Calf pain may be caused due to age associated wear and tear of the calf muscles, ligaments or/and tendons, an injury or over usage of the calf muscles. Upper calf pain is more common, but not of serious concern as no treatment is usually required.
Upper calf pain can be easily treated for minor injuries and over usage, with proper care and a few lifestyle modifications. For sports persons, it means having considerable amount of resting period, between the exertive stages and abstaining from playing heavy sports for prolonged periods. By carefully following these, one can easily avoid pulled muscles and trauma.
In certain cases, upper calf pain can be the symptom of a life threatening disorder, like deep vein thrombosis. On the other hand, upper calf pain can be the sign of peripheral artery disorder that leads to bouts of leg pains, on walking or exerting a little.
Important Causes Of Upper Calf Pain
Wear And Tear During Non Routine Performance
On starting a new exercise or unusual activity, which involves unfamiliar muscles or wearing new set of shoes, may lead to wear and tear of the body, resulting in upper calf pain.
The pain normally subsides on its own, when one keeps repeating that particular activity for a number of times. Continual involvement in that specific activity makes the muscles more accustom and relaxed.
Venous insufficiency is a condition, wherein decreased blood flows from veins of the leg towards the heart, resulting in blood pool within the legs that causes upper calf pain. Though, it usually lasts for a minute or more and usually goes away quickly. It is usually caused by inability of arteries to generate a smooth flow of blood through the body, referred as arterial insufficiency.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis is a condition, where blood clot or thrombus develops deep in the upper calves of the legs. If the clot breaks off and rushes upstream, it may lead to serious complications like stroke, pulmonary embolism or heart attack.
Deep vein thrombosis may occur during prolonged sitting periods, while travelling long distances, by chair car or airplane. The usual symptoms include upper calf pain, leg cramps, redness, swelling and increased temperature of the affected region.
Bruised Calf Muscles
Calf contusion or a bruised calf muscle may cause pain in the upper calf. Bruised calf muscles are the usual injuries amongst athletes, sportspersons of hockey or football. The calf muscles may get crushed against the shin bone or tibia, leading to breakage of blood vessel or damage of muscle fibers. In case, right treatment is not provided, it could lead to myositis ossificans, causing calcification of injured muscles. Common symptoms include swelling, pain, bruising and reduced ankle or knee flexibility.
In intermittent claudication, the flow of blood is obstructed, even during resting phase or sleeping. This usually does not demand any treatment, but in certain serious cases, it may lead to ulcers, intense upper calf pain or gangrene.
Popliteal cyst or baker’s cyst is manifested, when a small fluid sac (bursa) that lubricates the joint at the back of the knee, gets swollen, leading to upper calf pain. The round swelling appears as a golf ball at the backside of the knee, putting pressure on upper calves and the knee. It results in reduced knee joint motion, leading to tenderness and aches in the affected portion.