Even a minor car wreck can leave you feeling battered and bruised — so the fact that one or both of your legs hurt after an accident is hardly surprising. You probably don’t think it’s anything serious.
Unfortunately, you could be wrong. Severe, shooting pain in your legs following a car wreck can be the sign of much more serious problems that are still developing as damaged muscles, nerves and other parts of your body start to develop inflammation.
Here are some of the conditions that may be causing your pain and why they’re serious:
Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back into your feet. If that nerve got damaged in the trauma of the wreck, it could leave you with unrelenting pain and areas of numbness. Trauma-related sciatica is actually a serious back injury, even though the pain usually gets felt first in the legs.
You probably think of whiplash as nothing more than a stiff neck — but the damage from your neck being snapped back and forth in a wreck can lead to chronic headaches and numbness or pain in your shoulders, arms and legs. As the swelling in the tender areas around your spine increases, your condition may worsen.
This is often a sports injury, but it also happens in car accidents. If your pain started deep in your buttocks and spread to your legs, you may have this problem. The piriformis muscle in your body may be inflamed. As it compresses your sciatic nerve, that can lead to a debilitating loss of function in your legs.
You should never ignore pain after a car wreck or try to “walk it off.” You may be doing more damage to yourself without sufficient treatment. Once you find out if you’re injured, you can focus on healing before you decide whether you want to seek compensation for your losses.