Calf Muscle Pain
Pain in calf muscle
Calf muscle pain is common and occurs especially during strenuous activities wherein the legs are utilized such as running or nonstop walking. The calf is located behind the legs on the region below the knees. It is made up of muscles and the pain felt is usually caused by the over usage of these muscles. However, there are some conditions that cause calf muscle pain that doesn’t revolve around the overuse of the muscles. Such conditions include blood clot and joint problems among others. It is essential to know the real cause of the calf muscle pain in order to find the best treatment possible.
Different Causes of Calf Muscle Pain
• Calf Muscle Pain while Walking or Running
The pain felt on the calves while walking or running without the much needed occasional rests is due to the strain on the muscles of the calves. In other words, the calf gets overworked and as a result, pain would be felt in these areas. On the outside, swelling and bruising can be seen. This comes with the painful sensation on the calves.
• Calf Muscle Pain due to Blood Clot
There are diseases that cause blood clots in the veins. Blood clots usually happen because of injury incurred by the linings of the blood vessels. When this happens, the platelets gather at the site of injury thus forming fibrin; this fibrin soon develops into a blood clot. The clot could alter or even hinder the circulation of the blood inside the body. Such diseases include atherosclerosis, heart diseases and varicose veins. If a blood clot has formed in the deep veins of the legs, this would hamper or cause blockage to the circulation of blood. As a result, pain will be felt.
• Calf Muscle Pain due to Pregnancy
Calf muscle pain is very common during pregnancy. The main culprit is the extra weight brought about by pregnancy that the expecting mother has to carry around while walking or even standing up. Because of the extra load that needs to be supported by the legs, additional exertion of the muscles of the legs, including the calf muscles, is required. This would cause strain to the muscles which would later develop to calf muscle pain.
• Calf Muscle Pain due to Cramps
Muscle cramps are involuntary spasm or contraction of the muscles that can cause pain. The areas that are most prone to cramping are those that are near the joints like the thighs and the calves. This often happens to athletes and old people. Without proper stretching and conditioning of the muscles before engaging in strenuous physical activities, the muscles of the calves would involuntarily contract hence causing cramps. For older people, cramps occur due to normal muscle loss. In addition, many experience cramping while sleeping. When a person sleeps, he/she would stay in one position for a long time, causing the muscles to temporarily shorten. A sudden shift of position or sudden stretching would cause the legs of the muscle to involuntarily contract therefore causing cramps and pain.
• Calf Muscle Pain due to Baker’s Cyst
A Baker’s cyst is a benign cyst. It is the accumulation of fluid on the joints behind the knees or in the calf. This cyst would feel like a soft marble when touched. If too much fluid would accumulate in the cyst, this would cause calf muscle pain. Baker’s cyst is often found in persons with arthritis.
Treatment for Calf Muscle Pain
The treatment for calf muscle pain is completely dependent of the cause of the pain. There are a lot of things a person can do to alleviate calf muscle pain. However, one should also keep in mind that it is not advisable to self medicate. The doctors are still the best persons to approach and ask about the best treatment of calf muscle pain, especially if the pain has become regular and chronic.
Here are the basic things that one can do in order to alleviate pain in the calf region:
• If the pain in the calf is felt after a long day of walking or strenuous rounds of running, the best thing to do to assuage the soreness is to take a rest. Sit down and let the pain subside on its own.
• Hot or cold compress can also be helpful in treating calf muscle pain. People often get confused on what kind of compression to apply. Here’s a tip, if the injury is still fresh, apply cold compress. The use of cold compress should only be done in less than 20 minutes. Too much cold compress may cause harm to the muscles. Hot compress should be applied for severe cases wherein the calf muscle pain has been occurring on and off days after the injury occurred. It should also be applied not more than 20 minutes only.
• Stretching is the best way to prevent calf muscle pain. It is essential to condition the muscles before actually engaging in heavy physical activities such as running or any kind of sports. Stretching is also helpful in easing cramps. If cramp occurs, slowly stretch the muscles and do this until the cramping subsides.
• For cases of individuals who experience calf muscle pain due to orthopedic conditions, physical therapy is highly advised. The physical therapists are professionals that have the best knowledge on how to regain muscle strength and how to slowly gain back mobility.
• Anti-inflammatory medicines such as naproxen and ibuprofen can help alleviate the calf muscle pain that is caused by the inflammation of the joints. Keep in mind that it is not advisable to self medicate. Seek medical advice if the calf muscle pain is recurring or chronic.
Calf muscle pain can be acute or chronic. If it is acute, resting is the best way to resolve it. However, if the pain has been present for a long time already, medical attention should be given right away. It is best to approach health care professionals if chronic pain persists.