GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)– Whether it’s a sprain or something more serious like a blood clot, leg-related problems can interfere with your daily activities.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis, we spoke with an internal medicine physician about what could be causing your leg pain and when to see a doctor.

Leg problems can affect the quality of life in many ways.

Dr. Bijal Desai, an internal medicine physician, sees patients with everything from sprains and cramps to more serious conditions like deep vein thrombosis, which can be deadly if untreated.

“A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that can form, you know, in people. So, that is probably the most dangerous situation that you can see in a patient.”

Dr. Bijal Desai, Internal Medicine Physician, Bon Secours St. Francis

Sometimes someone’s leg pain can be a sign of something else going on in the body.

Dr. Desai says, “Sometimes people having cramps can be a sign of dehydration. It could be a sign of a mineral deficiency, potassium deficiency, sodium, phosphorus, or calcium. It could be a medication side effect, or it could be something underlying for example. With a case of a deep vein thrombosis and underlying malignancy, you know, inactivity and things like that.”

If you are experiencing pain in your legs, it’s important to see a doctor.

“So, the first thing I would check is medication. Sometimes medications like statins can cause cramps or, you know, body cramps, sometimes it could be dehydration if you’re not getting enough electrolytes,” said Dr. Desai.

Dr. Desai says it’s never a good idea to ignore leg pain, especially in one of these scenarios…

She says, “If you come back from a long trip or a plane ride, or you have a history of having cancer or you don’t exercise a lot or you don’t get a lot of movement, and you have sudden acute leg pain and swelling, you need to see a doctor immediately… who can diagnose and get you the right proper evaluation such as an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot, more likely immediately than not, and then they can start treatment right away.”

Dr. Desai says leg sprains and strains usually will resolve on their own. Many health experts suggest the R.I.C.E approach that you can do at home— rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

To submit a health topic for our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, click here.