Pain in your leg after pregnancy could result from a couple possibilities. Most importantly, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) needs to be ruled out. Signs and symptoms of a DVT can include:
- Leg pain
- Swelling in one calf, ankle, foot, or thigh
- Redness or warmth in a part of your leg
If you think you might have a DVT, please consult your physician as this can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
If you have leg pain and have ruled out the possibility of a DVT you may be suffering from peripheral symptoms resulting from inflamed nerves in your lower back. Hormonal changes which occur during and after pregnancy increase the joint laxity of the joints surrounding the pelvis and low back often cause inflammation in the nerves of the low back. The pain in your leg(s) can be constant or intermittent and can result in sensations of stabbing, sharp/dull, tingling, and/or aching.
Physical Therapy is an effective course of treatment for post-pregnancy leg pain. Treatment for unilateral or bilateral leg pain often focuses on the lower back as this is often the root of the problem. The first goal during treatment is to decrease any inflammation surrounding the nerve roots in the low back. Typical treatment for inflammation is to use anti-inflammatory medication, although, for nursing moms this may not be an option depending on doctor recommendation. Other options to reduce inflammation in the low back include cryotherapy. Once inflammation is controlled, treatment would focus on reducing muscular tension and poor postural habits that may contribute to increased pain through stretching and retraining of posture and positioning. Finally, the long term goal is to retrain the musculature surrounding the spine and hips to better support weight and support the low back through increase tone and bulk.