If you're an active sportsperson, you may have noticed some unusual issues of late after you've gone through a period of considerable exertion. For example, you may have felt that your legs were particularly heavy or noticed a burning sensation in the calves, thighs or feet. Does this just mean that you've been doing too much, or could it be signs of an emerging condition?
All athletes will go through periods of pain and discomfort as they seek to push themselves and get better at their chosen sport. Yet this type of discomfort is quite predictable, and as time goes by, most athletes will learn to identify it and cope. Still, there are reasons to be concerned if the pain lingers for a much longer time. In some situations, this could point to other issues that mean that your muscles are not able to recover after exercise properly.
As this type of condition develops, it may begin to hurt so much that you avoid too much exertion, and this could certainly detract from your goal to be a better sportsperson. If you feel pains and aches when you move your muscles after exertion, especially if some of those pains are sharp, you need to look more closely at the cause.
Some people in this situation may be experiencing a condition known as "claudication." This is caused by low blood pressure levels in the leg arteries and will need to be treated before it gets better.
Causes and Risks
In this situation, the arteries are not able to pump enough blood through to the limbs on the periphery. Sometimes, this is due to higher levels of plaque within the arteries, which can be linked to high cholesterol. Claudication can cause severe cramps and muscle numbness in some cases, and a few people may be at risk of developing even more complications. Those whose job involves a lot of manual labour or who regularly lift heavy objects can be more affected, and athletes and sportspeople may encounter claudication.
Asking the Experts
Should you be experiencing some of these symptoms and are not sure why, get in touch with someone in sports podiatry as soon as possible. They will ask you some questions about your lifestyle and exercise regime and, if necessary, will suggest that you seek medical advice from a doctor. They may help you to lower blood pressure levels and cholesterol as needed as part of your push towards a healthy lifestyle.