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Natural Home Remedies for Leg Pain

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction:  

We commonly hear our beloved elders, be it our grandparents or parents, complain about leg pain. It is not only the elderly who experience this pain; people on the brink of youth can also experience it. Leg pain can be the result of strenuous exercise routine, overuse of legs, decreased water intake causing dehydration or due to underlying medical conditions like varicose veins, peripheral nerve damage due to diseases like diabetes, etc., and other such causes.1 The severity of pain varies with the cause, from moderate to severe, and it can either be continuous or can be felt sometimes intermittent. Sometimes, the pain comes and goes away quickly (acute) or can last for weeks, months or even years together (chronic).2  

leg pain treatment at home

Did you know?

  • In the United States, 58.9% of adults experienced pain of any kind in the past 3 months. source: CDC
  • Back pain was the most prevalent site of pain, with 39.0% of adults experiencing it. source: CDC
  • Lower limb pain was experienced by 36.5% of adults in the past 3 months. source: CDC
  • Among adults aged 65 and over, 50.3% experienced pain in the hips, knees, or feet. source: CDC
  • Women (40.6%) were more likely to experience back pain than men (37.2%). source: CDC

What Causes Leg Pain? 

As the causes of leg pain can be wide-ranging, a few categories are listed below: 

Common Causes

Over-staining of muscles by excessive exercise and little rest; dehydration and medications (e.g., statins and diuretics).1 

Injury

Muscle strain (due to over-stretching of muscle); pain in the front of the leg due to over-use (shin splints); hairline fracture or crack of the bone (stress fractures) and inflammation in tendons of legs (tendinitis).1 

Common Medical Conditions

Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot); nerve damage (seen in people with diabetes, alcoholism and people who smoke); varicose veins; diseases in which inflammation is seen like arthritis (joint inflammation), cellulitis (soft tissue and skin infection), gout (a form of arthritis) and peripheral artery disease (improper circulation of blood due to narrowing of blood vessels).1 

Uncommon Medical Conditions

Sciatica (pain that radiates to the lower leg due to slipped disc in the back); bone cancer (Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma); cancerous tumours of the bone, etc.1 

Symptoms of Leg Pain: 

The issue of leg pain can be due to various causes, but commonly in our country people over middle age tend to have vitamin D deficiency which can lead to pain in muscles, what I have observed is by giving appropriate vitamin D supplements help a lot in such pati ents

Dr. Nikhil Yadav, MBBS MD,CCEBDM

The symptoms of leg pain are: 

  • The pain can be restricted to one small area, or wide area or it can even be in the whole leg. 
  • You may experience a little pain (moderate) that is bearable, or the pain might be very severe. 
  • You might always have pain when you go on about your daily tasks, or you might feel pain only sometimes. 
  • Your pain might last for a short time (for minutes or days) or a long time (months to years). 
  • You might experience a dull pain or a sharp pain. 
  • You might feel burning, tingling or numbness in the leg. 
  • You might also experience pain in the lower back, foot and buttocks, along with leg pain.2 

Some of the other signs that might appear along with leg pain are: 

  • Swelling 
  • A general unwell feeling due to infection or fracture 
  • Varicose veins 
  • Ulcer or sore on your leg 
  • Slow healing wound 
  • Colour change in your foot or leg, there is a nerve problem.2 

Also Read: Sciatica Stretches: Research-Based Guide for Pain Relief

Suggested Home Remedies for Leg Pain: 

No matter how, what or why, pain is pain, and what we ultimately want is relief from it. Home remedies are natural products that are found at home, and some of them can be used to relieve leg pain. A few Ayurvedic herbs can also help with leg pain, which are described as follows. 

