Chronic leg pain can arise from variety of causes ranging from minor illness such as muscle cramp or fifth disease to more serious conditions such as rheumatic fever, nerve disorder, or malignant bone tumors (osteosarcoma). Pain-like sensation often described as pins-and-needles, pricking or burning sensation needs immediate medical attention.
Rheumatic fever is always accompanied by aches/pain in muscle and chronic leg pain. Rheumatic fever can be found in any age group of 4 to 40 but it is more prevalent in children between the ages of 5 and 15. It is the commonest sequence of untreated or inadequately treated strep throat infection caused by streptococcus. Rheumatic fever if untreated can also damage the valves of the heart. Females are more likely to be affected by Rheumatic fever than males. Also, females suffer more commonly from heart complaints, where as males suffer from joint disorders and chronic leg pain.
Fifth disease, also called as Erythema infectiosum, is another cause of chronic leg pain and fever in kids especially between the ages of 5 and 15. Fifth disease which is also referred to as “slapped cheek” is caused by human virus parvovirus B19. Fifth disease begins with low grade fever, headache, and mild cold like symptoms and produces red rash on the face. The red rash then spreads to trunk arms and legs. In some cases, especially older adults and teens, an attack of Fifth disease may be followed by joint swelling, fever or chronic pain in legs and arms.
Any child with unexplained leg pain or arm pain should be examined by physician particularly if the painful leg is swollen or red and is accompanied by fever. If you are on medication that may be causing leg pain, do not stop or alter the medications without consulting the physician. Your physician or health care provider will perform a physical examination, with careful attention to your legs, feet, thighs, hips, back, knees and ankle.
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