How to treat aching legs

Updated February 21, 2017

Aching legs are a common malady that can be caused by improper fitting shoes, standing too long, arthritis, restless leg syndrome, varicose veins and excessive exercising. Aching legs can also be a symptom of a medical condition such as poor circulation. You need to make a doctor's appointment so he can evaluate the cause of your pain. Your doctor may send you for further testing such as X-rays, or he may recommend blood tests. There are steps you can take to treat your aching legs.

See your doctor. If you do not believe the cause of your aching legs is related to overuse or a mild injury, see your doctor. He will need to examine you to determine why your legs are aching. Your doctor may recommend blood tests, X-rays or vascular studies as part of your medical evaluation. Make sure you give your doctor a detailed medical history. This will assist him in diagnosing the source of your aching legs.

Take pain medication. Taking an over the counter pain medication may provide relief for aching legs. Always take the recommended dosage and discontinue use if you experience side effects. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers work well to decrease accompanying inflammation that you may experience with your aching legs. Inflammation of the knees can increase the incidence of leg pain and aching.

Ice your legs. Ice can bring relief to aching legs. Put ice in an ice bag and never apply it directly to your skin. A package of frozen vegetables is also an effective ice pack. Apply ice to the affected area for 15 minutes, 4 times a day.

Use a heating pad. A heating pad is very effective in treating aching legs. It can soothe achy muscles and help you relax. Do not set the heating pad on the highest setting, as this may cause a burn and never go to sleep with the heating pad on.

Take a bath. A warm bath is very soothing and will provide relief from your leg aching. Make sure the water is not too hot because this may increase your pain. A warm bath helps to relieve stress, which can be responsible for aches and pains.


Wear comfortable shoes. Improperly fitting shoes or high heels may contribute to your aching legs.


If your aching legs include pain or redness in your calf, seek immediately emergency treatment. This can be a sign of a blood clot in your leg, which is a medical emergency.

Things You'll Need

  • Medical evaluation
  • Pain relief medication
  • Ice bag
  • Heating pad
  • Warm bath
  • Comfortable shoes
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About the Author

Meadow Milano has been a registered nurse for over 20 years, with extensive experience in emergency nursing, labor and delivery and general medicine. She has written numerous articles for nursing publications pertaining to health and medicine, and enjoys teaching in the clinical setting.