zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Causes of Fever & Pain in the Leg

by
author image Dr. Tina M. St. John
Tina M. St. John runs a health communications and consulting firm. She is also an author and editor, and was formerly a senior medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. St. John holds an M.D. from Emory University School of Medicine.
Causes of Fever & Pain in the Leg
A doctor is examining a patient's knee. Photo Credit KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

The simultaneous occurrence of fever and leg pain often points to the presence of an infectious or autoimmune disorder. Infections of the leg skin, joints or bones frequently cause the abrupt onset of fever and pain. Gradually evolving pain with intermittent fevers provokes suspicion for a chronic condition. Accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause of fever and leg pain, along with prompt treatment, minimizes the probability of possible complications.

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the deep skin layers. Streptococcal and staphylococcal bacteria most commonly cause cellulitis. Although cellulitis can occur anywhere, the legs remain the most frequent site of infection. Symptoms include tenderness, swelling, skin redness, fever and chills. Factors that increase susceptibility to the development of cellulitis include diabetes, obesity, alcoholism, a preexisting wound, poor circulation, a weakened immune system and advancing age. Prompt antibiotic therapy helps prevent the spread of infection.

Septic Arthritis

Infection of the joint fluid defines septic arthritis. The immune system response to the infection causes inflammation and provokes symptoms including pain, swelling, tenderness and joint stiffness. Flu-like symptoms, chills and fever also occur in most people with septic arthritis. Most cases of septic arthritis involve a single joint, with the knee most commonly affected. The hips are another common site of septic arthritis. The disorder may occur at any age but most frequently strikes those over age 60.

You Might Also Like

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is a bacterial or fungal bone infection. The disorder can occur at any age, but mostly frequently develops in early childhood or late adulthood. The most common sites for osteomyelitis include the spine, feet and the long bones of the arms and legs. Common symptoms include bone pain, fever, chills, and swelling and warmth over the infected bone. A limp may develop with osteomyelitis affecting a leg bone. Factors that increase the risk for osteomyelitis include diabetes, sickle cell disease, a weakened immune system, injection drug use and advancing age.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by immune system attacks on the joint tissues. The inflammatory response provoked by the immune system causes progressive deterioration of joint structure and function. Rheumatoid arthritis frequently affects the knee, hip and shoulder joints in addition to the joints of the feet and hands. Typical symptoms include joint swelling, pain and stiffness. Intermittent low-grade fevers often occur with rheumatoid arthritis.

When To See a Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you develop a fever and leg pain. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice a spreading red rash, especially if accompanied by pain or swelling.

Related Searches

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

References

Demand Media