What Causes Pain and Tightness in the Calf Muscles?

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.

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.