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  • Writer's pictureJulie Manley

Why do your legs ache after long walks?

In honour of my aching legs post-Disney vacation:

Why do your legs ache after long walks?

Walking is a fantastic aerobic exercise that can help you gain endurance, strength and generally improve your health. As with any exercise, you might feel your legs ache or get tired when you go for a long walk (or any duration walk if you aren’t used to it).

What you want to figure out is, is the aching just because you walked too much, too soon, or is it a symptom of a medical condition?

During any physical activity, you run the risk of tiring your muscles out and overexerting yourself. If you walk long distances, walk on steep inclines, wear unsupportive shoes or walk on hard surfaces, you can overwork you legs and cause muscle fatigue.

Certain medical conditions can lead to aching legs such as arthritis, blood clots, nerve damage and varicose veins. Some medications can cause leg pain, such as cholesterol medications and diuretics. Also, there are several injuries that can cause aching legs such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints and muscle strains and sprains.

Some things you can do to manage your aching legs:

  • Resting with your legs elevated. Use pillows to prop up your legs and help with the blood flow back to the heart.

  • Avoid standing and walking for the remainder of the day, if possible.

  • Place ice on your leg muscles to help with pain relief

  • If there is no redness or swelling present, you can soak your legs in a warm bath or hot tub.

  • Use compression bandages to reduce pain and improve blood flow as well.

The aching should steadily subside over the next few days. If it doesn’t, come in for a visit and we can assess if you have an injury. We can also look at your gait pattern and footwear and give suggestions. A massage can also help that leg pain clear up pretty quickly!

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