Calf Muscle Spasms and Pain in the Calf Muscles
Calf Muscle Spasm vs Calf Muscle Tightness
A calf muscle spasm can be described as an involuntary tightening of the calf muscle. It is not under your control.
Calf muscle tightness is not the same as calf muscle spasm.
A tight calf muscle can be uncomfortable – calf muscle spasms can be very painful.
Tightness in the calf muscle generally has a gradual onset – calf muscle spasm has a very sudden onset.
Calf muscle tightness can last for several days at a time whereas calf spasms only last for a few seconds or so (generally).
Calf Muscle Spasm Causes
Calf Muscle Spasms and Calf Muscle Cramps are essentially the same thing.
However, for some reason, I think of calf muscle cramps as being associated with non-athletic problems as well as sporting causes.
I somehow only consider calf muscle spasms to be associated with a reaction to athletic activity or protecting a damaged area.
I have no scientific rationale to think this – in fact as I write this I realise that my differentiation may be quite bizarre!
Anyway in my world, spasms in the calf muscle occur during activity especially towards the end of prolonged activity or fairly soon after stopping.
I think of them as being small areas of local fatigue in the muscle.
This can be due to this area of the muscle ‘over-working’ to protect neighbouring muscle fibres (which may be damaged or tight) or perhaps just local fatigue from doing too much.
This local build up of waste products produces pain and spasm in these muscle fibres.
Think of calf muscle spasm as your Gastroc or Soleus muscle telling you that there is a problem and you need to stop or slow down.
Spasms / Cramps can happen after prolonged exercise, especially in hot conditions as sweating produces dehydration in the body.
Sweat consists mainly of water but contains Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium.
A drop in the concentration of any of these chemicals can lead to spasm / cramp in the calf muscle.
Drinking electrolyte drinks will help to minimise this.
Best Stretch for Calf Muscles Pain
Pain in the Calf Muscle
Pain in the calf muscle can come from a Gastroc tear. See Torn / Ruptured Calf Muscle (Grade 3 Strain). This generally affects the medial Gastroc.
Pulled calf muscle symptoms also include pain in the calf muscle (Grade 2 Strain). See Gastroc / Gastrocnemius and Pulled Calf Muscle
A strained calf muscle (Grade 1 Strain) can come from overdoing exercise.
It is easy to get sore calf muscles from running too far too quickly or from suddenly increasing the pace of your runs.
Irritation of the Sciatic nerve (or one of its nerve roots) can cause pain in the calf muscle.
This can be due to a nerve getting pinched by a ‘slipped disc’ of from Piriformis Muscle tightness in the buttock.
Another source of pain in the calf that always has to be considered is inflammation of the veins (phlebitis) or a blood clot formed in the deep veins. See Signs of a Blood Clot in the Leg