Numerous conditions can cause sharp pain in the left leg. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, leg pain can be dull, aching, shock-like, cramp-like or burning. Sharp leg pain can manifest anywhere from the hips to the ankles, and it may be caused by direct trauma to leg structures, certain medical conditions of the lower extremity or pain that originates from the lower back. In some cases, sharp leg pain can impair the ability to perform activities of daily living.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
A significant amount of force is required to fracture the femur, which usually means that a person with a fractured femur will have several other co-existing injuries. One of the most common causes of a fractured femur is a motor vehicle accident. Another common cause is a fall from a great height. Common signs and symptoms associated with a fractured femur include sharp, severe pain in the thigh, an inability to move the affected-side leg, an observable deformity at the fracture site and swelling. In some cases, a fractured femur may pierce the thigh's skin. A fractured femur is extremely dangerous, as it may cause extensive loss of blood.
- A significant amount of force is required to fracture the femur, which usually means that a person with a fractured femur will have several other co-existing injuries.
Causes of Pain in the Upper Left Hip
MayoClinic.com states that shin splints are a condition in which sharp pain is felt along the tibia or shin bone 2. The tibia is the larger of the two long bones in the lower leg. Shin splints, also called medial tibial stress syndrome, are caused by excessive force on the tibia and the connective tissues that bind the lower leg muscles to the shin bones 2. Shin splints are one of the most common running-related injuries, and are often experienced by soccer players, joggers and runners following an increase in training volume or when re-initiating activity after a sedentary period 2. Common signs and symptoms associated with shin splints include pain along the shin bone, and pain when running or when stretching the injured tissues 2. According to MayoClinic.com, shin splints usually respond well to conservative care methods such as rest, ice and wearing proper footwear 2.
According to MedlinePlus, sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve -- the largest nerve in the body -- becomes compressed 3. Sciatica is a symptom of other medical conditions, such as a lumbar or lower back disc herniation, degenerative joint disease, and spinal tumor or infection. In some cases, tight gluteal muscles can compress the sciatic nerve as it courses through the pelvic region on its way to the leg and calf. MedlinePlus states that a full recovery is possible if the cause of sciatica can be determined and treated 3.
Causes of Pain in the Upper Left Hip
What Are the Causes of a Throbbing Pain in the Thigh Area?
What Are the Causes of Leg Pain & Waist Pain?
Causes of Sharp Left Arm Pain
What Are the Causes of Pain in the Pelvic Bone?
What Are the Causes of Pain in the Back of the Arm?
Leg Pain Above the Knee
Causes of Pain on the Right Side of the Neck Down to the Shoulder
Causes of Hip & Pelvic Pain
Exercising with a Tibia Fracture
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Thighbone (Femur) Fracture
- Mayo Clinic: Shin Splints
- MedlinePlus: Sciatica
- McClure CJ, Oh R. Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. [Updated 2019 Apr 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-.
- Winters M. The diagnosis and management of medial tibial stress syndrome : An evidence update. Diagnostik und Therapie des Schienbeinkantensyndroms : Update zur Studienlage. Unfallchirurg. 2020;123(Suppl 1):15‐19. doi:10.1007/s00113-019-0667-z
- Galbraith RM, Lavallee ME. Medial tibial stress syndrome: conservative treatment options. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2009;2(3):127‐133. Published 2009 Oct 7. doi:10.1007/s12178-009-9055-6
- Franklyn M, Oakes B. Aetiology and mechanisms of injury in medial tibial stress syndrome: Current and future developments. World J Orthop. 2015;6(8):577‐589. Published 2015 Sep 18. doi:10.5312/wjo.v6.i8.577
- Franklyn M, Oakes B. Aetiology and mechanisms of injury in medial tibial stress syndrome: Current and future developments. World J Orthop. 2015 Sep 18;6(8):577-89. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v6.i8.577
- Bonasia DE, Rosso F, Cottino U, Rossi R. Exercise-induced leg pain. Asia Pac J Sports Med Arthrosc Rehabil Technol. 2015;2(3):73‐84. Published 2015 May 2. doi:10.1016/j.asmart.2015.03.003
- Arnold MJ, Moody AL. Common Running Injuries: Evaluation and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2018 Apr 15;97(8):510-16.
- Rankin A. An Evidence-Based Case Study of Unilateral Shin Splints: Do Red Flags Function in Paediatric Osteosarcoma? Physiother Can. 2015 Fall;67(4):365-68. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2014-79
- Winters M, Eskes M, Weir A, Moen MH, Backx FJ, Bakker EW. Treatment of medial tibial stress syndrome: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2013;43(12):1315‐1333. doi:10.1007/s40279-013-0087-0
- Craig DI. Medial tibial stress syndrome: evidence-based prevention. J Athl Train. 2008;43(3):316‐318. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-43.3.316
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.