble with balance, too. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor right away. Medication can relieve the discomfort, and physical therapy can help. If they don’t operate, you might need surgery.


This is the leg pain that comes from the pinched nerve in your lower spine. It can range from a bad cramp to a serious shooting pain that makes it hard to stand or even sit down. You can feel it because of a slipped or herniated disk, a slipped vertebra, a spasm of your butt muscles, or spinal stenosis. Your doctor can prescribe over-the-counter painkillers or physical therapy. If you have a more serious situation, you may need surgery.


This is a common disease that affects the joints, causing discomfort, swelling, and stiffness. If it occurs in the hips, knees, or ankles, it can be hard to walk or do other day-to-day tasks. There is no remedy, but it will help you exercise and remain at a healthy weight. Heating pads or ice packs on the aching joints will relieve pain and swelling. So you can over-the-counter pain relievers.

Pulled Muscle

This is when the muscle is stretched too far. There’s a lot going on with people who play sports. The pain is severe and begins instantly, and the area is tender to the touch. The best cure is to freeze it with cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Outside of that, cover the area gently, keep it up, if you can, and let it rest. Over-the-counter pain relievers will alleviate the pain.


This injury occurs when the tissue that connects the bone to the bone, called the ligament, is stretched or broken. Sprains of the ankle are common. The wounded region is swollen and hurting, and you can’t put any weight on it. The easiest way to handle this is with the R.I.C.E. method—rest, ice (about 20 minutes a few times a day), compression (wrap it in a bandage) and elevation (prop it up). See the doctor for an X-ray to search for broken bones.

Muscle Cramp

This is when the muscle, normally in your calf, is unexpectedly tightened. It may lead to extreme pain, and you can feel a hard muscle lump under your skin. Cramps seem to happen more as you age, and you’re also likely to get them when you’re out in hot weather and don’t drink enough water. Cramps typically go away on their own and are not usually a symptom of any health issues, but speak to the doctor if you have them often.

Are You Looking for Relief From Neck Pain? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical neck pain relief and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. We start by assessing the body as a whole. Oftentimes the cause of pain or an injury extends far beyond just the body part or muscle hurting. Without taking a comprehensive look at your entire self, we would be doing you a disservice in fully helping you heal and preventing future limitations. We then move on to fixing your areas of limitation.  Not all diagnoses are created equal. One person with neck pain may have completely different limitations than the next person. Your recovery program needs to be specific to what YOUR body needs and not just the typical exercise program that you can find online. Just because your pain decreases or you can walk longer doesn’t mean that it is enough to get you functioning at the level you want to be. While this often signifies the end of care at your typical PT clinic we don’t stop providing guidance until we help you successfully meet every goal you set for yourself with us on day one. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!