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Pain in the calf muscles: causes, treatment and preventive measures
Pain in the calf muscles: causes, treatment and preventive measures

Often people do not pay attention to recurring pain in the muscles of the legs. Blaming them on the result of long walking or wearing heels, they postpone treatment for many months until the symptoms become a lot of inconvenience. Pain in the gastrocnemius muscle, the causes of which may have different reasons, often becomes a harbinger of vascular disease, myositis (inflammation of the muscles), as well as problems with the spine.

In order to prevent serious consequences, it is important to see a doctor in time. If the cause of pain when walking is not just fatigue, it must be eliminated using special methods. How does pain in the gastrocnemius muscle occur: are there any reasons, how to treat it, can it be prevented?


Muscle pain when walking can appear suddenly, last for several hours or even days. They are accompanied by cramps, redness of the skin, sometimes - fever and general malaise.

Low back pain often appears. Such symptoms indicate the need to see a doctor.


The causes of pain are associated with physiological and pathological processes in the body. Depending on the group of diseases, special treatment is prescribed. Often the calf muscle on one leg hurts badly. This is due to both overstrain of the limb and serious illnesses.


If the calf muscles hurt, the reasons may lie in banal overwork. In such cases, the intervention of doctors is not required. The pains are caused by natural processes. Ankle swelling, muscle pain when walking, and fatigue signal that you need to rest. During intense exertion, lactic acid accumulates in the muscles, which is excreted only after the cessation of physical work. A few hours of rest can restore the working capacity of the muscles and relieve a person of pain.

To speed up the process of getting rid of unpleasant sensations, it is worth lying on the bed with your legs thrown higher. This improves blood flow and enriches arterial circulation. The outflow of lactic acid is faster.

Another physiological reason why the gastrocnemius muscle hurts is its stretching. In this case, rest and rest is also necessary. A muscle can stretch if a sudden movement occurs against the background of a previous load. The pain appears both in athletes and in amateurs to engage in physically active activities. Before each workout, you should do a light warm-up.


There are also a number of reasons caused by serious diseases of the blood vessels, spine and nervous system. The main ones are:

  • varicose veins;
  • inflammation of the lower leg, blood clots;
  • pathology of an infectious nature;
  • atherosclerosis of the arteries of the legs;
  • spine pathology;
  • pathology of nerve fibers.

Such diseases manifest themselves long before the onset of pain in the calves. Unpleasant symptoms that appear in the evening are most often accompanied by swelling of the ankles and are the first signs of varicose veins. The blood stagnates in the lower extremities, which causes painful sensations - the swollen tissues press on the nerve endings. Complications can be avoided with timely treatment. What to do if the calf muscle has been hurting for several days? You should urgently consult a specialist.

Thrombosis and inflammation

Blood clots and inflammation of the calf muscles can cause painful symptoms in the calves. The pain is often severe, throbbing. There are other symptoms as well. With inflammation along the path of the affected vein, the skin temperature rises, the integument acquires a reddish tint. Malaise appears, the temperature rises. The main sign of thrombosis is pronounced swelling of the leg. A dark red and bluish color of the skin appears.

Treatment of such diseases is carried out by a phlebologist in a hospital. It is not recommended to eliminate symptoms on your own - this threatens the development of gangrene.

Arterial disease

A common cause of pain is the development of atherosclerosis. Plaque builds up in the arteries of the legs and prevents normal blood flow. Sometimes pain in the calf muscles is a symptom of a disease that should be treated immediately.

Arterial disease has the following symptoms:

  • due to oxygen starvation, the muscles of the calves of one leg may atrophy;
  • the skin on the ankle becomes dry;
  • hair falls out from the lower leg;
  • the nails are affected by the fungus;
  • severe vascular lesions cause gangrene of the limb.

Such arterial diseases are treated only with the participation of a doctor.

Spine pathology

Osteochondrosis is a common cause of pain in the gastrocnemius muscle. Often, symptoms appear with various curvatures, intervertebral hernia. This pain is distinguished by a special nature - it sharply "shoots" the muscle after the start of the movement. It is accompanied by sharp pain symptoms in the lumbar region.

Muscle lesions

Pain in the lower leg area may indicate direct muscle damage. This could be:

  • myositis - inflammatory processes;
  • rheumatic fibromyalgia - is an autoimmune disease (associated with impaired immune function);
  • parasitic disease.
  • myopathy - idiopathic pain, the cause of which cannot be established;

Often, pain in the calf muscles is in no way associated with damage to the muscles and blood vessels. In this case, damage to the nervous system is possible.


Often the pain comes on suddenly and also goes away abruptly. This is called a seizure. Causes:

  • dehydration;
  • change of the climatic zone;
  • deficiency of vitamins and minerals;
  • thyroid disease;
  • prolonged tension of the calf muscles;

Convulsions appear after hypothermia, a sharp increase in the amplitude of leg movements. The attack lasts for a few seconds or minutes. When the calf muscle hurts after a convulsion, you need to massage it.

Treatment methods

To get rid of pain, you should first consult a specialist, since only he is able to establish the true cause of the ailment.

If pain occurs when walking, treatment may well be only symptomatic, because often the reason lies in flat feet or osteochondrosis.

In cases where pain causes problems with veins, you should definitely seek the advice of a phlebologist. In accordance with the stage and type of the disease, he will prescribe the necessary ointments (for example, heparin, ichthyol ointment, Troxevasin), gels (Lyoton, Fastum-gel), oral preparations (Phlebodia 600, Detralex, Venarus) or recommend surgery (usually such operations are easy and without serious consequences).

It is also worth wearing the right shoes. It should be comfortable and practical. Women should not wear high heels and stilettos.

For treatment, special bandages are often prescribed. Treatment of pain in the calf muscle that occurs when walking is carried out exclusively under the supervision of a professional.


For prevention, several recommendations should be followed:

  • reduce the consumption of sugar and coffee to a minimum;
  • give up smoking and alcohol;
  • consume vitamins and minerals daily;
  • eat foods rich in calcium and magnesium;
  • hardening.

Such recommendations will help prevent pain in the calf muscles, and will contribute to a speedy recovery.


Calf pains appear as a result of overstrain, diseases of the muscles, nerve fibers and blood vessels of the lower extremities. Determination of the cause and treatment of pain in the calf muscles should be entrusted to a professional. Elimination of pain consists in treating the diseases that caused the unpleasant symptom. Prevention includes wearing comfortable shoes, making the right diet, and hardening.

If you follow the doctor's recommendations and do not engage in unreasonable self-medication, the pain will quickly go away, and the muscles will recover.

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