1. Apple Cider Vinegar  

Apple Cider Vinegar
Image source: freepik.com

Apple cider vinegar is a commonly used seasoning. It also has therapeutic properties; therefore, has been used for its medicinal purposes for ages as well. In a study, it was found that external application of apple cider vinegar in people with varicosities (also called varicose veins, a common cause of leg pain) leads to a reduction in pain.3 You can use apple cider vinegar to apply directly onto the leg, or you can mix a little bit of it in water and drink it. You can also add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to a water bath and soak your legs in it.  

2. Turmeric  

Image source: freepik.com

Research has shown that turmeric alleviates inflammation (due to its anti-inflammatory property) and can be used as a medicine for relieving arthritic pain, which is one of the reasons for leg pain. Turmeric is useful for osteoarthritis, which causes pain in the leg, among many other conditions.4 Thus, turmeric explains its use as a remedy for leg pain. You can make use of it by including it in your diet and consuming it or by making a semi-solid paste of it and applying it over the leg.  

3. Ginger  

Image source: freepik.com

There have been various reports and studies claiming the use of ginger extracts in the management of inflammation caused by osteoarthritis, arthritis and rheumatism. In a study, it was also found that it relieves pain due to general muscular discomfort when consumed as a dietary supplement. Though the exact way in which it acts is still unknown and unclear, a few studies have shown that ginger effectively reduces pain and swelling due to its anti-inflammatory activity.5 Therefore, it is used to relieve leg pain. It can be used as an oil and can be applied over the leg, or it can be consumed directly.  

4. Calotropis gigantea (Dudh akondo)    

A study was devised in order to understand the tribal formulations that have been used for pain relief. In this study, researchers noticed that many of the formulations contained Calotropis gigantea, commonly called Dudh akondo, and most of these were used for rheumatic pain.6 Calotropis gigantea is usually mixed with other herbs and used for application onto the leg in the form of a paste. 

Also Read: Inside Knee Pain: Exploring Causes, Risk Factors, and Solutions

5. Lavender Oil  

Image source: freepik.com

Lavender oil is an essential oil and has been found to have a variety of beneficial effects on our health. It is used to relieve sudden, short-term pain and also long term pain and pain of unknown origin. In a study, it was found that massaging the foot of patients with lavender oil admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) can have various beneficial effects, including the reduction of pain.7 Thus, it can also be used to relieve leg pain. You can also use lavender oil to massage your foot by diluting it in another oil.  

6. Garlic  

Image source: freepik.com

Garlic consists of a bioactive compound called allicin, among others, which is mainly responsible for the medicinal properties of garlic. A few studies conducted showed a decrease in joint pain after the consumption of garlic. This alleviation of pain may be due to its anti-inflammatory activity.8 Joint pain can be the reason for leg pain; thus, garlic can be used for managing leg pain. You can use garlic for leg pain by crushing it and consuming it directly or by crushing it, mixing it in an oil of your choice and applying it.  

7. Atmagupta (Kapikacchu)  

It is a herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is commonly known as cowhage or cow-itch in English and Kaunch or Aalukusi in Hindi. It is mainly used in the management of Parkinson’s disease and other nerve-related problems.9 In Ayurveda, it is also being used to deal with sciatica (pain in the legs caused due to nerves getting trapped between vertebral discs). A bit of its root powder is mixed with water, boiled and reduced. This decoction is filtered and used for consumption to relieve leg pain due to sciatica.10 

8. R.I.C.E.R.  

It is an abbreviation for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral. This method is effective in reducing sudden leg pain due to an injury. Simply put, it means to rest the leg; put ice on it by using an ice pack or frozen peas; compress the area by applying a firm bandage, keep the leg raised above the hip for some time and refer to a doctor as soon as possible.2  

Try Volini Maxx Pain Relief Spray for instant leg pain relief!

When to Seek Medical Help? 

