calf muscle pain causes

The most common cause of sudden calf pain is a calf muscle strain, where part of the gastrocnemius or soleus muscles are overstretched causing it to tear. As a result, the weakened or damaged valves within the veins appear as what are known as varicose veins. Natural causes: The condition of the body can sometimes be enough to cause calf swelling. Most people notice claudication after walking at a certain pace for a longer period than they would normally and experience mild to severe muscle pain. Whitlock, J., “Blood Clots During And After Surgery,” Verywell, August 29, 2016; https://www.verywell.com/blood-clots-during-and-after-surgery-3156814, last accessed August 14, 2017. Soleus pain causes are often linked to certain activities, but there is one cause that you could say is due to inactivity. The sensations often worsen when bending the knee and pulling the toes toward the shin. There are two major muscles essential to the movement of the leg—the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle. Also, body tissue death can result with improper blood flow. Cramps can be extremely painful and even debilitating. You can also participate in walking, swimming, and cycling workouts to help strengthen the calf. Overuse of the muscles and injury can create an environment of swelling and bleeding within the muscle compartment. Varicose veins are often the result of a sedentary lifestyle, trauma, obesity, and genetics. Exercise that causes your muscles to undergo this process can leave you feeling sore until the healing process completes. If an issue like a herniated disk or bone spur compresses this nerve, severe pain may radiate along the nerve’s path. Usually, when there is a sudden pain in your calf, you might feel a tear, a pop, or snapping. 3. Calf pain can be accompanied by a burning sensation, tingling, weakness, and difficulty moving the leg and foot. The sciatic nerve stretches from the lower back, through the hips, into the legs. Narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood to your legs (arteriosclerosis of the extremities) can produce cramp-like pain in your legs and feet while you're exercising. Referred to as DVT, this is when the blood thickens and pools together to form a blood clot deep within a vein. Place your hands on a table or counter with your feet apart and raise your heels up so that you are standing on your toes. These muscles extend from the knee and attach to the Achilles tendon at your heel. There is often a pain in the lower legs such as in the calves, as well as numbness and tingling sensations. “Achilles Tendinitis,” National Center for Biotechnology Information; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024961/, last accessed August 14, 2017. Overuse or other factors can make these muscles to become sore and painful. The calves can become damaged from falls, collisions with objects, and strikes from other people. Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp. Calf muscle pain is commonly known as a “Charley Horse” episode when there is no trauma involved, but calf pain can be caused by damage to the nerves or direct injury to the lower leg. If the blood remains inside the muscle, swelling may be the only visible symptom. Cramp. This condition is characterized by leg pain, weakness, and numbness due to an injury or damage to the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back down through the legs. Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***. Claudication results when the muscles do not receive enough blood during exercise. This can happen gradually with improper stretching before strenuous activity or by an injury such as a compartment syndrome. Your calf muscles are located at the back of your lower leg and are needed to move your legs when walking, running, or jumping. The calf is made up of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. A blood clot in the lower leg can cause the calf to swell, be warm to the touch, and present pain, especially when placing weight on it. Fitzgordon, J., “Anatomy Of The Calf Muscle,” CoreWalking; https://corewalking.com/anatomy-of-the-calf-muscle/, last accessed August 14, 2017. This cause of pain can be … Trauma to these muscles will cause swelling and pain. Calf pain can vary from mild numbness and tingling to excruciating pain that impairs your ability to walk. Also called the gastrocnemius, calf muscles are in the back of your lower leg and help you perform almost every activity, including running, walking, jumping, climbing, and so on. With grade 2 muscle tears, more of the muscle fibres are damaged, between 10-90%, but the calf muscle is still intact Grade 2 pulled calf muscle injuries tend to cause a moderate, sharp pain that is usually felt at the time of injury and there may be resultant swelling and bruising in … The cyst can be the result of a tear in the cartilage or arthritis. Long-distance sprinters often damage their soleus muscles, which sit under the gastrocnemius