HomeFoot Care ResourcesHow to Treat Calf Muscle Pain

How to Treat Calf Muscle Pain

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Calf muscles are found in the back of your lower leg. Calf muscle pain is usually short-term and curable. It usually comes from rigorous exercise or improper way of doing exercises so mostly it is self-induced.

When you stretch too much during leg exercises, it leads to cramps which cause calf muscle pain. The calf muscle is composed of 3 muscles; two of them are the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Therefore, one should exert only normal pressure on these muscles.

What causes Calf muscle pain?

Calf muscle pain is caused by the following things:

  • Going uphill or over-exerting oneself during exercises.
  • Being involved in a sport that involves the legs like football, basketball, or running.
  • Long walks make the legs sore and the leg muscles weak.
  • Calcium deficiency and dehydration are other reasons.

Calf Muscle Pain Symptoms

The symptoms of calf muscle pain include:

  • Stiffness after exercise – Grade 1 Muscle strains from tearing of micro muscle fibers. It’s curable after 3 weeks of treatment.
  • Grade 2 muscle pain is partial tearing of muscle fibers and is recoverable after 2 months of treatment.
  • Grade 3 – complete tearing of muscle fibers. A long treatment of 3 months is needed in this case.
  • Aching calves are caused by varicose veins being pressurized.
  • Cellulite formation from inflammation of tissues.

Treatment of calf Pain?

Depending upon how severe the calf muscle pain is, the treatment is recommended by a therapist. The following steps may be included:

1. Giving complete rest to lower legs till the pain subsides- for at last 2 weeks.

2. Apply cold packs to the affected area 3-4 times daily. A cold compress should be for about 20 minutes each time.

3. For repressing any swelling, an ‘elastic compression bandage’ is effective.

4. Keeping the leg higher than your heart to reduce swelling within 24 hours.

5. Pain relief medications like aspirin are given to let the patient sleep peacefully along with his normal exercises.

6. If you experience calf muscle pain regularly, we recommend purchasing a calf massager for home use. These machines offer relief to your sore muscles in the comfort of your home.

How to Prevent Calf Muscle Pain

If you are starting any activity or exercise it is always advisable to do some stretching exercises. Directly going into an exercise or activity without a proper warm-up is one of the major causes of calf muscle cramps.

Drinking lots of water will prevent calf muscle pain. Remember in the absence of the required amount of water muscles tend to cramp and hence dehydration is one of the major reasons for calf pain.

Electrolytes play a major role in sending messages and impulses to your muscles. Hence if your electrolyte levels are not normal there are very big chances of your being affected with calf muscle cramps.

Whenever you are into a new activity or exercise, it is always better to start easily and comfortably. Scale up your level of activities gradually instead of rushing it through. One step at a time will avoid calf muscle pain.

Last but not least calf muscle pain can be avoided to a great extent by eating healthy foods. Adding foods rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium will go a long way in preventing this calf muscle pain.

Other Causes of Calf Pain

1. Too Much Blood, Too Little Blood

Calf muscles often become sore when they don’t get enough blood, or in some rare instances, too much. Muscles usually hurt because of a buildup of lactic acid, a normal condition we at times experience when exercising. When the blood supply to the muscle is out of whack though, this can be a much more serious problem.

If the calf muscles start to hurt during the normal course of events, say when one is simply walking along, a general deficiency in the supply of blood to the calf muscles may be the problem. If the heart and arteries are not supplying the calf muscles with the blood they need, calf pain can be the result.

The underlying cause is quite often atherosclerosis, more commonly known as hardening of the arteries. At other times, the calf muscles may be getting too much blood, and calf pain will result from that condition as well.

When too much blood is the issue, it is usually a result of a problem in the veins, where the blood, while circulating, is not being moved away from the calf muscles fast enough, and backs up into the muscle.

2. Claudication

An insufficient supply of blood is the far more common of the two and is called claudication, which we experience as cramping, and which is for all practical purposes a heart attack, but in the calf.

Unlike a true heart attack, this condition usually goes away shortly with no damage done, though the pain may be severe for a few minutes. Immediate resting of the calf muscle is the best treatment.

If claudication occurs at rest and occurs frequently, then something more serious is in the works. A condition called thrombophlebitis—an inflammation and clotting in the veins may have developed and is potentially quite serious, as clots can break free from the area of the legs or calf, and travel elsewhere in the body.

3. Calf Strains

Athletic injuries are fortunately more common than the aforementioned causes of calf pain, though still can hurt. There are three defined levels of a calf strain. A level one strain involves microscopic tearing of muscle tissue. Some calf pain or soreness will be experienced at this level, with rest and ice being the prescribed course of treatment.

A level two strain is a more serious tear, much more painful, and often takes a month or two to completely heal. A level three calf strain is one we don’t even want to think about.

There is a general tearing of muscle or tendon, and the associated calf pain can be almost unbearable at first. Whatever the level, rest and ice make up the usual treatment, though, at level 3, surgery may be necessary.

Hopefully, if you ever experience calf pain, it will be the result of going up and down a ladder a dozen times or so, and with a little luck, the pain will not be accompanied by cramping.

Calf Muscle Pain – Reducing The Pain

If you have a leg cramp, the very first things you want to do to alleviate the discomfort would be to;

  • Walk about the wounded leg
  • Massage calf muscle pain lightly
  • Keep your leg straight and flex it toward your knee before you have the leg muscles stretch
  • Put some ice on the affected muscle

For most of us, these pointers could be extremely effective for reducing leg cramps. In certain rare cases, these pointers aren’t effective, and also the discomfort becomes unmanageable. Within this situation, medical assistance is suggested.

How to prevent leg cramps

The most crucial factor you want to do to prevent leg cramps would be to prevent them. So, the initial step to consider would be to conserve the correct posture of the legs throughout sleep. You should attempt a pillow that keeps your leg properly aligned with respect to the way you’d rather sleep. A leg massager is another product that stimulates your muscles and increases blood flow.

Should you sleep lying on your back, you need to keep your ft inside at a greater level compared to the mattress. Should you sleep in your corner you need to use a pillow to keep your legs slightly apart, therefore the leg you are laying on does not receive all of the pressure from the other person’s weight.

Nowadays, many doctors recommend using memory foam pillows since they’re specially made to conserve the correct position of the leg and ft. In so doing, you’ll have the ability to live free from discomfort whenever you awaken and you’ll wake up with a far greater mood for any new day. And that is how to get rid of calf muscle pain fast!

Christine
Christine
Dr Christine Nolan is the CEO and founder of Footdiagnosis.com. She also has extensive clinical experience and is therefore uniquely qualified to detect and manage diseases of the lower extremities including those related to peripheral arterial disease and diabetes.

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