THE FACTS ON LEG OR MUSCLE FATIGUE:

What Is Muscle Fatigue?

Image of leg muscle fatigue

As the name implies, muscle fatigue is the name for a broad condition in which your feet or legs feel sore, achy or just tired. While not a medical condition onto itself, this symptom is a common ailment among our population. It may not be anything serious, but experiencing muscle fatigue can make it difficult to fully live the busy life you want to live.

Muscle fatigue may be associated with several other symptoms, including swelling, soreness, or a general achiness. If you are experiencing leg fatigue, you may find it challenging to spend time on your feet.

What Causes Muscle Fatigue?

Tired or achy legs can be the result of a variety of causes:

  • If you move around or are on your feet all day, you can get muscle fatigue. It’s that simple, and while it’s common among athletes, especially runners, you don’t have to be a sports enthusiast to experience the frustration of muscle fatigue.
  • The muscles of the legs do a tremendous amount of work to hold us up and keep us moving every day. If you are in less than top shape, your muscles can become tired more easily and frequently, resulting in muscle fatigue.
  • Being overweight or pregnant can put more stress on your feet and lower body, and contribute to heavy legs
  • Wearing poorly fitting shoes can increase the demands on your lower body…
  • While structural differences may contribute to the tendency to suffer from muscle fatigue, the forces of shock along with the demands of the surfaces you are walking and working on can play a major role in the frequency and intensity of muscle fatigue you experience.
  • Too much exercise or not giving your muscles enough rest to recover
  • Making up for an injury on your opposite leg. One symptom of leg muscle overuse can be shin splints. These can cause soreness along the inner part of your shinbone.
  • Muscular weakness can also result in legs and feet that feel tired. If you tend to be relatively inactive, the smallest amount of activity can become hard on your legs and feet.

How to Help Prevent Muscle Fatigue?

  • Wearing appropriate, comfortable and well-fitted shoes during activity, especially if you’ll be on your feet for a long time
  • Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce pressure on the legs
  • Staying hydrated, exercising and getting plenty of rest
  • Strengthening the muscles in your legs with exercises can sometimes help alleviate soreness if the pain is a result of muscular weakness.
  • Wearing compression socks to help increase blood flow in the lower body.

How to Reduce Muscle Fatigue?

If you have leg fatigue, one of the most important things you can do is rest and elevate your feet and legs. If they’re swollen, it may also help to apply ice for 15-20 minutes and/or use over-the-counter pain relievers. In addition, you can relieve fatigue by:

  • Wearing insoles, inserts or orthotics to help realign and cushion your feet. Explore Dr. Scholl’s Shoe Inserts.
  • Soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts

If you suspect your leg fatigue may be the result of a medical condition, or if self-care is not helping to alleviate your symptoms, you should consult your doctor. They will be able to help you determine if your problem is connected to a larger medical condition. You should also talk with your doctor if you are experiencing:

  • Severe, or persistent swelling that doesn’t improve after 2-5 days
  • Redness, warmth, and tenderness of the affected area, or if you have a fever
  • An inability to put weight on your leg/foot
  • Persistent pain that doesn’t resolve after 2-3 weeks
  • Burning pain or numbness

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