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Warm sensation in the leg. No injury. What are the reasons?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
I get this warm sensation in the upper part of my left leg. It usually occurs and then stops after a few seconds or so. This has been happening for about a week or two. Sounds strange, and I haven't had any recent injuries. I know there is a sac in the knee area that a neighbor of mine injured and she said she had this happen, but mine is not right at the knee.
Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 4 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
What you are experiencing is a type of paresthesia i.e disorder of sensation causing warm or burning sensation in a localised area of the leg.Though it can be an absolutely harmless condition due to some minor nerve compression or neuropathy there is a wide range of diseases causing it which if suspected need to be ruled out.
A number of diseases can cause burning legs including:
1.Sciatica (nerve compression causing pain and parasthesias in lower limbs
2.Meralgia paresthetica (pain in outer thigh due to nerve compression)
3.Peripheral artery disease (PAD, also called peripheral vascular disease( PVD), which is a narrowing or blockage of arteries which limits blood flow to the extremities)
4Spinal stenosis, disc disease, or other conditions of the spine
5.Rheumatoid arthritis
6.Vitamin deficiencies esp vitamin b 12 deficiency causing neuropathy.
Since you seem to have no associated symptoms and have not mentioned of any past illness or current medications the following can be the possible causes in your case
1.A neuropathy due to either vitamin b deficiency or spinal cord nerves compression in lowerback.
2.A peripheral vascular disorder
3.A local nerve or vessel being intermittently compressed due to surrounding soft tissues or bone (age related and trauma related cause) .
The most probable cause can be narrowed down by a thorough physical examination by your doctor.
For confirmation of diagnosis an MRI of spine and leg would be beneficial.
If you have history of vascular problems (hypertension, atherosclerosis etc) and suggestive findings on examination then your doctor might order a doppler ultrasound to rule out vascular insufficiency.
Please do not panic as I said it doesn't necessarily mean you have to have any of those.It just
means that if your problem persists for more than a month or you develop any new symptoms
like tingling numbness, backache, calf pain etc then you you need to rule out these serious causes.
As of now if you have no associated symptoms you may wait for it to subside with appropriate
measures like taking multivitamin supplements, appropriate physical exercise to improve circulation to the limbs, avoiding prolonged sitting or standing and maintaining adequate hydration.
Alternatively you may get atleast a basic investigation like xray of lumbosacral spine and knee joint to rule out any gross bony problem causing nerve compression.
The further management can then be done accordingly.
Hope I have answered your query.
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