Leg PainDr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
Leg pain is a frequent, over-arching complaint experienced to varying degrees by all ages. Whether occurring as a sports-related injury, work injury or from everyday leg use, leg pain may stem from a muscle, tendon or joint disorder. Yet, it may also be a source of “referred pain” from another area of the body or condition, such as damage to joints in the low back or sciatica.
Leg pain may be classified by region or by structure. For instance, consider the ankle region in which an individual may experience an ankle sprain or bone stress injury such as heel spur, stress fracture or Sever’s disease. In the ankle region alone, there are tendon-related conditions, degenerative conditions (arthritis), soft tissue inflammatory conditions (bursitis), biomechanical components (impingement or flat feet), systemic factors (lupus, rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis) and nerve-related sources (tarsal tunnel syndrome or sciatica). Even so, other regions where leg pain may occur include the calf, foot, groin, heel, hip, knee, shin, thigh and hamstring.
In regards to structure, leg pain may be a result of arthritis, bursitis, ligament injury, muscle injury or tendonitis.
Causes of Leg Pain
- Achilles tendon rupture
- ACL injury
- Anterior, posterior ankle impingement
- Bulging disc
- Calf muscle tear
- Chondromalacia patella
- Corked thigh
- Discoid meniscus
- DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
- Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)
- Tendinopathy (adductor, gluteal, patella)
- Hamstring strain
- High ankle sprain
- Hip labral tear
- Hip pointer
- ITB syndrome
- Knee arthritis
- Knee replacement
- Meniscus tear
- Morton’s neuroma
- Osgood Schlatter’s
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Perthes disease
- Pinched nerve
- Plantar fasciitis
- Poor hip core
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Restless leg syndrome
- Retrocalcaneal bursitis
- Sever’s disease
- Shin splints
- Sinding Larsen Johansson syndrome
- Slipped femoral capital epiphysis
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Thigh strain
- Trochanteris bursitis
Diagnosis, Treatment, and Rehabilitation of Leg Pain
Given the many causes of leg pain and complexities involving multiple body systems and conditions, physiatrists are in the best position to identify and determine its root causes. Having extensive education and experience across a multitude of disciplines and conditions, physiatrists make connections and draw conclusions as needed for effective diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of leg pain.
Physiatrists aim to help patients live a pain-free lifestyle with maximum functioning. Generally speaking, early treatment for leg pain includes rest, ice therapy, compression or bracing and elevation. Medications and steroid injections may be given in some cases to reduce pain and inflammation. Ultrasound therapy, electrical stimulation, TENS machine, soft-tissue massage and magnetic field therapy are other options for treatment that relate important diagnostic information to the physiatrist. Once pain and inflammation are managed, patients can better tolerate rehabilitation, which is likely to involve selective exercises, stretching and flexibility training.
Depending on the source of a patient’s leg pain, physiatrists may steer rehabilitation in a number of ways. Consider the following options:
- Closed kinetic chain exercises
- Foot posture correction exercises
- Dry needling
- Gait analysis
- Eccentric strengthening
- Balance and coordination exercises
- Sports-specific agility exercises
- Heel cups, orthotics or walking boot
- Bracing, strapping or taping
- Foam roller
- Joint mobilization
- Running analysis
- Video analysis
While several of the above-mentioned forms of therapy involve testing and assessment activities, physiatrists continually obtain information regarding a patient’s condition throughout rehabilitation. In addition, physiatrists place a high value on body mechanics, where patients learn specific techniques, behavioral modifications, postures and positioning that complement treatment and help them avoid re-injury. Without question, this perspective is a benefit to patients, as therapy remains goal-oriented with a continual focus on maximizing function and overall quality of life.
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their functioning.
To schedule an appointment, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute today.