What Are the Most Common Causes of Buttock and Leg Pain?

Sciatica is a common cause of nerve pain in the lower back, buttock and leg.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2014
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The most common cause of buttock and leg pain is injury due to trauma, most commonly incurred during sporting activities or other types of physical activities. Muscle strains and tears can lead to pain throughout the leg and buttocks, though more serious injuries may also cause buttock and leg pain, such as ligament sprains, bone breaks and fractures, or nerve damage. Sciatica, a condition in which the sciatic nerve becomes compressed, can cause pain throughout the leg and buttocks, as this nerve runs the length of either leg all the way into the lower back. When the nerve becomes compressed or pinched, buttock and leg pain are likely to result.


Muscle tears or strains anywhere in the leg or hips can cause buttock and leg pain. The injury itself may be the source of the pain, but pain resulting from an altered gait or other movement in the hips, legs, and back due to the injury can also be a source of buttock and leg pain. Other muscles compensate for the injured muscle, leading to unnatural movements that may lead to aches and pains throughout the entire body. The injury is likely to cause pain and tenderness in the immediately affected area as well, and the injured person may experience a sense of weakness, tightness, or sharp or dull pains. Hamstring strains and tears commonly cause buttock and leg pain, as this muscle is located in the leg and is supported by muscles and movements in the buttocks.

Sciatic nerve pain is another common cause of buttock and leg pain, one that manifests itself as a sharp, shooting pain anywhere from the lower back to the foot. The nerve can become compressed due to tightness in muscles, in joints functioning incorrectly, or as a result of a herniated disc in the spine. Whenever the nerve is compressed, the pain is felt anywhere along the length of the nerve, which means pain may be felt in the buttocks and along the back of either leg, as well as in the hips. Regular stretching and exercise can often help relieve the pain and prevent future sciatic pain, though in some more severe instances, surgery may be necessary to alleviate the pain. Surgery is usually only performed if the nerve compression is causing severe neurological issues.

Overuse of the leg muscles can also lead to buttock and leg pain. If the sufferer has participated in a physical activity that is new to the body, the muscles and ligaments in the legs and hips are likely to experience soreness due to the unnatural or new movement. The legs and buttocks will feel tender and achy as a result. Rest and hydration, combined with adequate stretching, are usually enough to alleviate such pain.


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