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The calf is the lower back of your foot which consists of many muscles. There are three main constituent muscles of the calf, namely the medial muscle, lateral muscle, and soleus muscle that attaches to the tibia and fibia bone. Every movement such as standing, running, or squatting requires coordination of the bones and muscles.
When you feel pain in the calf while doing these movements, chances are there is a medical condition that causes it. What are the causes of painful calves and how to overcome them? Come on, see the explanation below.
Get to know the pain in the calf
The pain in the calves varies from person to person, usually including a feeling of tingling. Some of the symptoms below can indicate more severe conditions, such as:
- Swelling occurs
- Cold or numb feeling in the calf
- Changes in the color of the calf, look paler
- Tingling or numbness in the calf
- Legs and calves feel weak
- Fluid accumulation in the calf
- Reddish calf and warm
Some medical conditions that cause calf pain
1. Muscle cramps
Cramps in the calf muscles are the most common cause of pain calves. Usually, this condition occurs during exercise or after exercise. For example, when you are dehydrated, lack of electrolytes in the body, lack of warm-up training, or exercise for too long so the muscles become weak.
2. Tense muscles
Medial gastronecmius is the part of the calf muscle that is most often injured. Usually caused by a partial or complete tear of the muscle fibers. The symptoms vary but most people experience sudden pain and pain in the calf muscle area because the muscles become tense.
This condition occurs due to muscle fatigue due to overuse. Physical exercises such as running, swimming, cycling, and lifting weights can cause the muscles to get a lot of pressure so they become tense and eventually tear.
3. Plantar fasciitis
Plantaris muscle is a small and thin muscle that is at the bottom of the foot. If the calf muscle is under a lot of pressure, the plantaris muscle can rupture and cause pain in the back of the leg that radiates to the calf. This condition is called plantar fasciitis and causes leg pain when standing and difficulty in stretching the legs.
4. Achilles tendonitis
The Achilles tendon is a connective tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel. If there is extra pressure in the calf muscle, the Achilles tendon can rupture. Symptoms include calf pain, swelling, and difficulty stretching your legs.
Sciatica or hip pain occurs because the sciative nerves experience interference. The sciatic nerve is a nerve that controls muscles in the lower leg and behind the knee. This condition causes pain, numbness and tingling in the lower back which can then spread to the calf muscles and other muscles.
6. Arterial claudication
A person can experience calf pain due to constriction or blockage in the ateri which supplies blood flow to the legs. This condition is called arterial claudication, which causes pain in the calves, thighs, lower back, and buttocks.
Pain can disappear when resting but will reappear after a few minutes of walking. This happens because the arteries need oxygen intake when making movements.
7. Compartment syndrome
Compartment syndrome is an injury to the calf muscles due to excess blood or fluid that builds up so that the legs cannot stretch properly. This excessive fluid puts extra pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the lower leg.
This causes calf pain, swelling, numbness and tingling. Usually this happens when you experience a foot injury during exercise or trauma to the foot due to an accident.
8. Diabetic neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy occurs when people with diabetes experience complications or damage to the nerves. High sugar levels can damage the body's nerves, usually on the hands and feet. Symptoms include muscle cramps, weak muscles, loss of balance, numbness, and of course severe pain in the affected part of the nerve.
9. Varicose veins
Varicose veins are enlarged blood vessels that often protrude from the legs and may look like a rope. They develop when a damaged valve in a person's blood vessels allows blood to flow again. This condition causes muscle cramps and throbbing legs accompanied by pain.
10. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
A blood clot that forms in one vein in the leg causes DVT. This condition causes severe pain, swelling, and discoloration of the skin of the foot.
Usually this condition is owned by people with high blood pressure, blood clotting disorders, complications of long-term drug use, sitting too long, or having a smoking habit.
How do you deal with painful calves?
The way you deal with calf pain depends on the underlying cause. Check with your doctor if the pain in your calf is very annoying to you and doesn't heal. However, the following steps can help you relieve sore calves, such as:
- Rest your feet first from physical activity.
- Compress the calf with ice cubes for 10-15 minutes every time the pain appears.
- Immediately wrap with cloth if your ankle or calf is injured.
- When sleeping, give a pedestal like a cushion to help improve blood circulation and reduce swelling.
- Stretch your legs before exercising. This is important to avoid foot injuries.
- Increase the intensity of exercise or physical activity gradually, not suddenly. This is useful for training the preparation of leg muscles with the pressure that results from exercise.