Calf Pain
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Reviewed By:

Kent C Doan, MD

Kent C Doan, MD (Orthopedics)

Dr Doan Graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine and completed residency training in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Colorado. He completed additional fellowship training in Orthopedic Sports Medicine at the prestigious Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colorado. He is a practicing Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in complex and revision knee and shoulder surgery at the Kansas City Orthopedic Institute. He also holds an assistant professorship at the University of Kansas City.

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD (Orthopedics)

Dr. Hamahata graduated from the Jikei University of Medical Science. After working at Asanokawa General Hospital and Kosei Chuo Hospital, he joined the Department of Orthopedics at Asakusa Hospital in April 2021, specializing in general orthopedics and joint replacement surgery.

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Content updated on Apr 4, 2024

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  • Calf pain when keeping still or resting

  • Have calf pain

  • Calf pain even if keeping still

  • My calf hurts

  • Calf hurts at rest

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About the Symptom

Calf pain may affect either or both calves. The calf is the back of the lower leg. The pain may be pressing, sharp or dull in nature.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Swelling of the affected area

  • Lower leg edema

  • Edema

  • Infections in the past 3 months

Possible Causes

Generally, Calf pain can be related to:

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

    A condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually affecting the legs. The blood clot impairs blood circulation. Sometimes, the clots can dislodge and travel to an artery in your lung, which is a medical emergency.

  • Lumbar Vertebrae Disk Herniation

    Also known as a slipped disc, this condition is characterized by injury to the cushioning discs between the spinal bones in the lower back (lumbar vertabrae) that causes the disc to bulge outward or rupture. The disc bulge puts pressure on adjacent nerves, which causes pain, leg weakness, or numbness. Poor posture, exercising with incorrect form, or occasionally benign non-lifting movement are some possible causes of this disorder.

  • Neuropathic Pain

    Neuropathic pain is usually caused by an injury, disease, or problem with the somatosensory nervous system. This is a common long-term pain condition that greatly affects a person's quality of life. The nerves in this system are what let us feel things like temperature, pressure, and pain. This type of pain often feels like a burning, tingling, sharp, or stabbing sensation. It can be triggered by light touch or cold, and can be constant or come and go. It can also get worse when resting or at night. Neuropathic pain is often caused by viral infections like post-herpetic neuralgia, cancer, blood vessel abnormalities, alcoholism, diabetes, nerve pressure, nerve damage from surgery or accidents, and neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis and shingles.

  • Lumbar Spondylosis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Osteoporosis
  • Acquired Hemophilia

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Calf pain may be related to these serious diseases:

  • Venous Embolism

    Venous embolism is a condition where a venous clot travels from one location to another. Most commonly, this happens when a deep venous thrombosis (clot) develops in the larger veins of the leg, breaks off, and travels to the lungs (the clot is now called a pulmonary embolism). Causes of venous thrombosis include recent surgery, spinal cord injury or other reasons for immobility, hip or leg fractures or other trauma, cancers, heart failure, stroke, obesity, and inherited risk factors like gene mutations causing blood to clot more easily.

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Do you have pain in your calf?

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Find Similar Symptoms

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References

  • Lee SJ, Kim OH, Choo HJ, Park JH, Park YM, Jeong HW, Lee SM, Cho KH, Choi JA, Jacobson JA. Ultrasonographic findings of the various diseases presenting as calf pain. Clin Imaging. 2016 Jan-Feb;40(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2015.09.015. Epub 2015 Sep 24. PMID: 26490092.

    https://www.clinicalimaging.org/article/S0899-7071(15)00245-4/fulltext

Reviewed By:

Kent C Doan, MD

Kent C Doan, MD (Orthopedics)

Dr Doan Graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine and completed residency training in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Colorado. He completed additional fellowship training in Orthopedic Sports Medicine at the prestigious Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colorado. He is a practicing Orthopedic Surgeon who specializes in complex and revision knee and shoulder surgery at the Kansas City Orthopedic Institute. He also holds an assistant professorship at the University of Kansas City.

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD

Tomohiro Hamahata, MD (Orthopedics)

Dr. Hamahata graduated from the Jikei University of Medical Science. After working at Asanokawa General Hospital and Kosei Chuo Hospital, he joined the Department of Orthopedics at Asakusa Hospital in April 2021, specializing in general orthopedics and joint replacement surgery.

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