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What causes pain and tightness in the calf muscles?

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Quick Answer

Pain and tightness in the calf muscles may be caused by muscle fatigue, dehydration, heat or muscle cramps commonly known as a "charley horse," according to WebMD. A person may also experience pain in the calf muscles when muscles and connective tissues along the shin bone are inflamed.

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Full Answer

People also experience tightness and pain in the calf muscles with tendinitis when tendons or muscles become inflamed or torn. A fracture or broken bone may cause pain and tightness within the calves in addition to a sprain, which is a result of ligaments overstretching, explains WebMD. It is also possible to experience pain in the calves when a blood clot develops in a vein located near the lower leg or thigh. Varicose veins that weaken valves and vein walls may cause a dull ache in the lower leg as well as a visible dark blue or purple set of veins on the legs.

If the skin is red, swollen, warm or tender, the pain and tightness in the calves may be a result of a soft tissue infection, notes WebMD. In addition, a lower extremity peripheral arterial disease may also be the cause of calf pain as the lining of the leg arteries becomes hardened and damaged.

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