The calf muscle is located in the lower part of the leg and comprises three muscles, one called soleus and two gastrocnemius muscles. All of them form a strong muscular structure which can also, as any other muscle in the body be damaged by different processes. In majority of cases calf muscle swelling results from inadequate exercising. There are many more causes of such condition. Fortunately, most of them are quite benign and cause no serious problems.
What are Causes of Swollen Calf Muscle?
As it has already been mentioned swelling of the calf muscles is generally associated with some kind of sports activity. It is especially common in case one performs repeated stretching. Swollen calf muscle may affect runners, basketball players and people practicing crossing hurdles. Many times the muscle is damaged due to overstretching although the underlying cause of such problem may sometimes be closely connected with fatigue and exposure to cold weather. Torn calf muscle is a condition which is always accompanied by some amount of swelling.
In people suffering from deep vein thrombosis the surrounding tissues of the inflamed and thrombosed vein become swollen. So, if the process of thrombosis affects the lower leg, the calf muscle will be swollen.
Swelling of the calf muscle also affects people suffering from lack of minerals such as magnesium or calcium, compartment syndrome or develops as a result of incorrect posture. And finally, some people may induce such swelling while walking or rolling their feet in abnormal way.
Clinical Characteristics of Swollen Calf Muscle
Depending on the underlying cause of swelling patients suffering from swelling of the calf muscle may report different symptoms. Injuries are generally accompanied by pain and tenderness in the affected area. Pain occurs while standing or walking and may significantly reduce with rest. The calf muscle and surrounding tissues are swollen and may be warm to touch. Soon after the injury the area may start bruising. And, in people suffering from superficial vein thrombosis and varicose veins, the affected blood vessels in the lower part of the leg become prominent and visible.
Treatment for Swollen Calf Muscle
In majority of cases conservative treatment is sufficient enough. The treatment takes care of all the symptoms and signs of the problem and its underlying cause and allows the person to regain the strength of the calf muscle and all its functions.
The one is supposed to rest his/her leg and avoid performing any kind of strenuous activities or sports. Swelling can be significantly reduced with cold compresses. These are applied several times per day for a couple of days. Furthermore, swelling can be controlled with an elastic compression bandage and if the leg is kept in an elevated position. In some cases massage may be helpful. However, prior engaging in this therapy it is good to consult a doctor. Some injuries may even become worse if one undergoes massage.