Calf Pain – Causes, Home Remedies, and Prevention to alleviate it
At some point in your lives, you must surely experience discomfort in your lower leg. From sporting activities to continuous illnesses, there are many reasons to experience discomfort in legs. However, at times the pain can be intense enough to make everyday tasks seem like daunting tasks. Leg or calf injuries are more severe as they hinder even the tiny task like getting up in the morning.
Calf pain can be described as a sensation of pain that runs down the feets. The calves in our body are ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons and veins. As the calves are composed of so many muscles and veins, it can be the possible reasons for discomfort.
In this article we will discuss what the calf muscle pain feels like and later we will talk about some causes and various remedies for calf pain.
So, keep reading!
What calf pain feels like
The calf is made up of two muscles namely gastrocnemius and the soleus. These muscles connect at the Achilles tendon, which connects directly to the heel.
For some people experiencing calf pain can feel like the sensation of aching, dull or a sharp pain in the lower leg’s back. Seldom, it is also accompanied by tightness.
The signs that may suggest a more serious condition includes:
- A rare coolness or paleness in the calf
- A tingling or numbing sensation within the calves
- Weakening of the leg
- Fluid retention
- Redness and the tenderness of the calves
If these are something you are facing then do consider consulting a Chronic Pain Specialist as only they can help you get relief.
Causes of Calf Pain
Calf pain could be due to various causes and may be a sign of other health issues. And it is quite challenging to alleviate calf pain by yourself. However, there are instances that require medical attention immediately.
There are many causes for the pain in the calf, which could be due to foot problems, cramps, and muscles that are overworked. While some conditions are minor and treatable by home remedies, other cases are more severe and require urgent attention.
Here are some causes and conditions that may be related to the pain of the calf and need attention.
1) Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
The reason for this is blood clotting within the deep vein of the leg and in the calf itself. There are a variety of circumstances and causes that can cause DVT such as smoking, drug-related problems, or prolonged sitting in a row.
Some of the symptoms of DVT are:
- Calf warm sensation
- Skin discoloration
- Leg tenderness
- Swelling of the affected area
- Veins are becoming more noticeable
It is crucial to seek immediate medical assistance if any of the listed symptoms are present.
2) Muscle Cramps
They can be painful and abrupt muscle contractions that can last for a few minutes or hours. Muscle cramps are frequent and usually occur while performing intense exercise. They can be caused due to mineral deficiencies or muscle injuries, as well as dehydration.
Muscle cramps that are chronic and persistent however, may be caused by:
- Peripheral Vascular disease
- Kidney failure
In extreme situations, a reduced blood flow to different body parts as well as other medical conditions may cause muscle cramps.
3) Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN)
It is a form of nerve damage that can affect your arms, hands as well as your legs and feet. DPN is an extremely common diabetes complication that results from overexposure to neuroinflammation, genetic influences and a higher level of blood sugar.
A few of the most common symptoms of DPN include the following:
- Inability to feel temperature fluctuations and discomfort
- Balance and coordination are lost
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Sharp pain
A contusion, also known as a bruise is caused by trauma, such as a blow or fall. The injury causes capillaries under the skin to explode which results in discoloration. Most bruises heal by themselves.
If you have any then consult a professional practitioner for any unidentified bruises or bruises that return in the same spot without injury.
Sciatica results from problems that affect the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve is responsible for controlling muscles located in the lower leg and the back of the knee. It may cause the sensation of numbness, pain, or feeling of tingling within the back of your lower leg. It can extend across the leg until the calf as well as other muscles.
Treatment for lower levels of pain can include:
- Cold or hot packs
- OTC pain medicine
- Physiotherapy Manchester
- Avoiding prolonged standing or sitting
6) Achilles tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is caused by excessive use, strain or stress upon the Achilles tendon that connects the plantaris gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to the ankle’s back.
The most common symptoms are Inflammation of the tendon, stiffness at that leg’s back, and simple home treatments can help.
They could include:
- Reducing the intensity of activities
- Using OTC medications for pain
If the home remedy doesn’t help or the pain gets worse it’s crucial to visit an expert.
