Right Leg Pain from Hip to Ankle

Leg pain from hip to ankle can be caused by many different conditions. It may be as simple as sitting for long periods of time, injury, or a chronic condition. The right leg, hip, and ankle are all connected by a network of joints, bones, tendons, and muscles that are all prone to stress and injury.

You have nerves that are in control of the joints and muscles starting in the spine that run all the way down to your ankle. Any injuries or conditions in these areas can irritate these nerves and cause something called "referred pain" meaning you could have a lower back injury that sends a line of pain all the way down your leg.

Causes of Right Leg Pain from Hip to Ankle

1. Poor Posture

Pain that runs down your right leg from hip to ankle may be caused by poor posture. If your spine and legs are not aligned properly, it can put pressure on the lower extremities. This can be due to poor habits in sitting, standing, or sleeping.

Remedies to Help:

  • Keep your head straight up.
  • Change positions often.
  • Move around frequently/take breaks.
  • Sleep on your side.
  • Exercise to strengthen back and shoulders.

2. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can break down the cartilage in the hip joint causing the hip bones to rub together. This can cut off blood supply or pinch nerves that run down the leg and cause radiating pain. You may also experience stiff muscles, pain, and swelling in the hip, knees, and even the ankle.

Remedies to Help:

  • Warm Epsom salt soaks
  • Leg stretches
  • Warm compresses
  • Losing excess weight
  • Core strengthening exercises 

3. Sciatic Nerve Pain

Sciatic nerve pain is caused by a lower back nerve being pinched or irritated. The pain can run all the way down your leg into your ankle and foot. It is a sharp shooting pain that hurts when you move and/or change positions.

Remedies to Help:

  • Warm compresses
  • Leg and back stretches
  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Acupuncture
  • Ice packs
  • Massage
  • Muscle rub (menthol, capsaicin, arnica gel) 

4. Bursitis 

Bursitis in the hip area can cause the join cushion or bursa to become inflamed. The hip can become very sore with any movement or weight and lead to added stress on the knee and ankle joints. Bursitis may cause right leg pain from hip to ankle if your hip joint becomes very inflamed and swollen. 

Remedies to Help:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Rest and avoid movement
  • Alternate ice and heat 20 minutes each 

5. Leg Cramps "Charley Horse"

If your muscles go into a sudden spasm all the way down your leg, you may be having a "charley horse" or leg cramps. These are often caused by low electrolyte levels. Low levels of calcium, magnesium, and potassium can all cause very severe leg cramping. Low fluids and dehydration can also cause cramping.

Remedies to Help:

  • Try a glass of orange juice for potassium (works quickly)
  • Follow that by a glass of milk for calcium
  • Get up and walk around to work the cramps out
  • Increase your fluids 

6. Lower Back Injury

Have you ever heard someone say, "I threw my back out?" When this happens you can throw out your back, your hip, your knee and ankle all at the same time. The nerves in your back operate the nerves that lead all the way down to your foot and a back injury can affect your lower extremities. A lower back injury may cause right leg pain from hip to ankle if you have a pinched nerve. 

Remedies to Help:

  • For minor back injuries, rest as much as you can the first few days.
  • Ice the area for 20 minutes at a time while awake.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications.
  • See a chiropractor.
  • Add plenty of omega-3 foods to your diet (salmon, flaxseed, walnuts).

7. Pregnancy

Pregnancy adds weight to your body and can put pressure on your lower joints. Later in pregnancy, the baby may switch to a position that puts pressure on the nerves that control your hips and legs. The baby may even come to a rest right up against your sciatic nerve, which can cause pain in your right leg from hip to ankle.

Remedies to Help:

  • Try pelvic rocks, this helps take the weight of the baby off your lower back (Get down on all four hands and knees and gently rock the pelvis up and down).
  • Watch your salt intake. Retaining fluids can cause leg and foot swelling, plus excess weight that stresses your joints.
  • Take warm showers, not hot. Do not use a jacuzzi during pregnancy.
  • Avoid high heels in pregnancy.
  • Use acetaminophen for pain. Do not use anti-inflammatories during pregnancy. They can cause bleeding and birth defects. 

8. Hip Fracture

A hip fracture may cause your leg to turn outward with the knee and ankle rotating out due to the bands that hold the hip together being torn. This unnatural position may cause pain that radiates from the hip down to the knee and ankle.

Remedies to Help:

**Use only if you have been evaluated and treated**

  • Rest until your doctor gives you the okay for activity.
  • Ice for 20 minutes every hour.
  • Do not bend the hip more than 90 degrees.
  • Do gentle stretches.
  • Improve the safety of your home to prevent falls.

9. Bone Infection

While they are rare, a bone infection in the hip and long bone of the leg can cause right leg pain from hip to ankle. Other symptoms include fever, unable to bear weight on the leg, swelling and redness to the leg or even the foot and ankle.

Remedies to Help:

**This condition requires medical treatment**

  • Take antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Use anti-inflammatories and/or pain relievers for fever and pain.
  • Ice the affected area 20 minutes every hour.
  • Rest and stay off the leg.
  • Do ankle circles to promote circulation.

Signs You Should Seek Medical Help

If you do have a fall or other injury that has visible displacement of the hip, leg or foot you should get medical help right away. Other warning signs include:

  • Redness or heat in the calf or leg area (could signal a blood clot)
  • Swelling and discoloration of the foot
  • Unable to bear weight on the leg
  • Fever and pain in the bones of the hip, leg or foot (bone infection)
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