Common causes of CALF MUSCLE pain

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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CALF muscle pain is a common problem with many different causes.

The calf is made up of three muscles: the gastrocnemius, the soleus and the plantaris. The main function of these muscles is to flex the foot at the ankle and flex the leg at the knee. They also help to keep the blood moving through the circulatory system.

Pain in the calf muscle can be due to injury or an underlying medical condition. In this article we will look at the most common causes of calf muscle pain.


Calf strain due to sports like running, tennis and basketball are very common. Here, the muscle fibres may become torn or overstretched. The pain will usually occur straight away, accompanied by swelling, redness and heat.

Depending on the severity of the injury, it can take anywhere from days to months for the symptoms to subside.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

A DVT is a very serious condition requiring urgent treatment. It is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein of the calf or thigh. They often develop after surgery, a long flight, or any period of prolonged inactivity. There may also be a genetic link.

The signs are acute pain, heat and possible swelling. The pain usually gets worse if the foot is pulled towards the body. The main risks are that the blood flow to the foot is restricted and that a clot of may break off and travel to the lungs or heart. A DVT is a medical emergency and should be treated accordingly.

Peripheral vascular disease PVD)

Peripheral vascular disease occurs when the arteries in the leg or foot are narrow, causing the blood to flow slowly and thus restricting the nutrition to the foot. Patients often feel pain when they walk and the foot may have a bluish colour and cool temperature. This is a condition associated with smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. People with this condition require immediate medical care.

Baker's cyst

A Bakers cyst is a fluid-filled sac located behind the knee. The most common causes are osteoarthritis and gout. The cyst can cause pain in the calf muscles, especially if it ruptures.

Trapped nerves

Compression of a nerve from the lower back or along the nerve pathway can cause calf discomfort. It is often accompanied by feelings of numbness and pins and needles. chiropractic care is often beneficial.

Calf cramps

Calf camps are involuntary spasms that may last for seconds or continue on and off for days. They are caused by muscle fatigue, dehydration, poor diet, and an imbalance in vitamins and minerals. Exercise, stretching, a balanced diet, and good hydration are the first line of treatment.

Achilles tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy is inflammation in the Achilles tendon that can lead to calf muscle pain. This is the tendon that connects the heel to the calf muscle. This tendon is prone to injury, especially if the calf muscle is tight or weak. Because the Achilles tendon has a poor blood supply, recovery can take a long time. Treatment will involve physiotherapy, orthotics and rest.

Muscle imbalance

Calf muscle weakness and tightness are common causes of calf muscle pain. The muscles will tire if you use them for prolonged periods of time. Exercise and stretching should remedy this.

Angela Davis BSc (Hons) DPodM MChS is a podiatrist with offices in Montego Bay (293- 7119), Mandeville (962-2100), Ocho Rios (974-6339), Kingston (978-8392), and Savanna-la-Mar (955-3154). She is a member of the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom.




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