What causes aching, heavy legs?

heavy legs

It’s natural and expected to have heavy legs after an exercise. Legs that feel heavy, stiff, and fatigued for no obvious cause, on the other hand, might be an indication of a vein condition.

It will be easier to discover the right remedy if you can figure out what’s causing the problem. There may also be some effective home cures for symptom alleviation.

The severity of the causes varies, and doctors will want to conduct a complete diagnosis to ensure that the symptoms are being treated effectively. In this post, we’ll look at a variety of these potential causes, as well as treatment choices.

When should you see a doctor?

heavy legs
If your legs feel heavy or achy, it might be due to an underlying condition like varicose veins.

It’s natural to occasionally feel as if your legs are too heavy, and it’s nothing to be concerned about. If the sensation persists or is accompanied by additional symptoms such as discomfort or swelling, it’s time to consult a doctor for a diagnosis.

The doctor will inquire about particular symptoms and medical history before doing tests to determine the reason and treatment options.


People may experience various symptoms in their legs in addition to the feeling of heavy legs. These signs and symptoms should be reported to a doctor since they may aid in diagnosis and treatment.

The following are examples of common symptoms:

  • difficulty walking or standing as the day goes on
  • swelling
  • spider veins
  • discoloration in the area, such as the leg turning pale or blue
  • dullness or numbness in the leg
  • throbbing pain in one or both legs
  • feeling coldness or tingling in the legs


Legs that are heavy might indicate a variety of medical illnesses or ailments.


It’s typical to feel a little fatigued in the legs for a few days following a really strenuous workout. Athletes who train themselves to go over their limitations on a regular basis, on the other hand, run the risk of overtraining their muscles.

Muscles that have been overworked do not have time to recover before being used again. Muscles that are slow, weak, or heavy are frequently the outcome. Athletes who have been exerting themselves too hard, such as cyclists and runners, may complain of heavy legs.

Nervousness and restless leg syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is characterized by an uncontrolled jittery, trembling, or numb sensation in the legs.

It’s frequently as simple as shifting them for a temporary fix. It’s possible that the legs will feel heavy until they move.

To ease the discomfort, many people shake their legs or tap their feet, which is how the syndrome gets its name.

Chronic venous insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency can also cause heavy legs (CVI).

Gravity forces the heart to work harder in order to return blood from the feet and legs to the heart. A system of one-way valves in the feet and legs prevent blood from flowing back down.

CVI causes the veins and valves in a person’s legs to weaken, resulting in fatigued, heavy legs, edema, and spider veins.

People who stand for extended periods of time are more likely to develop CVI, as standing puts a lot of strain on the veins in the lower legs and feet.

CVI is influenced by a number of risk factors, including:

  • poor nutrition
  • lack of exercise
  • pregnancy
  • aging
  • extra weight
  • sedentary lifestyle

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are veins that are more visible, bigger, and knotty than the veins around them.

Blood begins to pool in the legs when blood circulation deteriorates owing to factors such as gravity and the loss of flexibility in the veins.

Varicose veins can develop due to a variety of factors, including:

  • people whose occupations require them to stand or sit
  • lack of physical activity in general
  • obesity
  • aging
  • hormonal imbalances, such as those during perimenopause and pregnancy

Varicose veins can cause problems, including blood clots, which cause swelling and discomfort. They may also have an impact on skin lesions that are difficult to cure.

Peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a kind of cardiovascular disease in which the veins and arteries are affected. When fat builds up in the walls of the arteries, it makes it harder for blood to move through, symptoms arise.

PAD is frequent in the legs, where it can partially shut off circulation, making the feet and legs pain, feel heavy, or cramp.

High blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes are all risk factors for PAD.

Obesity and heavy legs

Being overweight or obese may contribute to a variety of different illnesses that result in heavy legs, but heavy legs may also be a problem unrelated to the additional weight.

Extra weight can place additional strain on the leg’s joints, muscles, and tendons, especially if the individual stands for lengthy amounts of time during the day.

An overweight individual who leads a sedentary lifestyle may suffer from circulatory difficulties, which can exacerbate leg heaviness.

Obesity is linked to a number of different conditions that result in swollen legs. Losing weight can assist to alleviate symptoms and improve overall health.

Heavy legs during pregnancy

Legs that are heavy are frequent throughout pregnancy. This might be due to a combination of the additional weight carried by the legs and the hormonal changes a woman experiences when pregnant. Changing hormone levels can cause water retention as well as a reduction in vein flexibility.

Symptoms may be relieved by home treatments. These symptoms will, for the most part, go away after pregnancy.

Pregnant women, for example, should pay particular attention to heavy legs because:

  • have a family history of venous issues
  • work strenuously while pregnant
  • are overweight
  • lead a sedentary lifestyle

Home remedies

Elevating the legs and staying active
Heavy legs can be treated by elevating the legs and remaining active.

Before a treatment plan is in place, several daily routines and home cures may help manage symptoms.

Lose weight

A majority of the conditions that cause heavy legs are linked to being overweight or obese. Losing weight can help to lessen the severity of these symptoms.

Stay active

A higher amount of regular exercise may assist with a variety of risk factors. Mild-to-moderate activity, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, can help maintain the blood flowing and improve other risk factors like as weight and blood pressure.

Be reasonable with exercise

While exercise is beneficial to both the body and the mind, too much of it may be harmful. To avoid overexertion, people should take rest days and pauses from rigorous exercise as needed.

Elevate the legs

The body does not have to work as hard to pump blood and other fluids out of the legs when the legs are raised.

Elevating the feet and legs to slightly above heart level using a reclining chair or stool may assist to refresh the blood in the legs and ease some of the strain that the legs experience throughout the day.

Switch the position

Avoid sitting or standing in the same posture for lengthy periods of time, since this might exacerbate symptoms. Changing your body posture might assist improve blood circulation.

Wear compression socks

Compression socks or stockings that are too tight may help to improve blood flow in the legs. This might be especially beneficial for people who have to sit or stand for lengthy amounts of time at work.

Reduce your sodium consumption

In people with heavy and swollen legs, reducing salt consumption may help to alleviate the symptoms and pain produced by edema. Some doctors may advise people to limit their water intake, however this is typically dependent on the drugs they are taking.

Give up smoking

Smoking may wreak havoc on the body’s circulation, causing symptoms like heavy legs. Some symptoms may be reduced or prevented by reducing or discontinuing the habit.

Avoid hot baths

Heat can dilate the veins, making blood flow through the legs more difficult. While bathing the foot may aid in certain circumstances, it may aggravate the people in others.


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