Leg Pain Common causes of leg pain include muscle cramps, injuries (muscle strains), varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis or blood clot (serious and requires emergent medical attention), nerve damage from diabetes, shin splints, tumors such as Ewing’s Sarcoma and osteosarcoma, and for this definition referred radicular leg pain from a lumbar disc herniation.
All signs of leg pain, whether it is mild numbness to severe burning and weakness should be evaluated for more potentially serious conditions.
Just like the cervical disc herniation causes arm pain, the lumbar herniation causes a burning sensation of the leg. Most often the pain is down the back of the leg or side of the thigh and may or may not extend into the lower leg and foot. Most true radiculopathy passes the knee and extends to the foot. The pain is caused by an inflamed nerve root from pressure of the herniated disc. The inflammation excites the nerve and the nerve becomes “hyperactive.” This causes a burning like feeling in the distribution of the nerve fibers. The pain is usually worse if the nerve is stretched as in the case of raising a straight leg.
The pain is frequently accompanied with numbness and tingling of certain aspects of the lower leg, thigh or foot. Weakness may also be present. Weakness of a particular group of muscles usually indicates more severe compression of the affected nerve root, particularly if you are experiencing foot drop where you can not hold your foot upward. All signs of leg pain, whether it is mild numbness to severe burning and weakness should be evaluated for more potentially serious conditions.