muscle. Causes of Calf Muscle Pain. Use a compression sleeve or bandage around the affected calf for a 10-minute treatment several times each day. If you have any Other causes of calf pain: Calf pain may be referred from other body parts and produce pain in the calf. Move the foot in a large circular motion 10 times both clockwise and counterclockwise. Calf pain symptoms may include soreness above the heel in the back of the leg, stiffness, tenderness, and severe pain, especially after climbing stairs or running. Calf muscle pain is categorized into three grades or levels according to the severity of the damage or injury. More serious conditions such as blood clots & diabetic neuropathy can also cause upper & lower calf pain. This is called peripheral artery disease. Tenderness and pain in the calf increase with exercise and when placing weight on the affected leg. This form of calf pain may happen for unknown reasons or due to excessive exercise, pregnancy, medications, or liver disease. Dixon, B.J., “Gastrocnemius vs. soleus strain: how to differentiate and deal with calf injuries”, Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, May 23, 2009; 2(2): 74-77. Avruskin, A., “Physical Therapist’s Guide to Calf Strain,” Move Forward; http://www.moveforwardpt.com/symptomsconditionsdetail.aspx?cid=f52d166b-3906-4003-8cd4-64ea162724b0, last accessed August 14, 2017. You should not rely on any Calf pain when walking and calf pain after walking are common. “Sciatica in the Calf Tortures,” The Sciatica Authority; http://www.sciatica-pain.org/sciatica-in-the-calf.html, last accessed August 14, 2017. Numbness, cramping, and calf pain worsens with activity, but can also be severe when the body is at rest with the progression of the disease. The causes of rheumatoid arthritis have yet to be confirmed as it is considered an autoimmune disease where immune system attacks healthy tissues of the body. information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or But in most cases, you can treat muscle strain with rest and home remedies. Calf pain can result from a number of causes, including overworking the muscle, cramps, and foot conditions. “Rhabdomyolysis,” WebMD, October 27, 2016; http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/rhabdomyolysis-symptoms-causes-treatments#1, last accessed August 14, 2017. You will be expected to answer several key questions such as: The doctor will determine whether the underlying cause of the calf pain was the result of an injury or health condition to properly treat it. This condition is sciatica. The pads will raise the heel while shortening the length of the muscle. Receive updates on the latest news and alerts straight to your inbox. Pulling or tearing a calf muscle can cause a sudden sharp pain in the back of your leg. Three muscles make up the section of the leg below the knee that most people call the calf. Most people strain the medial head of their gastrocnemius muscle, which is the largest muscle in the calf. While muscle injuries are the most common cause of calf pain, there are others that may stem from nerve problems, knee joint problems, or foot and ankle conditions. In severe but rare cases, imaging tests may be ordered such as x-rays and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. With your knee bent, move the foot up and down 10 times, flexing at the ankle. A direct calf muscle injury. “Lateral Compartment Syndrome,” Sports Injury Clinic; http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/ankle-achilles-shin-pain/lateral-compartment-syndrome, last accessed August 14, 2017. A significantly smaller muscle runs alongside the gastrocnemius muscle. “Peripheral Artery Disease,” Mayo Clinic, August 12, 2017; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-artery-disease/symptoms-causes/dxc-20167421, last accessed August 14, 2017. The causes of sore calf muscles can include: Age; Using the calf muscle too much; An injury to the calf muscle; Struggling to come up with a reason as to why the calf muscles are sore can be frustrating, particularly if the calf muscle pain develops slowly. But … Sciatica is a symptom of a lower back issue such as spinal stenosis, a lumbar herniated disc, spondylolisthesis, or a degenerative disc disease. Grade 2 Symptoms. Environmental causes of calf swelling may be related to lifestyle habits or certain exposures. Achilles tendonitis is swelling resulting from an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, which is the tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. The doctor will evaluate your gait and stance with walking and weight bearing exercises. We will look at the various causes and possible home remedies for calf muscle pain for you to try in the privacy of your own home. Cellulitis Calf muscle strain can also be felt as a burning sensation or as a prickling feeling, called paresthesia. Damage to the muscle can include small tears that cause muscle spasms wherein the contracting action of the muscle inhibits proper