The leg is the section of the lower limb extending from the knee to the ankle. There two bones the tibia or shinbone together with the smaller fibula bone. Muscles in the legs move the ankle, foot and toes. There are three muscles at superficial layer: the calf muscles, including the gastrocnemius and soleus are the muscles at the back of the leg and plantaris. Achilles tendon is attached to the calcaneus bone in the heel. There are four muscles in the deep compartment of the posterior leg: the popliteus, tibialis posterior, flexor hallucis longus and flexor digitorum longus. These muscles contract to flex the foot — such as when standing on the tiptoes — and flex the toes. They also stabilize the ankle joint and foot and to maintain the body’s balance. There are four muscles in the anterior compartment of the leg; tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus, extensor hallucis longus and fibularis tertius. They invert the foot at the ankle joint and extend the toes. There are two muscles in the lateral compartment of the leg; the fibularis longus and brevis. They turn the sole of the foot outwards.
Most common leg pain results from wear and tear, overuse, or injuries in joints or bones or in muscles, ligaments, tendons or other soft tissues. Some types of leg pain can be caused by problems in the lower spine where the nerve to the leg originates and then travels to the legs, such as slipped disk, sciatica.
Leg pain can be mild that comes and goes, or severe that makes it difficult to sleep and walk. The pain is often described as aching, throbbing or burning and it can be accompanied by numbness, tingling and muscle weakness. For leg pain treatments, finding the cause is important and treatments depend on the causes.
Shin pain is pain on the front of the lower leg between the
knee and the ankle. It can hurt directly over the shinbone all the way or over
the muscles that are on the inner or outer side of the tibia. It can be a dull
aching, or sharp and severe pain. It can be one or both shin with large area
across whole length of the shin bone. This pain is usually caused by overuse
from irritation of the muscles or other tissues in the leg. The cause is not
clear, but it is suggested that running and repetitive weight bearing on the
legs leads to inflammation of the soft tissue around the shin bone.
Leg muscle cramps are common, and it usually occurs in the
calf muscles. It can also happen in any other leg muscles. When it happens, the
muscles in the leg suddenly become tight and painful which will last
seconds to minutes. After the cramping has passed, pain and tenderness in
the leg can stay for some time.
Acupuncture is amazingly effective for leg pain. For
example, a 35-year-old woman had pain in front of leg along the shin bone for
two years. She had 8 sessions of weekly acupuncture treatment. After 6 weeks,
the pain completely disappeared.