Leg pain is a fairly common complaint that has various potential causes. It can result from overuse, wear and tear, an underlying medical condition, or injury affecting any of the bones, soft tissues, nerves, or blood vessels in the leg.
Most cases of leg pain go away either on their own or with self-care measures. However, there are cases that warrant a visit to an orthopedist for prompt intervention. An orthopedist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and conditions that affect the bones and soft tissues. Seeking treatment from an orthopedist can help you avoid complications down the road.
The question is when should you see an orthopedist for your leg pain? You should see an orthopedist if your leg pain is accompanied by any of the following:
An Obvious Deformity of the Knee or Ankle
Severe knee pain and deformity are some of the signs of a knee dislocation, which occurs when the position of the thighbone relative to the shinbone gets disrupted at the knee joint. Knee dislocation can occur due to trauma to your leg, such as from a car accident, fall, or sports injury.
Other symptoms of a dislocated knee include:
- Inability to straighten your knee
- Instability – knee buckling or a sensation that your knee is giving way
- Limited range of motion
- Crepitus- popping sensation
Severe foot pain and an obvious deformity signify ankle dislocation, which therefore also warrants a visit to an orthopedist for prompt treatment. An ankle dislocation is often the result of a sports injury or quick stops and pivots to change directions.
Other symptoms of ankle dislocation include:
- A bone that pokes through your skin
- Affected foot looks pale- due to the disruption in the blood flow
- Bruising and swelling
- Difficulty walking and moving your ankle
- Inability to bear weight on your affected foot
Leg Numbness and/or Weakness
If you’re experiencing leg numbness and burning or excruciating pain in your legs that feels like a jolt or electric shock, see an orthopedist, for these are indicative of sciatica—a term used to describe a compression of the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica is a set of symptoms that signifies an underlying medical problem, such as a herniated disc or spondylolisthesis (when one of the bones in your vertebral column slips out of place).
Other symptoms to watch out for include:
- Moderate to severe pain in your lower back and buttocks
- Paresthesia- pins and needles sensation in the legs and feet
- Loss of bowel and bladder control (due to cauda equina)- a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention
Knee pain and stiffness—which can get worse in the morning or after resting—are some of the most common symptoms of knee arthritis. When left untreated, knee arthritis can lead to disability.
Thus, you should see an orthopedist to help you effectively manage your condition.
Other symptoms of knee arthritis include:
- A sensation that your knee is locked or stuck
- Bone spurs- bony lumps that form around your knee/s
- Knee instability
- Swelling- rendering you unable to bend and straighten your knee
Highly Qualified Orthopedist in San Antonio, TX
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our board-certified orthopedists are committed to delivering high-quality, comprehensive, and patient-centered care using a wide variety of innovative nonsurgical and surgical treatment approaches.
To schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedists, call us at (210) 692-7400, or request an appointment online.