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Causes of Right Calf Swelling

author image Kathleen Blanchard, R.N.
Kathleen Blanchard is a registered nurse, with more than 10 years of experience in cardiovascular health, emergency room and ICU. She writes professionally for Emaxhealth.com. and AskMen.com. Blanchard is currently employed as a senior case manager and has held certification as a critical care registered nurse (CCRN), advanced trauma life support (ATLS), and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).
Causes of Right Calf Swelling
Calf swelling can have several causes. Photo Credit legs image by Stefan Jovanovic from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Right calf swelling has several causes. Symptoms of swelling in the right or left calf can be accompanied by other symptoms. A medical doctor should be consulted in all instances for a diagnosis and treatment. Swelling in the calf accompanied by pain, redness or bruising from an unknown cause could be a sign of a medical problem that could become serious without treatment.


Bacterial skin infection known as cellulitis can cause calf swelling. Other symptoms include pain, warmth to the touch and redness. The leg is commonly affected. Any break in the skin can lead to infection, including minor scratches, bites, cuts or skin damage. Cellulitis can also occur with no apparent reason. People with eczema, athlete&#039;s foot, diabetes, edema, obesity or with compromised immunity are most vulnerable to skin infections. Without antibiotic treatment, skin infections can enter the bloodstream and cause serious illness.

Muscle Injury

Injury to the calf muscle caused by strain leads to swelling. Bruising might be present. Strain occurs when the muscle fibers tear. If the calf muscle is partially or completely torn, bruising swelling and pain are present. Rupture can sometimes be obvious if the muscle "balls up" at the top of the calf.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

A common cause of calf swelling is deep vein thrombosis, also called DVT. Thrombosis is another name for a blood clot. In addition to swelling, the calf is usually painful to the touch. Blood clots that form in the leg can occur from prolonged sitting, poor circulation, blood clotting disorders, surgery or prolonged illness requiring bed rest, injury or insult from surgery and certain types of cancer or cancer treatment that increase the propensity toward blood clotting. Smoking, family history and obesity are additional risk factors for DVT.

Ruptured Baker&#039;s Cyst

Baker&rsquo;s cysts can lead to swelling in one calf. The condition is associated with arthritis that occurs later in life or comes from trauma. Another name is a politeal cyst. A fluid filled sac forms when too much fluid forms in the knee joint, causing bulging behind the knee. If the cyst ruptures, calf swelling follows. Baker&rsquo;s cysts can be mistaken for blood clots. A physician&rsquo;s exam can determine the appropriate treatment that is determined by the amount of pain and disability caused by the ruptured cyst.


Lymphedema occurs when the flow of fluid is blocked in the leg. In the beginning stages foot, ankle and calf swelling are present. Without treatment, lymphedema becomes progressively worse. The lymphatic circulation helps remove toxins from the body. Lymphedema can occur following surgery to remove the lymph nodes and is common in the upper extremity after breast cancer surgery. Bacteria and parasitic infection, cancerous tumors and radiation treatment for cancer that causes damage the lymphatic circulation can also result in calf swelling from lymphedema.

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