Lower leg pain is a common complaint that, in most cases, can be managed at home. Your doctor will likely ask you to keep a diary of what you're feeling and change your lifestyle if he thinks it may be stress- or exercise-related. When the pain becomes sudden, intense, and doesn't go away, then it's probably best to seek medical attention. However, once your doctor has ensured your lower leg pain isn't serious, then you can start treating it at home with various treatments, from Cold therapy packs or ibuprofen to managing your weight. Here are some great home remedies for lower leg pain that could help ease the discomfort on your own!
Rest and Time Off Activities
As a runner in training, you will most likely experience an injury at some point because the strain on your lower leg muscles is constant. One way to help avoid this problem is to consult a podiatrist. The diagnosis of your injury could be tendonitis, bone stress fracture, or insertional Achilles tendinopathy. If this happens, you should not lift anything heavy and try as much as possible to rest to allow your injured leg time to heal. Avoid walking up and down stairs as much as possible while you heal to prevent re-injury from occurring again. Your friends will be there for you!
There's a reason why so many people reach for a cold therapy pack after they have been exercising! When you place the cold pack on a specific leg area, it numbs that area. It also constricts the blood vessels reducing blood flow. You can use cold therapy packs for 20-minute intervals several times throughout the day. Avoid keeping a cold pack on your lower leg when sleeping to avoid skin injury.
If you suffer from lower leg cramps, Heat therapy is a good option to soothe your muscles, allowing them to relax. Heat therapy with Sacksythyme's Aromatherapy heating pad will work best at night as many people experience cramping when they are trying to rest. You can also alternate Hot & cold therapy.
Elevate Your Leg
Ice, rest, and compression will help decrease swelling and encourage healing. If you have an injury such as a lower limb injury, swelling of the foot, or pain in your ankle, for example, try elevating your injured leg on pillows when you lie down to ensure it stays above the level of your heart to discourage venous congestion and help with better circulation towards the heart. It helps fluids go away from your legs and back towards the heart, where they work best!
Lower leg pain can be difficult to manage and often requires several treatment modalities. A great way to complement the other treatments that your doctor or physical therapist recommends is by incorporating a self-massage into your regimen to help reduce stiffness and muscle soreness while encouraging better blood flow to the area. Use a massage roller ball or even a foam roller for larger coverage, but wait at least 72 hours (three days) before using to allow some tissue healing and improved flexibility!
Using compression wraps is a good way to stabilize your ankle, relieve swelling, and rejuvenate the way you walk. If you suffer from shin splints, varicose veins, or muscle pain, it can relieve that pain because it's applied around the problem areas. Some people may experience a burning sensation when using them for the first time. It's important not to wrap the compression wrap too tight because you could restrict the blood flow causing your skin to discolor until broken capillaries heal. Compression sleeves are a great alternative if you don't like wrapping, but they tend to be less effective than traditional wraps, which is why many wear both types.
Stretches & Exercises for Lower Leg Muscles
Arthritis and bursitis in the lower leg muscles can make it hard to exercise and keep your range of motion from returning. But it's important not to let pain stand in the way. Start with a set of basic exercises and gradually increase their complexity over time as you get stronger, increasing your range of movement where possible. Talk to a doctor before starting any new exercise routine, or if you're unsure, which movements are safe for you. Physical Therapists are professionally trained to help people recover from injuries like this by guiding them through exercises and stretches!
Over-the-counter pain relievers are an economical and effective way to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief, especially when ibuprofen is combined with acetaminophen. However, the side effects of some anti-inflammatory drugs are not well known due to a lack of testing for these properties. Still, you should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medications to avoid unintended side effects.
Dehydration can be one of the causes of body pain. Keeping yourself well hydrated will positively impact different parts of your body, including your leg muscles. When dehydrated, your body lacks important electrolytes like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Your calf muscles may feel shaky and weak because of this - that's when you're most susceptible to getting Charley horses too! So make sure that you're drinking enough water regularly throughout the day to keep your body hydrated.
When to See Your Doctor
Working closely with your healthcare provider before beginning any treatment plan for your lower leg pain is important. After a full assessment, they will determine whether you have a serious condition like peripheral artery disease, deep venous thrombosis (DVT), or compartment syndrome. Once your physician clears you, you can begin home therapies like rest and ice combined with compression clothing which may help decrease swelling and alleviate painful symptoms temporarily. Slowly add exercise and stretching into your treatment regimen so long as it does not induce discomfort, and in no time, you'll be well on your way to returning to all of the activities you love.