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What does severe pain in the calf mean?

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Quick Answer

Possible causes of calf pain, which sometimes becomes debilitating and leads to difficulty in walking or putting weight on the leg, include peripheral artery disease and deep vein thrombosis, according to Healthgrades. Abnormal processes, such as blood circulation problems or infectious diseases, are also potential causes.

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Full Answer

In most cases, calf pain results from an injury, overuse, or natural wear and tear on the calf ligaments, tendons and muscles, explains Healthgrades. The pain may also result from a muscle cramp if it is not associated with trauma or accompanying symptoms. Pain that manifests as a prickling or burning sensation is known as paresthesia.

Strains, sprains, a torn muscle or ligament, and laceration are injuries that can lead to calf pain, states Healthgrades. Some people experience calf pain due to an infected wound, a sore or a skin infection, while others suffer the pain due to varicose veins, tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis or nerve entrapment.

Pain behind the knee or in the upper calf indicates deep-vein thrombosis, a deep blood clot that increases the risk of stroke, heart attack or pulmonary embolism, notes Healthgrades. Intermittent leg pain, especially when walking or doing mild activities, may signal peripheral artery disease. It is crucial to contact a physician immediately if a person suffers calf pain after mild exertion or experiences a warm, red and swollen calf.

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