Leg pain: causes, symptoms and when to see a specialist

Written by: Mr Shahid Punwar
Edited by: Conor Lynch

A large portion of us have surely experienced some form of leg pain at some stage in our lives, but do we know the causes and when to see an orthopaedic specialist about it?


In our latest article, highly esteemed London-based orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Shahid Punwar, explains what exactly causes leg pain, as well as outlining the various different treatment options for leg pain.

What is orthopaedic leg pain?

Leg pain has many causes and it can either be sudden following an accident or can indeed come on over timeOrthopaedic leg pain should be differentiated from vascular leg pain, which occurs due to blockages in arteries and causes pain when walking.


What causes leg pain?

Upper and lower leg pain can come from the spine, hip and/or knee, which can present itself in the form of soft tissue pain or joint pain. Different age groups and sporting activities also greatly affect the different causes of pain.


Sudden causes of leg pain can be a slipped disc pushing on a nerve root, whereas more gradual pain can typically be as a result of wear and tear arthritis. Hip arthritis is the most common condition I see and this can indeed radiate to the knee. Knee injuries, most typically caused by sporting injuries, can also cause leg pain.


What are the symptoms of orthopaedic leg pain?

There are many symptoms of orthopaedic leg pain. The main ones include the following:


  • swelling
  • stiffness
  • clicking
  • hip pain
  • difficulty putting on shoes and socks
  • knee giving way
  • knee locking and/or clicking


When should I go to see a specialist about my leg pain?

A patient should see a specialist about their leg pain if they feel as though they are not getting back to normal after a reasonable period of rest and if their mobility is restricted. A specialist should also be seen if the patient is constantly waking up at night due to pain and/or if they are unable to walk or engage in normal activities of daily living.


Specialist medical attention should also be sought by a patient if they are suffering from pain that is severe or associated with any tingling and/or weakness, or if they notice that a lump has formed.


How is orthopaedic leg pain treated?

Firstly, the patients’ detailed history will be thoroughly examined. The doctor will then find out when the pain first started, if the patient ever experienced similar pain before and whether or not they engage in regular sporting activities. The doctor will then look for alignment issues through the use of X-rays and/or an MRI scan.


Other treatment options for orthopaedic leg pain include the following:



 Mr Shahid Punwar is an extremely reputable consultant orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in leg pain. If you are currently suffering from leg pain, make sure you visit his Top Doctors profile to book a consultation with him.  

By Mr Shahid Punwar
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Shah Punwar is a leading consultant orthopaedic surgeon in London who is an expert in hip and knee replacement, partial knee replacements, sports knee injuries, ACL reconstruction and meniscal surgery.

Mr Punwar graduated from the Imperial College School of Medicine London in 2001 and completed his specialist orthopaedic training in Bristol. He received his fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons in 2012.

He specialises in both joint replacements and sports surgery as well as general orthopaedic trauma. After basic surgical training in Kent and London, Mr Punwar completed his specialist orthopaedic training on the prestigious Bristol rotation. In 2013 he undertook a year of complex hip & knee arthroplasty and sports injury training in Perth, Western Australia.

As well as a Diploma in Sports Medicine, Mr Punwar has a postgraduate certificate in medical education and publishes his research work in peer-reviewed journals.

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

This website uses its own and third-party cookies to collect information in order to improve our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences, as well as to analyse your browsing habits..