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Why can't I put weight on my leg without pain? Here are 5 possible explanations

Why can't I put weight on my leg without pain? Here are 5 possible explanations
3 minutes, 23 seconds

If you can’t put weight on your leg without severe pain, something’s likely wrong in your knee. In this article, we’ll describe a few possible culprits for your leg pain, and we’ll explain what you may want to do next. Important note: If you can’t stand at all right now and you don’t know why, you should call for help immediately. However, if you can stand to feel pain when you put weight on your leg, you may find this article helpful. Now, keep reading for a few possible explanations for your knee pain:

1. ACL tear

Your anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, stabilizes your knee by holding your shinbone and thighbone together. A tear in your ACL leaves those bones vulnerable to movement, which can cause significant pain in your leg. If you injure your ACL, you are likely to feel pain in your knee whenever you put weight on it. Considering that the ACL is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee, there’s a good chance if you experience knee pain that this is the culprit.

2. Bone fracture

There are three bones in your knee — the femur, tibia and patella — and all of them are susceptible to fractures. Bones bleed when you fracture them, and the body sends increased blood flow to the broken area to fight infection. All of this excess fluid can make your knee feel warm and painful, especially when you put the weight of your body on it. 

3. Meniscus tears

The meniscus is a rubbery piece of cartilage that sits between your shinbone and thighbone, absorbing shock as you walk around and go about your day. It can tear if you twist your knee, leaving the bones around it with nothing between them for cushion. This can be a painful injury that worsens when you stand or bend your knee.

4. Tendinitis

Tendinitis occurs when one of your tendons — the soft tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone — becomes inflamed due to small tears. Patellar tendinitis occurs when the tendons that hold the muscle and bone together are torn. The body sends blood flow to the knee to fight infection, which creates swelling and soreness in the leg. This condition can make it painful to put weight on your knee.

5. Knee bursitis

Bursitis occurs when the small sacs that cushion your joints (called “bursae”) become swollen and inflamed. As a result, they can push the bones around them out of place, causing bones and muscles to grind up against each other in ways that may be painful. At least 1 out of every 10,000 people develops bursitis in the knees or elbows each year. It’s most commonly caused by overuse but can also stem from an infection around the knee joints.

Can physical therapy help me stand without knee pain?

You should consult a doctor if you are entirely unable to stand. If you are experiencing weakness in your leg and are unable to put weight on it without pain, physical therapy may be able to help. Here’s how:

  • Strength training — Your physical therapist will coach you through exercises to help you regain strength in your leg. This will restore your knee’s ability to support your body so that you don’t feel as much pain when you put weight on it.
  • Manual therapy — Your physical therapist will physically manipulate your joints and soft tissue with their hands to relieve tension and drain fluid away from the area that’s causing you pain.
  • Ice therapy — It’s no secret that ice is a valuable tool for treating injuries. Your specialist will apply ice and heat in targeted intervals to strategically drain excess fluid away from the site of your injury and reduce swelling in your leg.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for leg pain

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you restore strength in your leg so you can put weight on it without pain. Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.  Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.

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