You’re experiencing leg pain. Now you have to decide if it’s best to make an appointment to see a general practitioner, go to the urgent care or emergency room. Though you may feel inclined to put the decision off until a more convenient time, you may not have that luxury, depending on the nature of your condition.
Where you go for care is extremely important, especially during the early stages of injury or illness. Although the urgent care may be closer, or you feel more comfortable seeing a family doctor, the emergency room is the safest place for specific issues, such as severe injuries or potential health issues, like blood clots in the leg.
Leg Pain: When to Go to the ER
So, how do you know when to go to the emergency room for leg pain? There are times when it’s best not to second guess the matter to prevent delays in care. If you experience leg pain with any of the following symptoms, head to the nearest emergency room immediately.
- Pain, along with swelling, redness or warmth in the calf
- Leg pain that is accompanied by a fever
- Pain so severe it is difficult to walk or put weight on the leg
- Serious burns
- Injury/wound with an exposed bone or tendon
- Injury with a sound of popping or grinding
- A sudden worsening of symptoms
Some leg pain symptoms — like cramping, soreness, swelling, warmth, or skin discoloration — may be a sign of a blood clot in the leg or deep vein thrombosis, a severe and potentially fatal condition for some individuals. Immediate treatment is necessary to lower the risk of severe and possibly life-threatening complications.
When to See Your Doctor for Leg Pain
Here’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when it comes to injuries or ailments. If you believe your leg injury, infection, or illness is something that may endanger your life or may become permanent — or if you are unsure — err on the side of caution and go to the emergency room.
But, sometimes, self-care is the best treatment for mild illnesses, injuries or concerns. Go to the doctor when you have leg pain that starts to disrupt your daily activities but is not enough to warrant emergency care.
Blood Clots in the Legs: An Emergency
Blood clots can be dangerous, especially if they occur deep in the veins of the legs. Clots forming in that area can break away and end up in the lungs’ blood vessels, causing a pulmonary embolism. This condition causes blood flowing to the lungs to backflow, depriving the organs of oxygen-rich blood.
For serious vascular problems treatment is necessary to restore proper blood flow and circulation. The longer it takes to eliminate the clot to restore oxygenated blood to the lungs and organs, the greater the risk of serious complications that may result in cardiac arrest, shock, or death. Common causes include lack of movement, smoking, hormones, certain health conditions, or some medications.
Cramps in the legs are not always a sign of something serious. Sometimes they can be triggered by external factors or nonmedical issues. Clots that develop in the veins in the leg and end up in the lungs vary in size. Clots can also cause serious complications.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deep vein thrombosis is a vascular disease that causes long-term and chronic complications in 30 to 50 percent of survivors. The condition affects almost 900,000 people every year. Get to the emergency room right away if you experience cramps in the legs that occur with swelling, pain, warmth and tenderness. An elevated heart rate, shallow or rapid breathing, dizziness, confusion, profuse sweating, chest pain, bluish nails or lips, and blood-tinged sputum are signs of a possible DVT-related medical emergency.
Our Full-Service Emergency Department
It’s not possible to predict when illness or injuries will occur. But knowing where to go for fast, comprehensive, and advanced medical care can help ensure a favorable outcome. Community Hospital of Huntington Park’s emergency room is staffed with board-certified physicians and medical staff always here to help get you back on your feet.
Regardless of your emergency health or medical care needs, you can count on Community Hospital of Huntington Park’s ER. Treatment is available when needed most for all serious or potentially life-threatening leg issues and other health concerns.