Dear Ask The Doctor: Have experienced calf and ankle pain in my right leg for three weeks, and my foot often becomes numb and cold after walking. Most often, the pain is sharp in my calf, and dull and exhausting in my ankle, which tires easily. It feels as if there is a kind of numbness between my ankle and my foot, a lack of stability or firmness. There is not always pain or numbness in my calf and foot, but the ankle somehow never feels the same as the one on my left leg. Right now, for example, my one foot is very cold, it takes more effort to move my toes and ankle, moving my big toe sometimes creates a strange pulling sensation in the front of my leg and my calf, and from the lower-calf down is tired. I have had x-rays on that leg and also an MRI on my spine to check for sciatica. Also doctors have felt around my ankle and my leg. Everything appeared to be fine, and it is a big mystery. I (used to) run four days a week, am a very healthy person, eat healthy. This first started, and with serious pain which has by now decreased, the same night as one of my running days - but I felt no pain in that leg while I ran, though my groin muscles on both sides were somehow painful and tight and my left knee was giving me a little trouble for the first fifteen minutes. The pain did not come until I laid in bed that night, and it came on gradually but quickly. Any suggestions or thoughts on what this might be? Thanks for the help.
Dear Douglas: In the view that a nerve compression has been ruled out, it is important to rule out the other serious cause of the symptoms that you described: calf pain, with cold and numb foot, and this is a Peripheral artery problem, I advise you to get an evaluation by a cardiovascular surgeon, and if all comes out normal, then we can think that your pain may be consequence of the initial episode that you mentioned and possibly a repetitive stress injury or overuse syndrome. This kind of injuries happen when too much stress is placed on a part of the body, resulting in inflammation (pain and swelling), muscle strain, or tissue damage. This stress generally occurs from repeating the same movements over and over again, with no enough healing time. The concept is that overuse injury is associated with repeated challenge without sufficient recovery time, and this is true for Body Building, Running, Jogging or any other sport or activity in which you exceed the guidelines and your own limits or capacities at some point. Overuse injuries or repetitive motion injuries make up over 50% of all athletic-related injuries seen by doctors. The most common types of repetitive motion injuries are tendonitis and bursitis.