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Calf Muscle Pain

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Common Causes of Calf Pain

The back of the lower leg is often called the calf, and it consists of three muscles (the gastrocnemius, the soleus and the plantaris muscles). These muscles are attached to the heel bone by means of the Achilles tendon, which is also found at the back of the lower leg.

One of the most common causes of calf pain is muscle cramps, which occurs when there is a sudden tightening or contraction of the muscles in the lower leg. Calf cramp pain is often due to muscle fatigue, but other factors such as heat and dehydration may also contribute. Leg calf muscle pain often affects older people, as well as endurance athletes and individuals who are not conditioned to exercise. Lower calf pain may be due to torn muscles or a torn Achilles tendon, which is often the result of intense physical activity and lack of warm up exercises.  Rest, ice application and anti-inflammatory medications help relieve these types of acute calf pain.

A problem in the blood vessels in the lower leg can produce severe calf pain. The presence of varicose veins in the leg can cause dull pain, calf tiredness, and the appearance of bluish, twisted veins. Sometimes, blood clots develops in a deep vein (deep vein thrombosis or DVT), especially in people who are inactive for long periods.

Other risk factors for developing DVT calf pain include being obese or overweight, chronic smoking, and taking medications that can cause clots. Patients are often advised to use support stockings, lose weight, and take medications to relieve calf pain from varicose veins and to prevent blood clotting. Another possible cause of chronic calf pain is hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which results in their narrowing and reducing blood flow to the leg. This leads to deep calf pain, especially when walking or climbing stairs.

Resting may help reduce the symptoms, but when the condition becomes severe, pain may occur even at rest. If this is not treated immediately, complications may arise, such as infection and poor wound healing.


Calf nerve pain may also affect the lower leg. The sciatic nerve, which runs at the back of the hip and thigh, may cause burning, or cramping lower leg calf pain when you are standing or sitting. Nerve damage may also arise as a complication of uncontrolled blood sugar levels (diabetes), leading to constant calf pain, tingling, and numbness in the lower leg and foot. Specific treatment may be needed to relieve these types of persistent calf pain.

Chiropractic is an effective and recommended method for treating calf pain. Schedule a consult with our specialist doctors to relieve your symptoms today.

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