Causes of Leg Pain After C-Section Delivery

Causes of Leg Pain After a C-section Delivery

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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Leg pain after undergoing a c-section can be unbearable for women. They may even struggle to do their normal day to day chores. If you have had a C-section delivery in the recent past and are experiencing leg pain, then you must know the reasons for the same. Find out what causes leg pain after c-section and what you should do.

What Causes Leg Pain After a C-Section?

Vaginal or normal delivery is the best way to give birth to a child. However, sometimes, due to certain health complications or personal choice, some women may have to undergo a caesarean delivery (c-section). C-section may lead to certain side effects, such as leg or knee pain. The possible conditions that may lead to leg pain post a c-section are mentioned below:

1. Nerve Injury

Nerve injury post a c-section can be because of the positioning of epidural. If the mother-to-be has given a trial for vaginal delivery before opting for a c-section, the lithotomy position can cause nerve injury too. Most mothers, however, can recover from the side-effects within a few days.

2. Muscle Fatigue or Fluids

Sometimes caesarean delivery is not planned, and doctors may suggest it if they foresee complications. Under such circumstances, you will have already tried different labour positions like squatting, crouching, kneeling or holding your knees for some time. Being in these labour positions for a long time may lead to muscle fatigue. Another reason for leg pain after c-section is the accumulation of intravenous fluids, which may get administered during the c-section. The most evident symptom of fluids getting accumulated in your legs is that they appear heavy and swollen. This heaviness causes pain in the legs until it subsides, which usually happens within a few days. However, in case it doesn’t subside, you must seek medical attention.

3. Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome may also cause extreme pain and discomfort after undergoing a c-section. This may occur due to swelling in your legs, which may hamper blood supply to the muscles, and cause numbness, stiffness, and pain in the legs. You are at risk of developing compartment syndrome if your doctor used some medicine to speed up your labour if you lost a lot of blood during delivery or if you suffer from low blood pressure. If the condition gets severe, surgery may be required to relieve some pressure from the leg so that normal blood flow can be maintained.

4. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

DVT or deep vein thrombosis is a condition that occurs in the deep veins of your body. The danger of this condition lurks until you get through with your postpartum period, which is until 6 to 8 weeks post-delivery. Deep Vein Thrombosis is characterised by a clot in legs that may cause intense pain, swelling, redness, etc. The pain may travel from the calves to the back of knee, thigh and even to the backbone. Sometimes a low-grade fever may be registered too. Though this condition may affect a very small percentage of women, this condition may become life-threatening. One of the most common complications is a pulmonary embolism, which may occur when the blood clot travels to the lungs causing severe blockage and fatal complications.

If you do happen to experience leg pain after a c-section, you may want to use one of the following tips to treat or manage them.

What You Should Do If You Experience Leg Pain After C-Section

Where some cases of leg pain may not evoke concern or tension, there are other conditions that may lead to life-threatening conditions. Therefore, as soon as you experience any leg pain or cramps after undergoing c-section, this is what you must do:

  • You must seek medical attention if the pain worsens or you experience new leg pain post your discharge from the hospital.
  • Try wearing compression stockings. They help regulate blood circulation and avoid the accumulation of blood in the legs.
  • If you notice chest pain, shortness of breath, light-headedness, palpitation, or other such symptoms, then you could be experiencing a pulmonary embolism for which you must seek medical help immediately.
  • Speak to your doctor to know when you can start exercising, especially walking, which can help regulate blood circulation and provide some respite from the leg pain.
  • Have a diet rich in protein, iron and vitamin C to promote the growth of new tissue, heal you faster and give you the energy you need to nurse your little one.

Not all women will experience leg pain after undergoing a c-section. If you experience any leg pain, you must act promptly and talk to your doctor about the same at the earliest.


Also Read: How To Recover After C-Section

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Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.