Pain below the knee can mean a variety of things, from muscle cramps and shin splints to broken bones and tendinitis, says WebMD. The causes can be muscle- or bone-related or due to problems with veins, arteries and nerves.
Pain in the leg below the knee may be as simple as a muscle cramp, which is usually a temporary pain caused by dehydration, muscle fatigue or heat, explains WebMD. The best way to treat cramps is to drink plenty of water and massage the muscle. If the tendons become torn or inflamed, tendinitis results, causing pain in the area between the lower calf and heel. To manage pain, an individual should ice the area and stretch before physical activity. Like tendinitis, shin splints also occur when connective tissue becomes inflamed and requires similar treatment options.
Pain below the knee can also be a result of a blood clot in a vein, a condition called deep vein thrombosis, according to WebMD. Blood clots usually form as a response to weight gain, certain medications or smoking and can cause problems if the clots travel to other parts of the body. If the valves in the veins become weak, the veins turn dark purple and cause pain, becoming varicose veins. Arteries in the legs that harden or become damaged, often due to diabetes or high blood pressure, cause pain and can result in dead tissue.