blood flow. Pain in the calf (the back part of the lower leg) is usually caused by a cramp or muscle strain. “Calf Muscle,” WebMD, March 13, 2017; http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/picture-of-the-calf-muscle#1, last accessed August 14, 2017. This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. Apply a cold or ice compress to the affected calf to treat the inflammation, pain, and swelling. Causes of Pain in Calf Muscle. The outer portion of the calf may swell and be tender. Though the cramp may not last very long, the pain and soreness can persist for several days. The calf muscles, along with most other areas of the leg, are certainly innervated by the sciatic nerve. Calf muscle pain is commonly known as a “Charley Horse” episode when there is no trauma involved, but calf pain can be caused by damage to the nerves or direct injury to the lower leg. Calf injury due to a fall, injury, accident, or penetrating injury will affect muscles of the calf. Do you want to advertise on Facty.com?Let’s talk about this! In many cases, however, the cause isn't known.Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as: 1. DOI:  10.1007/s12178-009-9045-8, last accessed August 14, 2017. This condition is commonly known as “tennis leg.” Muscle strain sometimes feels like a sudden, sharp pain or a tearing sensation. Facing a wall, lean forward with your hands on the wall for support. It is caused by injury, infection, inflammation, or as a result of surgery. Cluett, J., “7 Common Causes Of Calf Pain and How To Treat Them,” Verywell, August 16, 2017; https://www.verywell.com/causes-of-calf-pain-and-treatment-options-2549387, last accessed August 16, 2017. Place heel pads in both shoes to alleviate any strain on the calf muscle while walking. Pain in the calf muscle can be the result of an injury, trauma, or as a consequence of an underlying health condition. Blood clots (deep vein … In rare cases, a lower leg blood clot can travel to the lungs and hinder blood flow, known as pulmonary embolism. Muscle strains are among the most common causes of thigh pain. Some types of leg pain can be traced to problems in your lower spine. There can be a pain in legs when walking known as claudication. Some of the most common causes of calf pain are muscle cramps, which are involuntary contractions of a muscle. The calf muscles are located in the posterior of the lower legs, allowing us to move as they pull the heel in an upward motion. Serious medical conditions may require prescribed anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, and antibiotics, as well as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, physical therapy, or possibly surgery. The nerves can become damaged by high blood sugar or glucose levels, inflammation, injury, and by external sources such as with alcohol and tobacco use. Here are a few of the less obvious causes. Calf tears typically occur during sports and may be accompanied by bruising and swelling. Here we explain the possible causes, treatment, and prevention of cramp in the calf muscles. It may originate from injuries to the spine, the knee (including Baker’s cyst and PCL injuries) and myofascial tissue structures (particularly in the gluteal muscles). Calf muscle injuries can happen when straining tight leg muscles by accelerating fast or suddenly changing direction. There are times when the pain in the calf indicates a serious underlying condition and requires emergency medical attention. Perform stretching exercises to strengthen and lengthen the tendons and muscles of the calves. Calf pain is often caused by muscle cramps or strains. Other Causes of Acute Calf Pain While you may naturally link calf pain to a muscle injury, there are other causes, and some are quite serious, like a blood clot. Swelling is often linked to the retention of water which is increased by being overweight, pregnant, or while menstruating. “Baker’s Cysts,” Mayo Clinic, June 12, 2015; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bakers-cyst/basics/definition/con-20023332, last accessed August 14, 2017. Keep both feet flat on the floor for 15 seconds as you feel a stretch in the calf. Tightness and pain can range from mild to severe, and can last a few seconds or several minutes. Runners who recently increased the intensity or distance of their runs are particularly prone to developing Achilles tendonitis. Muscle pain can range from mild to moderate with severe pain and swelling within the subsequent 48 hours. If you apply the heat too soon, it can cause the pain and swelling to increase. Calf pain is a common symptom often causing problems with walking, running, and in some cases, even standing upright. The soleus muscle is flat and small and lies behind the gastrocnemius muscle. The muscles as the cause of calf pain: during physical activities such as running or playing soccer, many people tend to get calf cramps as a result of overexertion. Advertisement. When one of these muscles expand beyond the protective sheath, pain can be felt throughout the lower leg when used. There are two main reasons for calf muscle pain: injury and an underlying medical condition. These are more likely to be muscle overuse syndromes or biomechanical overload syndromes. 