The 5 Most Common Causes Of Pain That Radiates Down to The Legs

The human body is an intricate system of nerves and muscles that can cause us pain when something isn’t working right. Pain that radiates down to the legs can be caused by a variety of conditions and ranges from mild discomfort to excruciating pain.

Treatment for leg pain will depend on the underlying cause of the pain and may include lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, medications, or even surgery. By understanding the potential causes of leg pain, you will be better equipped to properly treat your symptoms.

Common Causes of Leg Pain

Here are five of the most common causes of pain radiating down the legs.

  1. Sciatica

Sciatica is a common cause of leg pain, typically felt in the lower back, buttocks, and legs. It is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve and its symptoms can include sharp pain, numbness, and tingling. Treatment typically includes physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve.

  1. Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is a common cause of leg pain, especially in the lower back. It occurs when the soft, rubbery material between the vertebrae in the spine breaks down, allowing the disc to shift out of place and press on a nerve. The resulting pain can be sharp, aching, or burning, and may radiate down the leg. Other symptoms include muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling. Treatment options include physical therapy, medications, steroid injections, and surgery. In some cases, pain relief can be achieved without surgery.

  1. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a common cause of leg pain, typically affecting adults over the age of 50. It is caused when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and its nerve roots. This can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the legs, as well as weakness in the legs and feet. Surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the nerves and spine. Physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and medications can also help reduce symptoms.

  1. Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle in the hip area becomes inflamed, causing pain to radiate down the legs. It can also cause pain in the buttocks, hips, and thighs. Piriformis syndrome is a common cause of leg pain in which the piriformis muscle, located in the lower back, compresses the sciatic nerve. Symptoms can range from a mild ache to a sharp, burning pain in the buttocks and down the back of the leg, along with difficulty walking, sitting, or climbing stairs.

  1. Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one vertebra slips over another, often causing leg pain. This misalignment of the spine can lead to a variety of symptoms, including pain in the back and legs, stiffness, and difficulty walking. Spondylolisthesis is a common cause of leg pain and is most common in adolescents and adults between the ages of 30 and 50. Treatment typically involves physical therapy, medications, and, in some cases, surgery. With proper treatment, most people find relief from their leg pain and can improve their overall quality of life.

Symptoms of Leg Pain

Common symptoms of leg pain include:

  1. Aching or burning sensations
  2. Numbness or tingling
  3. Sharp or stabbing pains
  4. Weakness or difficulty moving the leg
  5. Muscle cramps
  6. Swelling or tenderness of the leg
  7. Restless leg syndrome
  8. Difficulty walking or standing
  9. Pain when standing or walking
  10. Throbbing or radiating pain
eniscectomy 4 - The 5 Most Common Causes Of Pain That Radiates Down to The Legs

Get Help With Your Spine!

Are you suffering from back pain that is also affecting your leg? Our spine expert, dr. Matthew Hepler, is dedicated to helping you identify the source of your leg pain and provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan.

We have the best spine surgeon in South Florida whose goal is to help you find relief and get back to living life to the fullest. We offer a variety of treatment plans tailored to meet your individual needs. 

If you experience pain that radiates down your legs, it is important to seek medical help. Your doctor can diagnose the cause of your pain and provide treatment to help relieve it. With Dr. Matthew Helpler, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. 

You can visit one of our offices near you:

If you have any inquiries, you may contact us at 561-345-1780 or send us a message here.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.