The Lower Leg
The lower leg is the region below the knee and above the ankle. It includes your shin, calf, and two bones called the Tibia (shin bone) and the smaller Fibula. If you have a problem somewhere on your lower leg, please let Bay Area Foot & Laser Podiatry Group diagnose and treat it for you.
Lower Leg Problems
Here are simple descriptions of the most common conditions associated with the lower leg.
If you’ve ever fractured a bone, then you could develop Post-traumatic Arthritis. Often, people don’t notice the problem until years later. Be sure to tell Dr. Huey if you ever had an injury where you’re currently experiencing pain, stiffness, or swelling.
Calf pain can occur for many reasons. Cramping may be caused by an unbalanced diet or poor blood flow, and pain may be caused by an injury whether a muscle strain or tear, tendinitis, or something more serious like a blood clot. Please don’t ignore your calf pain. Dr. Huey is available to determine if your problem is minor or serious.
If your leg comes in contact with an irritant, then it could inflame your skin. You could be allergic to irritants such as poison ivy, harsh chemicals, and even the materials used to construct your shoes. Reactions such as itchiness, redness, and small blisters take place usually within 24 hours. Dr. Huey can evaluate your condition and treat your problem with care.
DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT)
A thrombus is a blood clot in a deep vein. Some people may experience calf or thigh pain, redness, swelling, and warmth while other people have no symptoms at all. Although risk factors are many, some people get DVT without any. Blood clots can break loose and lodge in the lungs so if you have any signs or symptoms, then it’s extremely important to get an evaluation as soon as possible.
This foot and ankle deformity looks like your foot is held downward as if you’re stepping on a gas pedal. You’ll have limited range bending your foot and ankle upward. Equinus is often caused by tight calf muscles or a tight Achilles, the tendon that connects the calf muscle. This condition can cause a wide variety of lower leg, ankle, and foot problems including cramping, pain, shin splints, and sores.
If you notice pain, swelling, redness, or bruising after a repetitive activity or an injury, then it may be a fracture. Stress fractures (tiny breaks in the bone) can develop over time and lead to a full fracture (complete break). If you suspect a fracture, Dr. Huey can provide you with a complete diagnosis and treatment.
Osteoporosis causes the weakening and thinning of bones due to the lack of calcium and/or Vitamin D; thereby, increasing the risk of bone fractures. The condition is mostly seen in women over 50 but men and younger people can develop it, too. Common areas of bone fractures because of it are the hips, wrists, and spine but for podiatrists, we see it in the metatarsals and other bones as well. If you see redness and swelling on your lower leg and it hurts more when you walk, then you may have a fracture due to Osteoporosis.
OPEN SORE/WOUND (ULCER)
If you have an open sore, then please don’t wait to get it properly treated. Because your foot is farthest away from your heart, foot ulcers are very slow to heal; for that reason, it increases your risk of infection not just in the skin but the bone. Besides inflammation and thickening of the tissue, telling signs include drainage and odor from the wound. For diabetics, even the smallest scrape or blister can turn into an ulcer and can become limb- or life-threatening.
PERIPHERAL ARTERIAL DISEASE
Atherosclerosis can lead to Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). If your blood has trouble flowing to your legs and feet because your arteries are significantly blocked, then you might feel pain or tiredness in your legs, thighs, and buttocks when you’re walking. You might also feel pain in your feet or toes while you’re resting, or that wakes you up while you’re sleeping.
For even more information, the American Heart Association is a great resource.
With Psoriasis, new skin cells turn over faster than normal, building up over your old skin cells. If you notice whitish/silvery scales over dry, red patches of skin on the bottom of your feet, then chances are good that you have Psoriasis. This very common condition can happen anywhere on the body.
If you experience pain and swelling in the front of your lower legs after you’ve been running or walking a lot, then you might have shin splints. Inflammation develops when your shin muscles repetitively pull from your shin bones. A wide variety of causes range from improper shoes to improper training. If you let the problem go on, it may lead to tiny bone breaks called stress fractures.
These twisted, enlarged veins may show up most commonly in your legs, ankles, and feet. This happens when the vein valves or walls become weak or damaged. If you have Vericose Veins, you might experience aches, pain, swelling, bruising, itching, nighttime cramps, skin discoloration, and the feeling of heavy legs and feet. You’re also at risk of developing complications such as bleeding, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and skin sores. If you’re bleeding from this condition, please get emergency medical help.
Warts are small, rough-looking growths that are similar in color to your skin. They’re caused by exposure to a virus and can spread by touch. It’s common to find them anywhere on your hands or feet.