3. The gastrocnemius muscle is the large, diamond-shaped bulging muscle on the back of the lower leg. This usually occurs after a surgical procedure where the patient is unable to move for a prolonged time. “Fibula Stress Fracture,” Sports Injury Clinic; http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/ankle-achilles-shin-pain/fibua-stress-fracture, last accessed August 14, 2017. One of the key signs of sciatica is pain that shoots below the knee, particularly when lifting the legs while lying down. These incidents crush the calf muscles against the bone, leading to bleeding within the muscle. Also known as a “Charley horse,” a calf cramp occurs when the muscle contracts involuntarily. What causes calf pain? This condition is common in contact sports like soccer, and the trauma may cause sudden temporary loss of use of the leg. This type of strain is often called tennis leg, originating from a 1883 reported case of a tennis injury. However, sometimes calf pain can be a symptom of something more serious. Did you suffer an injury from a direct blow at the time? “Diabetic Neuropathies: The Nerve Damage of Diabetes,” National Institutes of Health, February 2009; www.niddk.nih.gov/-/media/A710C2B4CC214818B8C0BC7A30C8F7E8.ashx, last accessed August 14, 2017. Deep vein thrombosis is potentially life-threatening, as the blood clot may dislodge and travel to the lungs. concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other If these muscles swell beyond their protective sheath or covering, calf pain will ensue. This feels like a sudden, snapping pain in the calf. Sometimes, runners can even hear an audible pop as the muscle snaps. Another common cause of calf pain is muscle strain. The blood travelling from the tissues to the heart can collect and cause swelling. The calf of the leg holds blood vessels, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, which all can lead to calf pain as a result of trauma or damage. This condition is commonly known as “tennis leg.” Muscle strain sometimes feels like a sudden, sharp pain or a tearing sensation. Repeat these exercises four or five times daily. For diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, it is important to differentiate the exact type and location of any pain in the legs. Can calf pain be prevented? The lateral compartment of the lower leg contains the peroneus longus, also known as the fibularis longus and the peroneus brevis, which allows us to turn the foot outward. as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Sciatica in the Calf Anatomy. This muscle connects with the shin muscles of fibula and tibia, as well as to the calcaneus via the Achilles tendon. It occurs from excessive traction and twisting of the lower leg. “Explore Deep Vein Thrombosis,” National Institutes of Health, October 28, 2011; https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dvt/, last accessed August 14, 2017. The most common cause of chronic calf pain is a muscle injury, which can cause inflammation, strains, or tearing in any of the three major muscles of the calf.An injury to those muscles can in turn cause other injuries, causing chronic, recurring calf pain. Resting the calf muscles can alleviate the pain, reduce any swelling, and speed up the recovery time whether it is a mild or major calf issue. Doing this will reduce blood flow to the damaged tissues and allow proper healing. Some common causes of leg pain include: Achilles tendinitis. Leg cramps occur when the calf muscles contract and spasm involuntarily. It’s a common injury that makes the tendon swell, stretch, or tear. Pain can be sudden from an injury, or gradual caused by the muscle growing over time as is seen in runners. The condition is also common among middle-aged athletes who casually play sports like tennis or basketball. Was there a popping or cracking sound when the pain began? Pain in the calf muscle is a common result of straining the medial gastrocnemius muscle during physical activity such as with sports. Leg Muscle Pain with Walking. Here you will find the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles as well as tendons, blood vessels, and ligaments. These Baker’s or popliteal cysts swell and can cause pain that radiates from the knee into the calf. Sometimes blocked arteries cause the calf pain. Claudication is technically a symptom of an underlying condition, such as peripheral artery disease. Some are obvious, like injury or physical activity. Calf pain when walking is very different than calf pain at night in bed. Contact us!advertise@facty.com. Leg pain can also be caused by blood clots, varicose veins or poor circulation. Immediate pain is felt and may range from a pinching sensation to severe, along with tenderness and soreness. Strains are more common, but full ruptures do sometimes occur. However, some other factors can cause calf pain and leg pain in general. 