Numerous conditions can cause sharp pain in the left leg. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, leg pain can be dull, aching, shock-like, cramp-like or burning. Sharp leg pain can manifest anywhere from the hips to the ankles, and it may be caused by direct trauma to leg structures, certain medical conditions of the lower extremity or pain that originates from the lower back. In some cases, sharp leg pain can impair the ability to perform activities of daily living.
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According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, or AAOS, the femur, also known as the thigh bone, is the longest and strongest bone in the body. A significant amount of force is required to fracture the femur, which usually means that a person with a fractured femur will have several other co-existing injuries. One of the most common causes of a fractured femur is a motor vehicle accident. Another common cause is a fall from a great height. Common signs and symptoms associated with a fractured femur include sharp, severe pain in the thigh, an inability to move the affected-side leg, an observable deformity at the fracture site and swelling. In some cases, a fractured femur may pierce the thigh's skin. A fractured femur is extremely dangerous, as it may cause extensive loss of blood.
MayoClinic.com states that shin splints are a condition in which sharp pain is felt along the tibia or shin bone. The tibia is the larger of the two long bones in the lower leg. Shin splints, also called medial tibial stress syndrome, are caused by excessive force on the tibia and the connective tissues that bind the lower leg muscles to the shin bones. Shin splints are one of the most common running-related injuries, and are often experienced by soccer players, joggers and runners following an increase in training volume or when re-initiating activity after a sedentary period. Common signs and symptoms associated with shin splints include pain along the shin bone, and pain when running or when stretching the injured tissues. According to MayoClinic.com, shin splints usually respond well to conservative care methods such as rest, ice and wearing proper footwear.
According to MedlinePlus, sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve -- the largest nerve in the body -- becomes compressed. Sciatica is a symptom of other medical conditions, such as a lumbar or lower back disc herniation, degenerative joint disease, and spinal tumor or infection. In some cases, tight gluteal muscles can compress the sciatic nerve as it courses through the pelvic region on its way to the leg and calf. Common signs and symptoms associated with sciatica include sharp, shock-like pain down the back of the leg and into the calf or foot, numbness and tingling in the involved area, the sensation of lower extremity weakness on one side of the body, and pain that's worse when standing, sitting, sneezing, coughing or laughing. MedlinePlus states that a full recovery is possible if the cause of sciatica can be determined and treated.