“Sciatica” is used to describe symptoms of leg pain that begins in the lower back and radiates through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg.  Sciatica is an indication and result of an underlying medical condition.

Symptoms may include:

  • Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely occurs in both legs)
  • Pain that is worse when seated
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Constant pain on one side of the rear end
  • Sharp pain making it difficult to stand up or walk

Calf Strain

A calf strain, commonly referred to as a “pulled muscle,” is an injury to the muscles and tendons in the back of the leg, below the knee and results when these muscles or tendons have been stretched or torn. This condition can occur during any physical activity where you push off forcefully from your toes.

Symptoms may include:

  • Instant pain in calf
  • Difficulty rising on toes
  • Hear or feel a pop or snap in the calf (in severe cases)
  • Bruising and swelling (in severe cases)

Chondromalacia Patalla/Patellofemoral Syndrome/Runner’s Knee

Chondromalacia patella is synonymous with patellofemoral pain syndrome, otherwise known as Runner’s Knee. It is the most common producer of knee pain. It is a condition characterized by dull pain around the front of the kneecap, your patella, where it articulates with the end of the thigh bone, your femur. The pain of chondromalacia patella is aggravated by activity or prolonged sitting with bent knees. It is caused by the deep surface of the patella rubbing against the end of the femur inside your knee joint. This happens because of something called abnormal tracking of the patella, which means that the muscles in your thigh are pulling on your kneecap improperly.

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in and around the kneecap during activity or prolonged sitting
  • Occasional weakness or a feeling of instability in the knee
  • Rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap that can be heard at times when the knee is bent and straightened
  • Kneecap feels tender and sensitive to touch

Patellar Tendinitis/Jumper’s Knee

Jumper’s knee, also known as patellar tendinitis, is caused by inflammation of the patellar tendon.  The patellar tendon connects from the bottom of the kneecap to the top shin bone (tibia).  Jumper’s Knee may be caused by overuse of the knee joint, such as repetitive jumping on hard surfaces, which is how the condition got its name.  However, you can also get it from running or walking on hard surfaces, too.  It is commonly misdiagnosed as Osgood-Schlatter Disease.

Symptoms may include:

  • Tenderness and pain around the patellar tendon
  • Swelling
  • Pain with jumping, running, or walking
  • Pain with bending or straightening the leg

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter Disease is most common in adolescents, especially if they’re active in sports.  It is an overuse injury of the knee where the patellar tendon is pulling on the growth plate of the top of the shin bone.  During this stage in development, the bones grow faster than the muscles.  If a kid is being active during this stage in growth, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments will feel tight while the bones continue to grow.

Symptoms may include:

  • Tenderness below the knee
  • Swelling below the knee
  • Limping (may worsen following jumping activities)
  • Bony growth at the top of the shin bone under the kneecap

Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is caused by inflammation to a band of fibrous connective tissue called the iliotibial (IT) band. It is an overuse injury common to runners, hikers, and cyclists. ITBS is characterized by pain over the outside of the knee joint at the lateral epicondyle, which is the at the end of the femur. In this area, the IT band crosses bone and muscle over a bursa, which is a fluid filled sac that allows for smooth gliding of tissues over and under each other. However, when the IT band or bursa becomes inflamed, the ability for soft tissue to glide decreases and pain upon motion takes place.

Symptoms may include:

  • Tenderness on the outside the knee and lower thigh
  • Swelling or heat
  • Limping (may worsen following repetitive motion activities, like cycling, running, or walking)
  • Popping or snapping sensation while walking on the outside of the thigh near the knee during activity

Osteoarthritis of the Knees

Upholding much of the weight of the body is shared between the knee joints. A majority of people have unequal leg lengths and postural imperfections, which means that the stress on the knees is not shared equally between the two. However, obesity is the primary cause of osteoarthritis in the knees. Obesity negatively impacts every joint throughout the body, especially the knees. Just ten pounds has been proven to add a minimum of 30 pounds and up to 60 pounds of force on the knee. Studies by the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center have shown that women are four times more likely to develop osteoarthritis when obese as opposed to carrying a normal weight. Just like anything else that takes more stress than it is designed to, over time, the knees can succumb to wear and tear of the cartilage and bone.

Symptoms may include:

  • Grinding of the joint when in motion
  • Joint pain in wet weather
  • Swollen joints
  • Limited movement of joints
  • Morning stiffness

Shin Splints/Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome

Shin Splints, or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome is pain that runs along the shinbone (long bone in the front of your lower leg). Shin Splints, caused by excessive stress on the shinbone and the connective tissues attaching your muscles to the bone, are an indication of an underlying medical problem. Some of the common causes include flat feet, running, dancing, increased intensity of training, stress fractures (tiny hairline breaks in the bone), and a change of training surface (i.e., track to asphalt).

Symptoms may include:

  • Tenderness, soreness, or pain along the inner part of your lower leg
  • Mild swelling
  • Weakness or numbness in the feet