What Causes Tired Legs and What to Do About It
Keep reading to learn about the potential causes of tired legs and ways to regain your energy.
There are several conditions that can cause tired legs.
The muscles in your legs are responsible for carrying the weight of your upper body. Occasionally, they may feel tired simply from a busy day of walking and standing for a long time.
Tired legs are also a common occurrence after a rigorous workout. Heavy exercise can lead to muscle fatigue. Researchers note that not allowing your muscles to rest can lead to:
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- overtraining syndrome
- serious conditions, such as endocrine disorders or immunity dysfunction
If your legs do not receive enough blood flow, you may feel a heavy or tired sensation, along with muscle cramps or throbbing.
Possible causes of insufficient circulation include:
- varicose veins
- peripheral artery disease
- chronic venous insufficiency
- lack of movement
- tight-fitting pants
If your legs feel tired daily, it could be mean that you have obesity. Research indicates that even though people with obesity have stronger antigravity muscles, their legs appear weaker when you compare their maximum muscular strength to their body mass.
Pregnancy can increase general fatigue. In addition, if you are pregnant, you carry your own weight and your baby’s. The extra weight of your baby can put pressure on the veins in your legs, which impacts circulation. Some people develop varicose veins, which can make their legs feel tired.
Hormonal changes and fluid buildup during pregnancy can also impact your legs.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is another possible cause of tired legs. This condition causes nerve damage in the regions of your spinal cord and brain that stimulate the muscles, which can lead to weakness.
Additionally, people with MS tend to move less due to symptoms, such as pain and difficulty with balance. This can lead to the deconditioning of the leg muscles from lack of use.
Low potassium levels
Spinal stenosis, a condition that involves the spinal canal narrowing, can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. When this occurs in the lower back area, the condition can cause your legs to feel weak or tired.
The treatments for tired legs depend on the cause.
|overuse||resting for a few days|
applying ice if any swelling or inflammation accompanies the weakness
|insufficient circulation||increasing your daily movement|
switching to loose-fitting clothing
elevating your legs at night
getting varicose vein surgery
wearing compression socks
taking cholesterol medication
|obesity||maintaining a moderate weight|
engaging in exercises that support your knee joints
|pregnancy||sleeping on your left side to relieve pressure on your vein that supplies your legs with blood flow|
resting and elevating your feet
engaging in low impact exercises, such as walking and swimming
|MS||attending physical therapy to strengthen leg muscles|
using an assistive device to walk to prevent muscle deconditioning
|hypokalemia||taking prescription-strength oral or intravenous potassium|
|spinal stenosis||stabilizing the spine through physical therapy|
taking over-the-counter or prescription medications to relieve pain and inflammation
undergoing surgery to restore spinal alignment and relieve pressure on the nerves and spinal cord
The outlook for people with tired legs depends on the cause. Overuse is a common cause with the most positive outlook, since relief usually just requires rest.
Other causes can be life threatening, such as hypokalemia. There is currently no cure for MS, but treatment may delay the progression.
Following your doctor’s treatment plan is the best way to address tired legs.
Some causes of tired legs are preventable. Maintaining an active lifestyle with low impact exercises and having set rest periods can help you prevent leg fatigue from overuse. Staying active can also help you maintain a moderate weight and improve the circulation to your legs
Getting periodic massages, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and dry brushing may also prevent circulation issues. Some people may benefit from sleeping with their feet elevated.
If you have hypokalemia, your doctor may recommend certain vitamins for your tired legs. Following a low salt diet that includes plenty of potassium, magnesium, and chloride is also beneficial for preventing a future hypokalemia episode.
Contact a doctor for an appointment if you are dealing with consistently or heavily tired legs or if any swelling or leg cramps accompany the fatigue. Also, notify your doctor if you are pregnant and experience tired legs.
Here are a few other common questions about tired legs. Angela M. Bell, MD, FACP, reviewed the answers.
What are tired legs a symptom of?
Tired legs can be a symptom of various conditions. It may be something as simple as overuse, with rest being the best way to resolve it.
Other people may experience tired legs as a result of an underlying condition, such as peripheral artery disease or MS. If you have tired legs that do not get better with rest, contact your doctor for a diagnosis.
What is the cure for tired legs?
The cure for tired legs depends on the cause. If you experience tired legs after a heavy workout, be sure to set aside time to rest before working out again. If you have an underlying condition, your doctor may need to prescribe treatment to resolve your symptoms.
What deficiency causes tired legs?
A severe potassium deficiency, or hypokalemia, can cause tired legs. Treatment consists of replenishing potassium in the body and addressing the condition causing the deficit.
Everyone experiences tired legs at some point in their lives. However, if your legs feel consistently tired, it is a good idea not to ignore it. Leg fatigue can be a symptom of a serious health condition.
Talking with your doctor about leg cramps or feelings of heaviness or weakness in your legs is the first step toward regaining their strength and energy.