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Diseases That Cause Pain in the Lower Body

author image Martin Hughes
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.
Diseases That Cause Pain in the Lower Body
Therapist working on a patient's leg Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Numerous diseases can cause lower body pain. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, lower body pain is a common symptom and health complaint, and lower body pain can be benign or signal serious underlying health conditions. The NIH states that a person with lower body pain should contact his doctor if he experiences swollen or red legs or fever or pain that gets worse with walking.

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Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome is a disease or condition that can cause lower body pain. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, or AAOS, compartment syndrome is a painful condition of the forearm or lower leg in which pressure within a person's muscles rises to dangerous levels. Excessive pressure in a person's muscles can reduce circulation, preventing her muscles and their associated nerves from getting adequate oxygen and nutrients. The AAOS states that compartments are composed of muscles, nerves and blood vessels, and that fascia--a tough membrane that keeps a person's tissues in place--covers these structures. Compartment syndrome occurs when a person experiences bleeding or swelling within a compartment, which causes increased pressure on compartment structures, unfavorably altering blood flow to nerve and muscle cells. According to the AAOS, the pain associated with compartment syndrome can be severe.


Gout is a disease that can cause pain in the lower body. The Mayo Clinic states that gout is "a complex form of arthritis characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe." The Mayo Clinic notes that gout can affect anybody, although men are more likely to experience it. Women have a greater risk of getting gout after menopause. Gout is characterized by acute bouts of lower extremity--especially big toe--joint pain that occurs in the middle of the night. During an acute gout attack, a person's toe may feel like it's on fire, and the joint will be hot, swollen and tender to the touch. Weight-bearing activities will be impaired, due to pain in the involved joint. According to the Mayo Clinic, gout typically affects the first metatarsophalangeal joint or the joint that connects the big toe to the foot, although it can also occur in a person's feet, ankles, knees, hands and wrists.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is a disease or condition that can cause lower body pain. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute--a division of the NIH--deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that manifests in one of the body's deeper veins, and deep vein blood clots typically occur in the large veins of the lower leg or thigh, although they can occur in other body parts, too. The NIH states that deep vein thrombosis can cause swelling and pain if the blood clot blocks or occludes blood flow. If the clot breaks off and travels through a person's blood, it is known as an embolism, and an embolism can lodge in the brain, lungs, heart or other area and cause significant tissue damage. According to the NIH, deep vein thrombosis is most common in people older than 60, although it can occur at any age, and prolonged periods of sitting can increase a person's risk for deep vein thrombosis.

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