Are you experiencing a burning sensation in your legs…?
Then you might be wrongfully assuming that it is a temporary nuisance that will go away on its own. Unlike the burning sensation caused by vigorous exercise, this type of burning sensation is localized to an area of the leg and is often persistent.
Does this sound like you?
If yes, then it is essential to understand you may have an undiagnosed venous condition that may be easily treated.
Prevalence of Vein Disorders
According to a study, more than 30 million people in the US alone have some form of chronic venous disorder. The global incidence of the disease will produce an even more significant number. The unfortunate fact is that less than 0.15% of people afflicted with a vein disorder actually seek treatment. As a consequence, many suffer complications. Thus the importance of addressing the burning sensation in your legs and seeking timely help is crucial.
This article aims to help you in this area and arm you with the information necessary to understand:
- The causes of burning legs
- The common symptoms associated with burning legs
- And finally, the action you can take to find a solution
What Causes Burning Legs?
Several underlying health concerns may trigger leg burning as a symptom. Some causes of burning legs are more prominent and don’t require medical attention. These conditions include a burning sensation caused in leg muscles after heavy exercise.
Besides that, the other apparent reason is an injury. For example, you might have fallen down on a hard surface, scraped your leg against something or gotten a rug burn from a hard-fibered carpet.
Other conditions that might cause burning legs to include the following:
- Also called Meralgia paresthetica, this condition occurs when a nerve (lateral femoral cutaneous nerve) is compressed. This particular nerve is responsible for providing sensation to the skin on your thigh. When it’s compressed, it can present as a burning sensation on the outer region of your leg.
- This particular condition occurs when the nerves in your body lose or weakens in function. Diseases like diabetes and alcoholism can trigger this peripheral neuropathy and negatively impact the nerves that relay signals to the brain and spinal cord.
Peripheral Artery Disorder (PAD)
- PAD is a peripheral vascular disorder that is characterized by hardened and narrowed arteries in your outer limbs. The restricted blood flow in these arteries can cause a burning or numbing sensation in the lower legs.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- MS is an autoimmune disease where your immune system starts attacking the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This leads to faulty nerve signals, often causing sensory disturbances. As a result, this can lead to pain and a burning sensation in the legs.
Venous Reflux or Venous Insufficiency
- Venous reflex refers to a venous disorder that occurs when the veins in legs have disturbed blood circulation. Blood clots or varicose veins can impact the flow of the blood, preventing it from flowing back to the heart.
- When this happens, the blood begins to back up and pool in the vein. It then leaks into the surrounding leg tissue, causing symptoms like burning legs, swelling, discoloration, and itchiness.
- Damaged or weak valves and veins in the legs can lead to varicose veins. Similar to venous insufficiency, when the valves malfunction and allow proper blood flow back to the heart, blood starts to pool and leak into leg tissue.
Deep-Vein and Superficial Thrombophlebitis
- Thrombophlebitis is essentially an inflammation occurring in the veins. It can happen superficially, on an extremity like the leg. It is caused as a response to a blood clot in a vein close to the skin’s surface. Deep-vein Thrombophlebitis is a much more serious condition as it affects the larger veins farther below the skin.
Stop ignoring symptoms!
It is critical for the physical health that you don’t ignore burning legs. Chronic venous insufficiency and Thrombophlebitis can lead to severe complications in the leg.
If burning legs is ignored and the venous disorder goes untreated, it can increase the risk of pulmonary embolism and other serious health concerns. You need to take burning legs seriously and seek medical attention from a licensed professional for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms Associated with Burning Legs
Burning legs is a symptom on its own. Depending on the underlying cause, you may experience some other symptoms along with a burning sensation.
However, the burning sensation in legs is often accompanied by numbness and a tingling feeling called paresthesia. Other than these, some other symptoms associated with burning legs include:
- Throbbing pain that might also feel like muscle cramps
- Redness around the affected area on your leg
- Visible swelling
- Heaviness as you step
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the following risk factors can increase the chances of developing a venous disorder that can lead to burning legs:
Being obese adds increase pressure to the circulatory system and increase your chances of
During pregnancy veins in the legs can enlarge to accommodate increased blood flow. This can cause varicose veins, increasing the risk of developing burning legs.
Sitting or standing for a long time or not being active increases the chance of you developing a vein disorder.
As we know, smoking does only foul to your body. Similarly, it can impact your circulation and increase the risk of chronic venous insufficiency.
Compared to men, women are more likely to develop a venous disorder, partly due to their hormonal cycles.
People over the age of 50 are more susceptible to contracting varicose veins, increasing the chances of them experiencing burning legs.
Moving Forward – What can you do?
Treatment for burning legs is possible, provided you take prompt action. The first and foremost action you need to consider is consulting a licensed physician.
- To rule a more serious cause for the burning sensation in your legs, make an appointment right away and get a proper diagnosis.
Other than that, adjusting lifestyle habits can help prevent burning legs from occurring in the first place. Some suggestions include:
- Ensuring you consume a healthy balanced diet, getting plenty of electrolytes, antioxidants and other nutrients beneficial for blood circulation
- Quitting smoking once and for all
- Making exercise a regular part of your daily routine
- Avoid wearing clothes that may restrict the blood flow in your legs
- If you’re overweight, shed the extra pounds
- And lastly, avoid sitting or standing in the same position for a long time
Since venous disorders are often neglected by patients, it allows them to develop further. However, a few simple lifestyle changes along with professional intervention can help stave burning legs. If you’re already suffering from burning legs, your safest bet is to seek consultation from a medical professional.
Being a board-certified vascular surgeon, Dr. Ryan Jones can help mitigate and diagnose the cause of burning legs and other common venous disorders. He makes scheduling an appointment easy and may help you find a solution for your burning legs.