It is necessary to seek medical help under the following circumstances: 

  • If you have fever along with leg pain 
  • If there is swelling in your leg and it turns red 
  • If home remedies do not help in relieving your pain 
  • If your leg turns blue or black 
  • If your pain improves with rest but increases when you walk or exercise 
  • If you feel that your leg became cold and pale1 

Also Read: How to Stop Leg Cramps Immediately: Research-Backed Techniques and Remedies

Conclusion: 

No matter what your age is, leg pain can be very uncomfortable. A variety of reasons can cause this pain, such as over-straining the muscles of the leg, injury and underlying medical conditions. It can occur for a short time or longer, and it can be less severe or more. What really matters is the solution to this pain. A few home remedies like turmeric, ginger, lavender oil, etc., can be helpful in relieving leg pain. You can try a few or all of the remedies that we have mentioned and see what suits you the best. If you notice anything unusual like swelling, redness, fever, etc., kindly seek medical help at the earliest.  

Also Read: Calf Strain: Understanding Its Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery Tips

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Can leg pain be caused due to exercise?  

Yes. You might experience leg pain when you injure yourself, do not drink enough water, exercise for too long and also if you strain a muscle (due to over-stretching), etc.1 

Can leg pain mean that I have cancer?  

Even though it is rare, there are chances for leg pain to be caused due to cancer of the bones (Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma).1 However, a more appropriate diagnosis can be made by your doctor. So, consult your doctor to be absolutely sure. 

Can leg pain be caused due to diabetes?  

Yes. Diabetes causes damage to the nerves, which might lead to leg pain.1 

Can essential oils be used for leg pain?  

Yes. Essential oils, especially lavender oil, have pain-relieving activity and can be used for leg pain.7 

Does leg pain cause memory loss?  

No. There have been no reports documented regarding the association of leg pain with memory loss.  

Also Read: 4 Best Home Remedies for Back Pain

References: 

1. Medline Plus [Internet]. Leg pain. John Creeks (GA): Ebix,Inc.; [cited 2022 May 18]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003182.htm#:~:text=Leg pain can be due,such as diuretics and statins) 

2. Healthdirect [Internet]. Leg pain; 2021 Aug 1 [cited 2022 May 18]. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/leg-pain 

3. Atik D, Atik C, Karatepe C. The Effect of External Apple Vinegar Application on Varicosity Symptoms, Pain, and Social Appearance Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2022 May 18];2016:6473678. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4735895/ 

4. Daily JW, Yang M, Park S. Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. J Med Food [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2022 May 18];19(8):717-29. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003001/pdf/jmf.2016.3705.pdf 

5. Bode AM, Dong Z. The amazing and mighty ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects: 2nd edition. Boca Raton: CRC Press/Taylor and Francis; 2011. p. 131-56. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/ 

6. Seraj S, Jahan FI, Chowdhury AR, Monjur-Ekhuda M, Khan MSH, Aporna SA, et al. Tribal formulations for treatment of pain: a study of the Bede community traditional medicinal practitioners of Porabari Village in Dhaka District, Bangladesh. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2022 May 18];10(1):26-34. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746354/ 

7. Koulivand PH, Ghadiri MK, Gorji A. Lavender and the Nervous System. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2022 May 18];2013;681304. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/ 

8. Tavakoli-Far F, Amiri-Ardekani E, Tehrany A. Allium sativum l. (garlic) role in osteoarthritis: A systematic review of clinical trials. Biointerface Res Appl Chem [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2022 May 18];11(4):12104-19. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348191144_Allium_sativum_L_Garlic_Role_in_Osteoarthritis_A_Systematic_Review_of_Clinical_Trials/link/5ff6732792851c13fef32d78/download 

9. Chandigarh [Internet]. Atmagupta/Kapikacchu; [cited 2022 May 18]. Available from: https://chandigarh.gov.in/atmagupta-kapikacchu 

10. AYUSH [Internet]. Ayurveda Offering Herbal Healing; [cited 2022 May 18]. Available from: https://www.esic.nic.in/attachments/publicationfile/7d11b02e5abb4717d53b4ce05efabd21.pdf 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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