Calf pain can result from a number of causes, including overworking the muscle, cramps, and foot conditions. While most cases of calf pain can be treated at home, other causes may require immediate medical attention.

Muscle cramps are sudden, painful contractions of the muscles. They can be brief or last for several minutes at a time. Cramps are common, and they’re generally caused by exercising more than normal or doing new exercises. Cramps can also be triggered by dehydration, muscle injuries, and mineral deficiencies. More serious causes of muscle cramps are:

  • kidney failure
  • hypothyroidism
  • alcoholism
  • diabetes
  • severe peripheral vascular disease

In more severe cases, limited blood flow to parts of the body and other serious medical conditions can cause muscle cramps.

Muscle strains usually occur as a result of fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle. For example, starting a new exercise regimen or increasing exercises that heavily involve the legs, such as running, swimming, biking, and powerlifting, can strain your calf muscle. You’ll usually feel a muscle strain as it occurs and notice the sudden onset of pain, soreness, and limited range of movement. Mild to moderate strains can be successfully treated at home with ice, heat, and anti-inflammatory medications. Severe strains or tears may require medical treatment.

Achilles tendonitis is caused by overuse, strain, or stress on the Achilles tendon. Common symptoms include inflammation of the tendon, pain in the back of the leg, swelling, and limited range of motion when flexing your foot. Simple home treatments like R.I.C.E. can help. However, if home treatment doesn’t work or your pain gets worse, it’s important to see a doctor.

Sciatica is a result of issues with the sciatic nerve — a nerve that controls muscles in the lower leg and back of the knee. It can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the lower back that can stretch down the leg to the calf and other muscles. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to treat sciatica. Check out these six stretches for sciatica pain relief.

A contusion, or bruise, is the result of trauma, like a fall, cut, or blow. The trauma causes capillaries beneath the skin to burst, which causes discoloration. Bruises typically heal on their own. You should see a doctor if you have unexplained bruising or bruises that reappear in the same area without injury.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a form of nerve damage that affects the feet, legs, arms and hands. This condition is a common complication of diabetes resulting from overexposure to high blood sugar, genetic factors, or nerve inflammation. Other symptoms of DPN include:

  • sharp pain
  • muscle cramps
  • muscle weakness
  • loss of balance and coordination
  • numbness
  • reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the result of a blood clot forming in the deep vein in the arm or leg, including the calf. There are numerous factors and conditions that can cause DVT. Some include, sitting for long periods of time, medication complications, and smoking. Symptoms of DVT include:

  • visible veins in the affected area
  • swelling
  • leg tenderness
  • skin discoloration
  • feeling of warmth in the calf

Compartment syndrome is a serious condition that happens when a large amount of pressure builds up inside a muscle compartment. Typically, this occurs after you’ve experienced major injury to the area, like a fracture or broken bone. Symptoms of compartment syndrome can include:

  • severe pain that doesn’t improve after rest or medication
  • numbness
  • trouble moving the affected area
  • a noticeable bulge in the affected muscle

The Regenerative Medicine Institute of Illinois’ therapies could potentially help your calf pain or related injuries. Call us today to schedule a consultation to see if you’re a candidate.

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