Pain in Both Legs – What Causes Pain in Both Legs?

pain in both legs

Leg pain is quite common and can vary widely in intensity. Sometimes, it is mild and easy to deal with. Other times, it is quite intense and can force you to take a few days off. Then, some pains occur in one leg only, but you may also experience pain in both legs. All in all, what do you need to know about it? What are the causes and what kind of treatment should you expect?

Symptoms associated with pain in both legs

Experiencing persistent pain in both legs is a good enough reason to seek help from a doctor. It is important to know that such pains may come with other signs and symptoms too. Sometimes, the pain comes with certain activities only. Other times, it could be acute, yet it may kick in gradually as well.

It can affect certain parts of the legs or whole legs. Sensations can be described in different ways. Some people may feel like sharp stabbing sensations. Others feel tingling and burning sensations. Even if the cause is the same, different people may experience different sensations.

Some other signs associated with this leg pain include tenderness, stiffness, swelling, muscular weakness, buckling knees, bruising, visible redness and muscular cramps. As a direct consequence, patients will experience difficulty while walking too.

Causes and risk factors

Causes are extremely diversified and may include harsh and less known affections too – bursitis, Baker’s cyst or claudication. However, such cases are extremely rare. Most commonly, leg pains are associated with arthritis, fractures (if there is a known major trauma or injury, such as a fall), gout, muscular cramps, sciatica, spinal stenosis and sprains.

Sciatica is among the most popular cases for leg pains, but it tends to affect one leg only. Plus, the pain tends to start in the lower back and it aggravates with time.

Risk factors are just as diversified and may include age, dehydration, pregnancy, prolonged rest, smoking, alcohol, extra weight and intense physical activities. There are less common risk factors as well, such as diabetes, nerve disorders or surgery.

The diagnostic of pain in both legs

Pain in both legs is a symptom and not an actual affection, so it underlines a different issue to be concerned about. Make sure you see a doctor if the pain is intense or persists. There are more exams and tests you may have to take for the doctor to give you a diagnosis.

X-rays are common if there are any known injuries, but doctors may also ask for them just in case. An X-ray will give the doctor a clear image of dense structures, like bones.

Then, a classic MRI may also be required. The test relies on radio waves and a magnetic field to provide even more detailed images. The doctor will obviously focus on the legs. Unlike X-rays, the MRI will also provide images of ligaments and soft tissues as well.

Ultrasound tests rely on sound waves to give the doctor images of various structures around your body. They are mostly suitable to diagnose conditions of soft tissues. Finally, CT scans represent a more sophisticated approach that will provide more details than any other test. CT scans do use tiny amounts of radiation though – unlike MRIs.

There are other tests a doctor may ask for, but they are mostly aimed at particular affections that are not very common – venography, electromyography and general blood tests. Blood tests will show signs of blood clots, deficiencies, immune system issues, diabetes, things like the cholesterol or inflammation.

How pain in both legs works on your body

How much can leg pain last? How much can it interfere with your daily activities? It is hard to tell. One thing is for sure though – the underlying condition must be identified for you to get a better image of what to expect.

Some types of pain in both legs – especially when caused by strains or less problematic injuries – can be handled with self-care, at home. You will not even require a deep treatment or test, especially if you are aware of the causes.

But then, more severe injuries, nerve damage or tissue damage will need more sophisticated treatments. In some extreme cases, surgery could be the only option – most people will never get there though.

As for the duration of the pain, it can be sporadic and acute, but it may also be consistent and ongoing. Sometimes, it might be associated with certain activities. Other times, it is totally random and difficult to explain.

There are no general rules when it comes to leg pains. There are more conditions that could be behind this issue and each of them is different. This is why seeing a specialist doctor is so important – the more data you have, the easier it is to overcome the pain.

Common self-care treatments for pain in both legs

Give your legs some rest and avoid activities that can trigger the leg pain. Give yourself a bit of time before slowly getting back to normal. When the pain is acute, opt for ice packs. Apply the ice pack on the affected area for 20 minutes – cover it in a towel though. Do it three times a day.

When sitting or lying down, make sure your legs are elevated for more comfort. If the pain is too problematic, over the counter medication may help by ameliorating it. Make sure you see a doctor if the pain is too intense or you can see signs of infections.


As a short final conclusion, there are more reasons wherefore you may end up with pain in both legs. Most commonly, it has a clear reason – tiredness, some extra effort in work or a proper workout. Other times, it feels random.

Mild and moderate cases can be handled at home with self-care and no medication. More severe cases require medical attention. Avoid the guesswork and seek help if the situation looks bad – swelling, visible damage and signs of infections. The treatment will be more complicated then.

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