Jumping jacks are a traditional method of aerobic exercise that helps you burn calories. However, if you experience pain in your calves -- the muscles on the back of your lower legs -- while performing this exercise, you might be experiencing symptoms of one of numerous possible conditions.
Begin this exercise by standing straight with your legs together and arms at your sides. Jump into the air while simultaneously raising your arms above your head, clapping your hands and landing with your feet spread apart. To return to the starting position, jump your legs back together; and return your arms to your sides. This exercise is performed fairly quickly for someone who is physically fit and at a lesser speed if you're just beginning a fitness regimen.
Tennis leg is a torn gastrocnemius or plantaris -- two major muscles of the back lower leg. A jumping movement may cause this injury, and standing on your tip-toes can especially cause pain or weakness. Talk to your health care provider for possible treatment, which might include cold therapy, elevation of the foot or resting the affected muscles.
If your lower leg pain is localized between your lower calf and your heel, you may be experiencing Achilles tendinitis. This condition occurs from the overuse of the Achilles tendon and pain can be worsened during jumping activities. Your health care provider may suggest nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and swelling, as well as resting your calf and ice therapy.
The largest of your calf muscles is the gastrocnemius. When this muscle is strained -- often referred to as a pulled calf muscle -- it has a partial tear. Activities that require a lot of running or jumping leave athletes susceptible to this type of injury, particularly if too much stress is put on the muscle in a short period. Symptoms of a gastrocnemius strain include pain, stiffness and weakness in the muscle. Common treatments for this injury include cold therapy, elevation, over-the-counter pain medications and rest of the muscle until the partial tear is healed.
Deep vein thrombosis, also referred to as DVT, is a more serious health condition that is often characterized by pain in the calf muscles. While pain from many muscular injuries are more pronounced during certain activities, such as jumping, a DVT may cause pain in the calf muscles at any given time. These potentially dangerous blood clots tend to form in large veins of the legs, causing pain and swelling in the calf muscles, along with a possible warm, discolored area of the skin. Because of the potential health risks of DVT -- pulmonary embolisms and death -- this condition requires immediate medical attention.