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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone infections

Question: Leg pain starting from foot up to the thigh

 morenitapr - Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:57 pm

Hello. I really hope you can help me. I have a a lot of pain starting from the inside of my thigh all the way down to my foot. Its on my left leg and has been going on for a couple of weeks. It has been increasingly hard to walk and is becoming more painful. Just today my leg is very swollen. The pain started about 10 years ago and it was unbearable, couldn's even walk and it would come and go. Now I've started to notice the pain even more and is almost getting imposible for me to walk. I have been trying to avoid going to the doctor because I don't have medical insurance and really can't afford it. Please help. I want to know if it may be something serious.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:27 pm

User avatar Hello -

While the fact that the problem has been going on for 10 years somewhat undercuts the likelihood that it is serious, the description of the signs and symptoms does suggest that something potentially very serious is going on, and that you may have just been remarkably lucky all this time. It is important that you have this evaluated, even though the duration of the problem may throw clinicians off at first.

Whenever one leg is swollen and there is no history of trauma, there is the potential for a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a clot deep in the leg, which can eventually break loose and travel to a lung with very serious and potentially lethal results, or, sometimes, to another organ (heart, brain) where the effects could be equally dangerous.

It's possible, due to the long duration of the problem, that you have something else, such as compartment syndrome, but even that can eventually become serious enough that it would require medical intervention.

I hope you'll find a way to have this evaluated, and to at least have some blood tests and an ultrasound of the affected leg. It may be something of a financial hardship, but having a catastrophic medical situation is even worse.

Please follow up with us as needed.
 morenitapr - Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:56 pm

I actually could not take the pain anymore so I did end up going to the emergency room several days ago and the doctor told me I have cellulitis. I'm still not sure what exactly that is and how it happened or even the severity of it but the doctor gave me some antibiotics to drink. He did say it was pretty serious but since I don't even know what that is, I don't know in what kind of danger, if any, I was or if I'm siceptible of getting it again. I did finish them all and feel better but my leg is still hurting quite some (although is significantly less than before). Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do to ease the pain?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:09 pm

User avatar Hi -

Cellulitis is an infection of the outer layers of tissue (and the servicing blood vessels) over (usually) an extremity. It used to frequently be called "blood poisoning" and it can be serious in serveral ways, if not attended to. It can cause necrosis (tissue death) with scarring and loss of use of part of the extremity in very severe cases, can cause sepsis and death in extremely severe and untreated cases, and can make one pretty sick sometimes as well. Most often it's impossible to ignore and gets treated before any permanent damage takes place. It sounds as though, with proper antibiotic therapy, you should be fine, although your doctor may need to look for an underlying cause and correct it.

One of the best ways to help reduce the discomfort is by application of warm (not hot!) moist compresses or to submerge the part in a warm (not hot!) water (or a bath). Oral pain medication is helpful, but shouldn't be used excessively, as one needs to know how the part is doing, which includes monitoring of pain. Once the problem is in remission, if it's still painful, acetaminophen is the safest analgesic for this sort of problem.

Hopefully this is helpful and I'm really glad you went in to have it checked. Due to the long-term nature of the problem and no mention of discoloration, I probably wouldn't have thought to suggest cellulitis, but it makes total sense. Best of luck to you and don't hesitate to follow up with us here.

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