Injuries to the lower leg can be acute (sudden onset) or chronic (gradual onset). The most common cause of pain at the front of the lower leg is known as shin splints and refers to pain along the bone on the lower, inside of the shin which develops gradually over time. A calf strain is the most likely cause of sudden onset pain at the back of the leg. We explain how and when to apply emergency first aid in the form of cold therapy as well as when to see a doctor or seek medical advice.
What causes calf pain? Calf pain or calf muscle pain can occur from a number of causes. Calf strain is probably the most common cause of calf pain or pain at the back of the lower leg. However there are a number of other potential causes of calf pain which we outline below. We outline the most common of these, as well as some of the less common calf injuries. We also explain some important more serious conditions that can result in calf pain which should not be missed, such as deep vein thrombosis.
Pain in the shin is usually gradual onset and can be difficult to get rid of. Shin splints are known as pain on the inside of the shin but are not a diagnosis in itself but a description of symptoms. Most causes of shin pain in athletes are from bone stress, insufficient blood flow, tendon inflammation, compartment syndrome or nerve entrapment.