A 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 including more serious conditions such as deep vein thrombosis which must not be missed. Here we explain the most common causes as well as some of the less common calf injuries.
A calf strain is a tear of the muscles at the back of the lower leg. A sudden sharp pain is felt and can range from mild to very severe. Treatment includes rest, ice and compression during the acute stage followed by a full rehabilitation program consisting of stretching and strengthening exercises.
Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT is a blood clot in a vein. It is most common in the calf muscle area, particularly following surgery and long-haul flights. It is very important this is not misdiagnosed as a calf strain.
A compartment syndrome occurs when the muscles swell too big for the surrounding sheath. The syndrome can be acute (if caused by a direct injury) or chronic (if it has come on over time). This calf injury creates excess pressure in the muscle sheath which makes the lower leg painful, tender and sometimes swell up.
A common problem in athletes is tight calf muscles, especially in runners. Running style, foot biomechanics and compartment syndrome can make the muscles tighten and cause calf pain, which may have come on gradually over time. We look at symptoms, causes, and treatment options to release muscle tightness.
Tennis leg is a general term used to describe pain in the leg caused by a tear of the inner head of the big calf muscle, the plantaris muscle or sometimes both. Here we explain the treatment including immediate first aid as well as rehabilitation exercises essential for optimum recovery.
Cramp is an involuntary contraction of the muscle which can not only be very painful but may also cause muscle damage in severe cases. We look at the possible causes and treatment options available.
A contusion is a bruise resulting from a direct blow or impact. The bruise may be visible or not, depending on whether the bleeding goes out of the muscle sheath. There will normally be pain when the leg is hit, ranging from mild to severe. Often the muscle is crushed against the bone. Read more on the symptoms of this calf injury and a full explanation of rehabilitation exercises you can do.
A stress fracture of the fibula is a small fracture or hairline crack in the bone. It is not as common as a stress fracture of the tibia because the fibula is not used in load bearing in the same way.
An acute fracture of the fibula bone in the lower leg occurs as a result of a direct trauma or impact to the leg or ankle. Stress fractures can also occur from overuse or repetitive impacts.
The deep posterior compartment is a surrounded by a sheath which contains the muscles of the lower leg. Compartment syndromes arise when a muscle becomes too big for the sheath that surrounds it.