Pain and swelling of the calf muscle

Very often people do not pay attention to pain ingastrocnemius muscles - some write off this for prolonged walking, heavy physical labor, women - for wearing shoes with heels. In most cases, this corresponds to reality and does not pose any threat to health. But if the painful sensations in the calves are repeated cyclically or constantly disturb the person, there is a sharp pain in the muscles and their cramps, it is worthwhile to be alerted and undergo a medical examination. Perhaps the reason here is much more serious than simple fatigue.

First, it is necessary to exclude the physiological causes of soreness in the gastrocnemius muscles - those that are considered normal and do not require medical intervention.

Fatigue in the legs, swelling of the ankles and slight pain in thegastrocnemius muscles after their long work - this is a natural defensive reaction of the body. So he signals to the person that it is necessary to rest. As a result of increased muscular work, lactic acid accumulates in the tissues - it is an under-oxidized product of energy metabolism in muscle cells, which causes pain in the calf muscles.

In order for this product-toxic productRemoved from the body, you need rest. After a few hours of rest such pain passes and the person again feels normal. Speeding up this process can be a simple exercise - to give the feet an elevated position. This will improve the outflow of blood from the legs and enrich the arterial blood supply, which will facilitate rapid processing of lactic acid. Also, painful symptoms will pass faster if you take a cool foot bath.

Physiological pain can be considered in cases,if the gastrocnemius muscle is slightly stretched. Treatment in such cases, except rest and rest, is also not required. This situation occurs during sudden movements, when the muscle fibers have not yet had time to relax from the previous contraction, there is a sharp over-stretching (jumping, fast walking, running, etc.). As a rule, athletes complain of this pain. To avoid this, you need to perform an adequate warm-up of the muscles of the lower extremities before each session.

There are many reasons why the calf hurts. Among the most frequent are the following diseases:

  • varicose veins of lower extremities;
  • thrombosis of the veins of the lower leg and their inflammation;
  • atherosclerotic lesions of the arteries of the legs;
  • diseases of gastrocnemius muscles (myositis, myopathy, etc.);
  • infectious pathology;
  • pathology of the musculoskeletal system, in particular the spine;
  • damage to the nerve fibers of the legs;
  • the side effect of certain medications.

Diseases of the veins of the lower extremities

Constant pain in the calf muscles, whicharise in the afternoon, swelling of the ankles are the first symptoms of varicose veins. Disease by such signs can be suspected even before the appearance of visible varicose veins. There is fatigue and pain due to stagnation of blood in the venous leg system. Overcrowded veins and swollen tissue squeeze pain receptors, which causes pain. If you start treatment of varicose at an early stage, you can completely avoid severe consequences in the future.

Thrombophlebitis and phlebothrombosis (inflammation andthrombosis of the tibia) cause a strong throbbing pain in the calf muscles. In addition, there are many symptoms by which these diseases can be recognized. With phlebitis, the skin along the course of the affected vein becomes hot and red, the body temperature rises, symptoms of general malaise appear. In thrombosis, the affected leg is strongly swollen (sometimes twice as long as the contour exceeds the healthy limb), becomes dark red with a bluish tinge. The pain is pronounced.

Treatment of such pathology should be performed by a phlebologist in a hospital setting, since there is a risk of serious complications, up to moist gangrene and limb amputation.

Very often the cause of pain in the gastrocnemius muscleis atherosclerosis. When plaques form in the arteries of the legs, blood flow to the tissues is disturbed, their ischemia develops. A characteristic sign of atherosclerosis of the legs is a symptom of intermittent claudication (with prolonged walking there is a sharp pain in the legs, which causes the patient to stop and rest). You can suspect the disease and the following symptoms:

  • The skin of the shins becomes dry, trophic changes develop;
  • muscles of the calves are atrophied due to a constant lack of oxygen and nutrients;
  • loss of hair shins, fungal nail lesions of the legs;
  • with severe vascular damage, the development of gangrene of the leg is possible.


Atherosclerotic lesions of the arteries of the feet often cause pain in the calf muscles

The cause of soreness of calf muscles can bediseases of the spine - osteochondrosis, intervertebral hernia, pathological bends. Such pain is often lumbago. As a rule, occurs in one leg after a sharp movement, accompanied by a sharp pain in the lower back.

Pain in calves may indicate the defeat of the most muscle tissue of various etiologies:

  • myositis - inflammation of the gastrocnemius muscle;
  • rheumatic fibromyalgia (autoimmune disease, which is accompanied by pain in different muscle groups);
  • parasitic diseases (trichinosis);
  • myopathies - idiopathic pain in muscles.

Sometimes soreness in the legs is not associated withpathology of muscles or blood vessels. The cause of its appearance is the defeat of nerve fibers. As a rule, neuropathic pain is not permanent, it arises abruptly and passes just as quickly, sometimes accompanied by a feeling of numbness or fever in the aching leg.

Often the pain in the calf muscles is simply unbearable, appears suddenly and quickly passes. This phenomenon is called spasms of calves. Causes of seizures can be several:

  • dehydration of the body;
  • deficiency of vitamins and minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium);
  • sharp climate change;
  • prolonged and excessive strain of the leg muscles;
  • pathology of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism);
  • cramps can cause all of the above reasons for chronic pain in calves.

As a rule, convulsions occur at night, withhypothermia, with muscle overstrain or excessive amplitude of motion in the legs. During an attack, muscles become hard and deformed, there is a feeling that they are now ruptured. Last attack from a few seconds to minutes. After the cramps, the pain in the calves will bother you for a few more days, because during the attack the muscles are greatly stretched. Sometimes, in order to speed up the recovery, it is necessary to fix the shin with an elastic bandage.

Treatment of seizures should begin with the provision offirst aid in case of an attack. The first thing that needs to be done is to get together with the spirit and not panic. If trouble happened during sleep, then put your feet together on the cold floor, this will help restore blood circulation in your legs and stop the cramps.

You can also pinch several times for a painful place, start doing a light massage of calf muscles (patting and rubbing).

Sometimes they use a pin or a needle to spasmodic place. This is an effective but dangerous method of first aid, since it can damage the vessels or nerves.

After rendering yourself first aid, it is not necessaryforget about such an incident, especially if the cramps continue regularly. It is necessary to visit a doctor and undergo a diagnostic process to determine the cause of seizures and eliminate it.