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Why do leg muscles hurt and get stiff?



Every time I stand or walk for longer than 10-15 minutes, my leg muscles (throughout my entire legs) start feeling burning tightness, and get heavy and stiff. Yesterday I had to do a lot of walking, from one building to another, and my leg muscles got very heavy and sore, and I had to sit down to stop the pain. I could barely make it home, because my legs felt like they were aching and weighted down, and I had to drag my legs, because it was hard to lift them. Today the muscles throughout both legs still burn and feel heavy and stiff. I will have to sit down all day long-so my legs will feel better tomorrow. Sometimes it only takes overnight for my legs to feel better, if I walk short distances that day. This problem has been getting worse for several years. I have been treated badly by doctors who ignore me. I am age 54, and I also have constant stiffness and soreness in my spine, all across the area between my hips. It is worse in the mornings and gets better if I bend forward. One doctor in the hospital did tests for blood count, metabolic panel and muscle function and found nothing wrong. But a student nurse wrote me a letter saying I had symptoms of spinal stenosis. (She is not studying at the hospital anymore-and the present doctor ignores me.) The pain and heaviness in my legs always occurs when I am standing or walking. It does NOT occur if I am sitting. One doctor gave me 500mg of Ibuprofen, but I could still feel the heaviness and pain in my legs when I was walking. I am basically limited to walking only a few minutes at a time-because my legs start to hurt so much-that I have to sit down all the time to stop the pain. I also have constant stifffness in the back of my neck, and loss of function in my knees. I feel sick every day and have morning stiffness that lasts for hours. I lost a previous job with health insurance, because of my inability to stand too long. I faxed this information to the doctor, and he ignored it. Isn`t this negligance on the part of the doctor? What should I do? Who can help me?


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Response by:

Margery   Gass, MD Margery Gass, MD
Formely, Professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati