Our legs are either always on the move, running errands, or are utterly steady due to the sedentary lifestyle, both of which cause pain and discomfort which are unbearable. And the principal victims are the calf muscles in our leg joint which leaves us limping behind if inflamed, injured or have developed any painful condition.
The fleshy tissue on the backside of the lower leg, from below the knee to above the ankle is the calf muscle. It is a complex mix of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels, all together, which make us walk, run, and move around. Each of them is prone to develop a minor tear to a life-threatening condition like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) if overused or not given proper care regularly.
Pain in the calf muscles can make us crippled as they are responsible for any leg or foot motion. So, let us understand what the possible calf muscle pain causes are and how you can ward them off.
What Causes Calf Pain?
The causes of calf muscle pain can be various from temporary to permanent ones, affecting different areas of calves. For the ease of understanding, we have categorized them, take a look;
Injury-related causes of calf pain
● Laceration or contusion (bruise), caused as a result of trauma, like a fall, cut, or blow.
● Calf muscle cramp also referred to as a “charley horse,” which are sudden, painful contractions of the calf muscles.
● Calf muscle strain – when tearing appears in the muscle fibers of calves.
● Calf muscle pull or a torn muscle/ligament.
Infection-related causes of calf pain
● Cellulitis (skin infection)
● An infected wound or other sore that spreads toward the calf muscle.
● Bone infection
Degenerative, inflammatory, and neurological causes of calf pain
● Trapped or compressed nerve
● Peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetic neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes that results in nerve damage in the legs.
● Rheumatoid arthritis
● Neurogenic claudication i.e pinched nerve, for example – Sciatica.
● Achilles tendonitis – inflammation of Achilles tendon that connects calf muscles to heel bone.
● Varicose veins
● Plantar fasciitis
Other calf pain causes
● Deep vein thrombosis – formation of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs.
● Peripheral artery disease (PAD, also called peripheral vascular disease, or PVD; where the arteries that provide blood flow to legs become narrow or blocked.
● Baker’s cyst – a collection of knee joint fluid that pools in the back of the knee when breaks and spreads to calf muscles creates pain and swelling.
● Weak muscles
● Mineral deficiencies
● Starting new exercises and doing it more than usual, i.e., overuse of calf muscles.
● Lack of stretching
● Kidney failure
● Loss of electrolytes through sweating
● Prolonged physical activity
How does Calf Muscle Pain feel like?
● Calf muscle pain may last briefly or can be constant. It may also affect either the entire calf or only a localized area. Hence the sensation of pain varies, and one may feel the following symptoms.
● dull and achy calf muscle pain
● throbbing or piercing calf muscle cramp
● calf muscle tightness
● tingling or pins-and-needles
● burning, redness, warmth, and tenderness
● calf muscle twitching
● calf muscle soreness or swelling
● unusual coolness or pale color in the calf
● loss of balance and coordination
● visible veins
How to calm calf muscle pain?
● Episodes of calf pain can be reduced with home remedies like
● Calf muscle massage
● Performing various calf muscle exercises regularly to strengthen them.
● Practicing calf muscle stretches without fail to release the tension and stress accumulated in it.
● Combining the traditional R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method with ultrasound therapy i.e., U.R.I.C.E using capable physiotherapy equipment like US111 or SONICTENS.