What Might Cause a Sharp Leg Pain that Comes and Goes?

What Might Cause a Sharp Leg Pain that Comes and Goes

A sharp shooting pain in the leg that comes and goes may result from an injury, damaged nerve, and cramps. Such sudden leg pain can have several causes, most of which are connected to blood flow or an issue with an artery.

While in some cases, leg pain can be cured at home with certain lifestyle modifications, in others, medical attention is necessary. If the pain worsens with pressure, making walking or climbing the stairs difficult, immediate medical help becomes essential.

Sometimes, there are other accompanying symptoms, such as.

  • numbness
  • tingling sensation
  • muscle weakness
  • dull aching
  • cramping
  • twitching in the leg

If these pain and symptoms seem familiar, it’s time to learn about the cause, remedies, and treatment to cure them.

What Causes Sharp Shooting Pain In The Leg?

Leg pain is also called intermittent claudication in medical terms and is usually associated with restricted blood flow. However, sometimes the reason may be due to something inside or outside the artery.

1. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Peripheral artery disease

Peripheral artery disease (1) is a typical cause of intermittent leg pain. Atherosclerosis (2), or a narrowing of arteries, is the primary cause of this problem.

This condition can affect your legs or body. It can occur anywhere in the legs, including the thighs, buttocks, calves, or feet. Sores or slow-healing wounds, one leg that feels colder to the touch, or toenails that grow slower on one leg than the other can be noticed.

2. Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy

This condition can cause sharp, shooting pains down the legs due to chronic damage from diabetes.

Diabetic neuropathy (3) can induce pain in the legs and feet. If you have it, it’s essential to check your feet daily for wounds because diabetic neuropathy can impact your ability to sense when you have an injury.

3. Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is expected in 30 % of athletes with leg pain. Athletes who commit to repetitive activities such as biking, running, and swimming may induce chronic compartment syndrome. The lower legs or calf are usually the areas affected.

4. Cystic Adventitial Disease

This disease is an uncommon disorder that concerns the arteries and sometimes veins in the legs. Most of the people who have leg pain also suffer from diabetes, being overweight, or smoking.

This condition causes a cyst to build up in the leg that can push on arteries in the legs, which impacts blood flow.

5. Popliteal Artery Entrapment

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome has a ton of symptoms in common with popliteal artery entrapment (4). This makes it difficult to tell the difference between these two conditions. In the calf, it usually causes the most tremendous discomfort in the back portion of the leg.

Lifestyle Changes To Treat Leg Pain

  • Exercising at least twice weekly can lessen leg pain, enabling you to walk.
  • If you smoke, it is advised to quit. Smoking can cause differences in blood vessels and make it easier for the blood to clot, contributing to leg pain.
  • A heart-healthy diet can help you sustain your weight and blood sugar levels. This can help ease some of the risk factors that can lead to PAD.
  • Try a new activity that’s less duplicative on the legs and feet, such as taking an aerobics class or swimming.

Besides making these little lifestyle modifications, maintaining a healthy weight and caring for your body can help lessen the sharp, shooting pains whenever possible.

When To See A Doctor?

Seek an immediate medical help if you experience the following symptoms related to the leg pain:

  • Absence of pulses in the ankle or top of the foot.
  • The leg feels very cold to the touch.
  • The leg starts to seem blue or black.
  • Severe leg pain or discomfort that doesn’t get better with rest.

These symptoms may signify that you’re experiencing severely affected blood flow and need an emergency alert. If you neglect these symptoms, you could lose your toes or leg because of a deficiency of blood flow. You should consult a doctor for chronic leg pain, even if it goes away while resting.

A doctor may consider your circulation and potential underlying causes. Treating your leg pain is essential to help decrease the chance that your activity level is negatively impacted.


Sharp shooting pain in the leg pain that comes and goes can occur due to many reasons. From mild issues to underlying medical concerns, there are multiple causes for it such as cramping and injuries to more extreme fitness issues, such as neuropathy and PAD.

Other signs like muscle weakness or numbness may accompany the pain. While cramps and minor injuries manage to recover unassisted, seeing a doctor about severe or persistent pain is a good idea.

Image Source : freepik

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