What could be causing my constantly sore and tight legs?
October 22, 2013 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Fitness (I think?)-Filter: for the last couple of years, I very frequently find my legs (both thigh and calves) sore and tight enough it's distracting. I started doing yoga, and that helped tremendously. But sometimes even that is not enough, and I am more interested in knowing what could be causing the sore legs? I don't really ever go to the gym, but I bike everywhere, walk a lot, and sit on my butt all day (I am a desk job person). The soreness gets worse when I am stressed out or when I am PMSing.

I am a 29-year-old, short woman. As it is I already have stubby short legs, so it feels awful when they are sore, tight, and I suspect a little swollen.

About four years ago I had a bout of sciatica pain in my left leg, which was remedied after I bought a real bed (I was sleeping on air mattresses at that time). I think the tight leg thing started shortly after. Yoga helps, messages not really. Calves are especially bad. I only wear comfortable shoes.
posted by redwaterman to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Is it possible this is nutritional? For example, both lack of water and lack of potassium can cause this. To test that theory, you'd just need to drink more water and/or eat more bananas.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:16 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do you fidget a lot? If you're tightening your muscles because you're bouncing your legs up and down all day without realizing it, that might be another avenue to explore.
posted by telophase at 1:25 PM on October 22, 2013

It sounds like you might be describing leg edema? If so -- or even if not -- it sounds like it'd be a good idea to check in with your doctor about this; they can help you figure out what's causing it and whether it's something to be concerned about. Do you have an annual or biannual checkup coming up?
posted by pie ninja at 1:26 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was prone to a lot of random lower leg aching and swelling, a doctors visit came up with no underlying cause but a friend suggested I try a magnesium supplement and it worked great. It also helped with restless leg twitches I apparently did in my sleep but my husband never mentioned until they stopped.
posted by wwax at 1:42 PM on October 22, 2013

when I am PMSing

My menstrual cramps sort of radiate down to my legs, and I have weird leg pain when I'm PMS-ing, too.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 1:43 PM on October 22, 2013

My first guess is the same as DarlingBri: hydration or electrolytes.

My second guess is to get up and walk around your office every hour. Sitting for extended periods makes me sore.

My third guess is to try the foam roller - gently at first.

If none of that starts to fix things within about 2 weeks a trip to the doc is in order.
posted by 26.2 at 1:43 PM on October 22, 2013

Have you tried orthodic shoes or inserts?
posted by Jacqueline at 1:45 PM on October 22, 2013

Better shoes. When I go hiking and my ankles are not properly supported I have WICKED calf pain for the next few days. Then there I am, hobbling around, and people say, "What's wrong?" and then I say, "I went hiking" and then they say, "Oh wow, how far?" and I have to admit ". . . 2 miles."
posted by chainsofreedom at 1:46 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hydration thirded. And if you're sitting all day, your hip flexors are probably pretty tight, and can affect the rest of your legs (and back).
posted by Specklet at 2:19 PM on October 22, 2013

Are your legs swollen too?

This used to happen to me until I started propping my feet up on an overturned trash bin under my desk.

If I'm PMSing or they are really tight or swollen or painful I'll wear Futuro black trouser socks.

No, seriously, these socks rock. Yes, they are compression stockings and you can get them in the old lady section of any drugstore, but you'd never even know it - they just look like ordinary dress socks and wash/dry like them too.

Sometimes I'll just wear them for the heck of it if I'm feeling grumpy. Instant mood booster when my legs and feet are happy!

FWIW, I'm 33 and not an old lady.
posted by floweredfish at 2:32 PM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

You say you've done yoga - are you still doing it regularly?
posted by CathyG at 7:19 PM on October 22, 2013

the PMSing thing makes me think that your uterus is compressing the blood vessels that go into your legs a bit (internal and external iliac arteries) when it is at its largest size or contracting during your period.

if you're in canada or the UK or Australia, an osteopath might be able to help you. (osteopaths in the US are not like osteos elsewhere).
posted by andreapandrea at 7:57 PM on October 22, 2013

Sitting in one place for too long can make you sore. Take breaks to walk around.
posted by yohko at 12:26 AM on October 23, 2013

I love yoga and do it regularly (I've recently increased to 3-5 times/week, usually at least three of them either tough core classes or power vinyasa, so definitely a strength/cardio workout), but there are definitely times when my legs are way MORE tight and sore after the third day of yoga classes. (I'm not biking much right now, but it feels like when I was increasing mileage-- slightly swollen, tight muscles that I can almost *feel* the muscle cells growing as I sleep! Maybe it's the same for you?) Sometimes to the point that it's harder to sleep, or I wake up with sore legs in the middle of the night. When I do that much yoga, sometimes I feel like I'd be better off either with less, or with more-- like gentle sun salutations every morning and evening to work the kinks out. Does either a walk or a little yoga help in the moment? For me, warming up the muscles and getting them to relax a bit makes a huge difference.
posted by instamatic at 7:53 PM on October 26, 2013

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