QUESTION & ANSWER
Q: What causes a burning sensation in legs when lying down?

A:

Burning legs can result from a number of causes, including damage to nerves in the legs from exposure to extreme heat or cold or to toxic substances. Burning sensation in legs might also result from a circulation problem that impairs blood flow to the legs, a leg injury, or intense exercise.

Other possible causes of burning legs:

  • Meralgia paresthetica, which is pain in the outer thigh due to nerve compression
  • Chronic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or diabetic neuropathy
  • Peripheral artery disease, which is a narrowing or blockage of arteries which limits blood flow to extremities.
  • Peripheral neuropathy caused by damage to the peripheral nerves that relay signals between the body and the brain and spinal cord

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  1. Peripheral neuropathy. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000593.htm.
  2. NINDS paresthesia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/paresthesia/paresthesia.htm.
  3. Peripheral neuropathy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm.
  4. Burning thigh pain (meralgia paresthetica). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00340.
  5. Tierney LM Jr., Saint S, Whooley MA (Eds.) Current Essentials of Medicine (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.
  6. Collins RD. Differential Diagnosis in Primary Care, 5th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Williams, 2012.
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