Signs & Symptoms of Pain in the Legs

Updated March 23, 2017

Pain in the leg can occur anywhere from hips to heels. The problem with leg pain is that the pain can develop gradually or suddenly, be constant or intermittent, and affect an individual’s entire leg, or other areas such as the knee and shin. Pain in the leg can be aching, tingling, dull, stabbing or sharp. In addition to being a nuisance, leg pain can lead to more severe afflictions such as affecting an individual’s ability to walk. Recognising the signs and symptoms early on can help prevent the severe affects.


Weakness in the leg is a sign of pain. This sign could be caused by a broken, sprained or strained leg. A sprain in the leg can occur with an injury due to stretching or tearing. When a strain in the leg occurs, a muscle or tendon has suffered injury. A sprain typically occurs in the lower leg, causing weakness, which causes leg pain.

Broken Leg

A broken leg can cause an unbearable pain. A broken leg is caused when damage is done to one of the four bones in the leg, which are the femur, tibia, fibula and the patella. There are two types of leg breaks, an open leg break and a closed leg break. An open break occurs when a broken bone sticks outside of the skin or a cut over the fracture. A closed leg break is less severe, and does not protrude through the skin. Holding a bone still can help decrease the pain in the leg, however pain is increased with movement of the broken bone.


Numbness in the leg is a sign and symptom of pain, because a person has the inability to move her leg. Numbness in the leg can be caused by sitting with the legs crossed, forceful leg positions, sitting on the foot or prolonged squatting and sitting. Having a wallet in the back pocket also causes leg pain because of the pressure on leg nerves and arteries that can cause the legs to fall asleep.

Muscle Cramp

Another symptom of pain in the leg is a muscle cramp. Muscle cramps are caused to the leg involuntarily. As a person moves his limbs, his muscles alternately contract. A muscle cramp can last for a few seconds or as long as 15 minutes. A muscle cramp in the leg has the potential of reoccurring numerous times. It is not uncommon to experience muscle cramps in the leg. says about 98 per cent of people experience a muscle cramp at some point during their lives. Muscle cramps are more common in adults, and occur more frequently as a person ages. One of the most common muscle cramps that occur in the leg is known as the Charlie Horse.

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About the Author

Taunda Edwards began writing in 1997 and received her bachelor's degree in secondary education from Miami University of Ohio in 2004. In 2005 she pursued her writing career on a full-time basis. Her first novel was published by T.A.D.D. Writes publications. She was a 2006 "Moviemaker Magazine" feature.