When to See a Doctor for Foot/Leg Pain

Foot fatigue, soreness in the feet, pain when walking or even at rest are not just signs of aging. Many times, foot or leg pain is an indication of a larger health issue. If the pain in your feet is persistent and causes you to miss work or social events, it is time to see a doctor.

When Should I see a Doctor for my Foot/Leg Pain?

Foot pain can be caused by a variety of health reasons. You could have an infection, arthritis, tendinitis and more. However, if you have diabetes and are feeling pain in your feet while in motion or at rest, you should call a doctor immediately. Often times, you could have diabetic neuropathy (tag), which can cause a tingling or numb feeling in your feet/legs. If left untreated, it could lead to peripheral arterial disease (PAD) (tag), which can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attacks, and even amputation. You should also see a doctor when you:

  • Have recently injured your foot
  • Have a fever of over 101 degrees
  • Are unable to walk on foot
  • Have pain in both foot
  • Have feet that are swollen, red and dry
  • Have a visible deformity in the foot
  • Have sores on feet

Who should I see about my Foot/Leg Pain?

Dr. Yazan Khatib (TAG), interventional and endovascular specialist, refers to sever cases of foot pain in diabetics as “foot attacks” and compares the urgency of them to heart attacks. This is because diabetic foot pain could lead to amputation. It can also increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

If you are experiencing severe foot pain, especially if you are diabetic or have preexisting heart conditions, it would be best to visit an urgent care facility or emergency room. From there, health care providers can refer you to a specialist.

For cases where the foot/leg pain is, chronic, not severe, or periodic, seeing a podiatrist is also efficient. Having foot pain is not something to be taken lightly. It could lead to a potentially serious disorder.

Preventing a “Foot Attack”

To reduce your risk of experiencing a “foot attack” follow these guidelines:

  • Have your feet checked at your annual physical exam.
  • Look for symptoms of PAD or foot attack including: muscle cramping in the hips, thighs or calves while walking.
  • Check for signs on your lower extremities that could indicate a possible foot attack including: muscle atrophy, hair loss on the legs, smooth shiny skin, skin that is cool, absent pulses in the feet, non-healing ulcers or sores.

Source: Healthgrades, Primary Care Diabetes Society, American heart Association, National Institutes of Health