1. 4. Many causes can be treated by simple measures. … These fibers then enter the blood system, possibly causing kidney failure. healthcare professional. “Achilles Tendinitis,” Mayo Clinic, August 4, 2015; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/achilles-tendinitis/basics/definition/con-20024518, last accessed August 14, 2017. A blood clot may form within the veins, which impairs blood flow resulting in calf pain and swelling. This leads to the involuntary contraction of one or more calf muscles, which can be very painful and can result in hardening of the calf. This discomfort can be felt anywhere between the knee and the ankle along the backside of the lower leg. “Calf Pain,” Healthgrades, September 26, 2016; https://www.healthgrades.com/symptoms/calf-pain, last accessed August 14, 2017. Calf muscle strain can also be felt as a burning sensation or as a prickling feeling, called paresthesia. Did the leg swell within the first two or three hours? This type of fracture is a tiny crack in the fibula bone. “Contusion Of the Lower Leg,” Sports Injury Clinic; http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/ankle-achilles-shin-pain/contusion-lower-leg, last accessed August 14, 2017. Serious health conditions such as deep vein thrombosis can present this form of pain, and, left untreated, can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Sometimes, the cyst bursts and leaks fluid into the calf region, resulting in sharp pain, swelling, and a sensation of water running down the leg. Is it painful when you walk, stand, or bend the knee or ankle? “Explore Varicose Veins,” National Institutes Of Health, February 13, 2014; https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vv, last accessed August 14, 2017. Foot and calf pain can be caused by many things, including muscle fatigue, overuse injuries, underlying medical conditions or even improper footwear. Inadequate blood supply. One of the first warning signs you have an inflamed Achilles tendon is pain in your lower calf, near the back of your heel. This can then cause the muscle fibers in the calf to rip as they become overly stretched and this in turn can cause swelling, pain, lack of muscle strength and mobility and bruising. Blood clots can form in the deep veins of the legs, usually as a result of an underlying condition or remaining stationary for long periods. Calf muscle cramps can strike during exercise, after a workout, or while you’re sleeping, causing temporary yet intense pain. "Famous" Physical Therapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck present: Calf Pain! A direct hit to the calf can compress the muscle onto the bone, resulting in bruising. The goal of these calf strain treatment options and the following natural remedies is to reduce the pain while improving the mobility, strength, and flexibility of the calf muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The sufferer will usually experience calf pains at night. In other words, leg pain at night has a … A muscle strain occurs when the fibers in a muscle are stretched too far or torn. If the blood leaks outside of the muscle, it may become a bruise or other hematoma. The legs are an extremely common injury site. For the sake of this article let’s assume we are covering muscle-specific pain in the calf that isn’t too bothersome much outside of running. Injury to this small muscle often occurs with jumping or running activities where the weight is placed on the ankle when the leg is extended. Commonly known as RA, this condition sees inflammation and swelling of the joints resulting in pain, stiffness, and tenderness. When this occurs it is important to make sure that you rest the injured leg while addressing the swelling by keeping it above heart level, using compression such as with a compression sock and applying a cool pack. Cluett, J., “Calf Strain – Muscle Spasm of the Leg,” Verywell, July 14, 2017; https://www.verywell.com/calf-strain-muscle-spasm-of-the-leg-2549855, last accessed August 14, 2017. Running Form and Calf Pain Your stride can have a profound effect on the amount of trauma your calf muscle receives over the course of a run. People who incur this injury often describe the pain as a deep soreness or tightness. What sort of activity were you doing at the time when the pain started? The doctor will evaluate your gait and stance with walking, running, and.. Long, the weakened or damaged valves within the calves sometimes be enough to cause calf swelling and... The possible causes, including overworking the muscle onto the bone, leading to bleeding within the veins appear what! The cartilage or arthritis be … another common cause of calf pain and leg pain include: Achilles,. Times when the muscle inhibits proper blood flow to the muscle inhibits blood... 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calf muscle pain causes