ZocdocAnswersI have terrible lower leg pain, what could be the cause?

Question

I have terrible lower leg pain, what could be the cause?

For the past several months I have been experiencing lower leg pain. The pain is from the knees down to my feet with most of the pain being in the knees and feet. The pain gradually got worse and is now to the point of being excruciating. It isn't to the point of being constant yet but is happening very frequently. I have already been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Degenerative Joint and Disc Disease. My back problems are at L4,L5,and S1. I am also experiencing numbness and tingling in my arms, hands, and legs. When this happens in my hands, my finger tips will turn very white. My main concern is my legs but could all of this be related? I have tried, for my legs, Tylenol, ice, soaking in hot water, and even NSAIDS, which I am not supposed to have due to a colon rupture and an abdominal abscess following a Gastric Bypass.

Answer

It sounds like you have quite an extensive medical history, and your present symptoms sound particularly unpleasant. Given your prior health history, it will be very important for you to work with your doctors moving forward to try and identify what is causing the pain in your lower legs. In general, pain such as you describe can be related to many things, including vascular disease (similar to the problems that occur in the coronary arteries of the heart to cause chest pain, only this time it is the muscles of your legs that aren't getting enough blood flow), venous thromboemboli, myalgias, or neuralgias/neuropathies. If you have known degenerative disc disease, it is certainly possible that this is in part related to the cause of your leg pain. However, it will certainly be important to perform a thorough physical exam and history and then use this information to consider further testing. It will be important to assess whether you have any neurological deficits in your legs, as muscle pain is very different than nerve pain in terms of both diagnosis and treatment strategies. Some tests your doctor may consider include an evaluation for diabetes, a review of your medications for anything that can cause myalgias, possible imaging of your legs to look for blood clots, possible imaging of your back to assess your spine, and an ankle-brachial index to assess arterial sufficiency to the legs. Hopefully starting with a thorough assessment will help you move forward towards treatment options.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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