Why Do My Legs Feel Heavy And Tired?

Updated May, 2021
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There are several possible explanations for having heavy, tired legs. You may be overusing or underusing them and need to get more exercise. Or it could be a symptom of a much larger health problem, such as varicose veins, hypokalemia, or restless leg syndrome.

Potential causes

If you can't identify the cause of tired legs on your own, then you should see a medical professional. You may require additional treatment for an undiagnosed medical condition. Here are some potential causes to look into.

Overuse or underuse

Working out, standing, or running more often than you used to can make your legs feel tired. It's important to work within your limits and take note if your legs ever feel shaky. Conversely, underusing your legs by sitting around all day can also make them feel heavy.

Varicose veins

Varicose veins often appear as you get older. They're easy to identify from their enlarged, bumpy, or knotted appearance. People who are obese, have a family history of varicose veins, or are going through severe hormonal fluctuations are more likely to suffer from this condition. The knotted veins make it difficult to circulate blood, resulting in tired legs.


Hypokalemia is a condition where your bloodstream has low levels of potassium. Certain medications have hypokalemia listed as a side effect. The result from this can include cramping in the legs, weakness, and fatigue.


Becoming pregnant can cause your legs to swell due to increased pressure on your leg veins and fluid retention. You may feel cramping as a result. However, you can alleviate some of this pressure by sleeping on your left side.

Restless leg syndrome

RLS is a condition where you feel a crawling or burning sensation in your legs. People who are most at risk for this condition include pregnant women, people with nerve damage, and people who take certain medications. The only way to get temporary relief is to walk around or kick your legs, and this can tire them out over time.

Common symptoms

Tired, heavy legs are often accompanied by other symptoms. When you have any of the following in addition to tired legs, you know you have a serious underlying problem.

  • Swelling in the legs
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • Pale or bluish color
  • Bumpiness from varicose veins
  • Stiff or cramping sensation in legs

What can I do to feel well-rested?

Heavy legs are uncomfortable to sleep on. You may stay up for hours because your legs are just killing you. Fortunately, there are ways to get short-term relief. But you should talk to a doctor if the problem persists.

  • Lose weight if you're obese
  • Quit smoking
  • Wear compression stockings as you sleep
  • Take days off if you already regularly exercise
  • Elevate your legs in bed so that they're above your heart

How the right mattress improves your sleep

One reason you may have trouble sleeping at night is due to your mattress. As mattresses age, they become saggy and lumpy. In addition to your legs feeling heavy, your back may be sore from sleeping on such an inefficient mattress.

If you're regularly having trouble sleeping, then it may be time for a new mattress. A firm, comfortable mattress can help alleviate discomfort from tired legs and restless leg syndrome. You can get the relief you need on a mattress you can trust.

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