If any of the symptoms mentioned above occur it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Home Remedies for Leg Pain
For a quick and effective way to get rid of any pain is to switch to the over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, such as diclofenac sodium and ibuprofen. The muscle relaxants like Tramadol can also help reduce the tension in your muscles.
However if not medications then below are a few home remedies that can help you
Here are a few of the most effective home remedies to instantly relieve from calf pain resulting from minor injuries:
1) RICE Method
RICE treatment treatment known as RICE therapy is a basic self-care technique to ease leg pain.
As muscle sprains are an extremely common reason for leg discomfort. Resting and restricting movement can facilitate healing of the injured tissues and can result in relief from pain.
You can apply ice or a cold pack on the affected area to relieve pain. Applying cold can reduce inflammation in the leg and eases discomfort.
You can apply a bandage to the leg to lessen swelling.
The compression is particularly helpful when you have varicose veins.
Make sure your leg is elevated to relieve discomfort.
Placing pillows below your legs while on bed can help reduce stress on your legs.
2) Stay Hydrated
The condition of dehydration has been associated with muscle cramps that last for a long time. Dehydration and electrolyte depletion for marathon runners can cause leg cramps in the muscles. Thus, you can reduce those symptoms simply by drinking an adequate amount of water. Be careful not to go overboard when drinking too much water since it may cause kidney damage.
3) Try Heat Therapy
Applying heat to muscles that are tense and tight may relieve tension, and studies have shown that it closes the pain receptors and relieves muscle tension. A superficial heat therapy treatment has proven to be effective in relieving pain for patients suffering from knee injuries and osteoarthritis.
The therapy of heat wrap is effective for treating leg pain caused by low back pain (LBP). Some patients can find relief by using cold and hot therapy in a series.
4) Try Massage Therapy
A massage by an expert massage therapist has numerous therapeutic effects on the body. Massage can boost the flow of blood in the muscles that are affected. The increased blood flow eliminates the inflammation and the pain.
Patients who experience leg discomfort due to low back pain (LBP) are able to benefit from this easy remedy. The treatment additionally reduces anxiety and stress.
5) Stretches and Exercise
In many instances, weak muscles are the reason for leg discomfort. The inactive lifestyle can reduce blood flow to the legs which can cause frequent spasms, cramps, or nerve impingements. Exercises that are light and stretching can help strengthen the torso, abdominal muscles, and leg muscles. This can help prevent calf pain over the long haul.
6) Make sure you follow an anti-inflammatory diet
Following a diet that is anti-inflammatory is the most effective way to relieve the pain and aches in your calves. Garlic, ginger and turmeric are well-known to have anti-inflammatory qualities.
Multiple studies have confirmed the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties of ginger. According to an meta-analysis the extracts of turmeric are proven to alleviate the pain and symptoms associated with arthritis. Therefore, a significant reduction in pain is possible for knee osteoarthritis patients.
Physiotherapy is the most effective treatment for painful calf muscles.
It is a part of any muscle related treatment, regardless of the root cause. A professional practitioner will plan out a routine of stretches and strengthening exercises to ensure that you’re not suffering from the calf muscle every day.
Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid the pain in your calf:
1) Mobility work
Maintaining your calf muscles and ankle active through exercises like the stretching or moving joints could aid in the prevention of calf pain.
Taking a break from exercise between workouts can facilitate the growth and repair of muscles.
Include a warm-up prior to exercising and then a cool-down to loosen muscles and avoid any future injuries.
4) Consider wearing proper shoes
Make sure the shoes you put on for exercise offer enough support particularly when you jog or run to exercise.
5) Gradually increase exercise
Increase your exercise gradually.
If you’re a novice to a certain exercise or expanding the duration of your workout, make sure to increase it slowly. The increase in your exercise level abruptly could cause injuries.
If you have been suffering from symptoms for longer than six months and are affecting your daily activities, it is highly recommended to consult a physiotherapist or a doctor.
Serious symptoms of any muscle pain should not be kept unsolved for a longer time. At CT Clinic, we have also designed a customized COPA therapy for effective recovery.
For the best muscle strengthening assistance, contact us and book an appointment now!