Thursday, February 02, 2023

Thursday Thirteen

Since pain in the calf of my leg is something I'm currently dealing with, I thought I'd offer up some information on it. This comes from

Calf muscle pain can have a variety of causes, including:

1. Claudication: Narrowed arteries can prevent your calf muscles from receiving enough blood, which deprives them of oxygen. Intermittent claudication can cause muscle pain when you exercise or walk. It’s especially common in people who smoke or who have diabetes or peripheral artery disease (PAD).

2. Contusions: A direct blow to a muscle, such as a kick in the calf, can damage your muscle tissue without breaking your skin. Calf contusions usually cause bruising and soreness. Severe contusions can lead to compartment syndrome, a dangerous condition that prevents blood from getting to your leg muscles.

3. Cramps: Leg cramps occur when the muscles suddenly contract (shorten), causing a painful muscle spasm. A calf cramp is often called a “charley horse.” Cramps can be the result of dehydration or overexertion. A cramp might last for just a few seconds, but your muscle can feel sore for hours afterward. Leg cramps and calf muscle pain at night are very common.

4. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): In rare cases, what seems like calf muscle pain can actually be DVT. This is a serious condition that causes a blood clot to form in your lower leg. It can lead to a pulmonary embolism, which is life-threatening.

5. Strains: A pulled calf muscle, or a calf muscle strain, occurs when you overstretch your calf muscles. Severe overstretching can cause a torn calf muscle.

6. Tendonitis: Tendons attach your calf muscles to bones in your leg. Tendonitis (tendon inflammation) can put pressure on your calf muscle or make it painful for the muscle to work.

7. This is my own addition: a superficial vein thrombosis (SVT), because I've had those.


You can usually treat mild calf muscle pain at home using the RICE method:

8. Rest: Avoid walking or running with calf muscle pain. Don’t push through pain, which can make the problem worse.

9. Ice: Put an ice pack or cold compress on your calf muscles for 20 minutes every two hours. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin.

10. Compression: Apply a compression bandage or wrap to your calf. Compression helps reduce blood flow to the painful area and minimize swelling.

11. Elevation: Lift your leg into an elevated position, preferably above the level of your heart. Support the entire length of your leg with pillows, blankets or cushions.

12. If you have sore calves from a muscle cramp or feel a painful knot in your calf muscle, it may help to gently stretch your calf.

13. Other things that may help: pain relievers, physical therapy, soft cast or boot to immobilize your lower leg in the case of a strain or tear.

Additional information:

If your healthcare provider determines your calf muscle pain is the result of claudication, treatments may include:

Diet modification to reduce your intake of sodium (salt), cholesterol, saturated fat and sugar.


Medications to manage high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

Medication to prevent or treat blood clots.

Medications to improve blood flow in the legs.

Quitting smoking and using tobacco products.


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while, and this is my 793rd time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.


  1. I get a lot more Charlie Horse type cramps, have to jump up and press the area flat. Used to be only in my feet but now it can be almost anywhere. I hope you find out what is causing your pain.

  2. 793!! Wow.. I definitely get those cramps you called Charlie Horses... And have tried stretching when it happens but not too effective.. I should try elevation and see.. And I also have heard that they can happen with a drop in potassium levels so eating a banana might help though I never remember it when I get those pains :)

  3. I have Restless Leg Syndrome as a side-effect of a medication and it causes me to have cramps occasionally--and when I do, they're horrible!

  4. Charlie Horse is a such a friendly, benign name for something so sudden, scary and freaking painful. When I got them all the time, I found that placing the ice pack on the small of my back helped. Also Salonpas back patches. But then the cause of mine is spinal stenosis.


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