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Whether running, walking, climbing stairs or resting, calf pain can occur in a wide variety of situations and can be very uncomfortable for those affected. In most cases, pain is triggered by overexertion or poor posture, which can sometimes become so severe that physical activity or even normal walking without restrictions becomes impossible.
In addition, calf pain can also be caused by a serious condition such as thrombosis or a circulatory disorder such as peripheral arterial disease. Accordingly, if severe pain suddenly occurs and symptoms persist or recur frequently, sufferers should consult a doctor to determine the exact cause.
Calf pain can have harmless, but also serious causes. Pain in the calves is common and is described as probing and/or pulling, moreover, in most cases, the discomfort is aggravated by physical activity such as sports or climbing stairs. However, calf pain can also occur at rest, the best example being calf cramps that occur suddenly at night or after prolonged immobilization. The symptoms can be basically persistent, but can also occur repeatedly in short attacks. They often occur after a heavy load on the muscles, for example after a long run or a mountain hike.
Calf pain often does not “stay alone”, but other symptoms occur simultaneously, such as pain in the hip, foot, knee, Achilles tendon or ankle. In many cases, there is also a feeling of numbness or tingling in the calves, and in some cases those affected also have the feeling that they can no longer keep their legs still.
Calf pain is not uncommon in physiotherapy practice. They are particularly common in athletes such as runners and cyclists. However, less physically active people can also suffer from calf pain. In addition to the cause, the way the symptoms manifest themselves also differs: They can be felt as tingling or burning sensations and last for different lengths of time. Which treatment is the right one depends on the trigger. Therefore, it is important to first know the function of the calf muscles in order to then determine the type and cause of the discomfort.
Physiotherapy uses different methods to treat calf pain. Which one is better depends primarily on the cause of the discomfort. In addition to the classic physiotherapy treatment with manual therapy, the so-called fascia therapy (myofascial release) is possible. With the help of special manual pressure techniques, blockages, incorrect movement patterns and stuck fascia can be released. This can be helpful in the area of the lower leg that is most painful, as well as other areas related to the lower leg that may be causing discomfort.
Shock wave therapy can help relieve muscle tension. Kinesio taping can also have a positive effect on muscle tension and function and relieve pain. Depending on the type and cause of the pain, laser therapy may also be appropriate. Targeted irradiation with a beam of light of different wavelengths and energy levels can relieve pain and stimulate the body’s self-healing powers.