Pain in your calf and hamstring may result from a direct injury, such as landing on your knee, or from repetitive movements, like running on a slanted surface or kneeling down. Include a regular weight training program of leg exercises, such as squats and leg curls, into your daily routine to enhance the strength of your leg muscles, bones and joints, and reduce your risk of calf and hamstring pain.
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Calf and hamstring pain can be caused by sciatica, a condition in which your sciatic nerve is irritated. A pulled hamstring muscle near your knee joint or a pulled calf muscle near the knee induces pain. The bursas lubricating and cushioning your knee joint and the pelvic attachment of your hamstring muscle can become irritated and swollen, causing pain. A complete rupture of your hamstring tendons near your knee joint generates pain in the hamstring and calf muscles.
If your sciatic nerve is irritated by a bulging disc in your back or a tight piriformis muscle under your buttocks, you will feel pain through your hamstring all the way down to the bottom of one foot. You may also have numbness and tingling down the posterior aspect of your leg which may also travel to the bottom of your foot. The pain from an inflamed bursa may spread from the location of the bursa through your nearby calf and hamstring muscles. Sprains, strains and ruptures to your calf and hamstring induce pain along with redness and tenderness near the injured muscle.
Pain in your calf and hamstring muscles reduces your ability to perform your daily living activities. You will be unable to bear your normal weight on the injured leg. Your injured muscles cannot contract properly to flex and extend the corresponding knee and hip joints, reducing your ability to move about. If you have sciatica, it will be difficult to walk, sit or climb stairs for a long period of time.
Treatments for bursitis, sprains, strains and ruptures include applying an ice pack for 20 minutes, three times a day for three days to reduce pain and swelling, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Take an anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen to further reduce your pain and inflammation, according to the book “Therapeutic Exercise for Musculoskeletal Injuries.” A ruptured hamstring or calf tendon needs immediate medical attention. When your pain and swelling have been significantly reduced, you may begin performing light stretching and strengthening exercises, progressively increasing in difficulty.
Prevent calf and hamstring pain by reducing your risk of injury to the joints and bones near your muscles. Include an easy warm-up with stretching exercises before you do more intense activities or exercises. Incorporate a stretching program to maintain and increase the range of motion of your hamstrings, calves, hips and knees, furthering reducing your risk of injury and pain.
- “Examination of Musculoskeletal Injuries”; Sandra Shultz, Ph.D., Peggy Houglum, Ph.D., and David Perrin, Ph.D.; 2005
- oAmerican Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Hamstring Muscle Injuries
- “Therapeutic Exercise for Musculoskeletal Injuries”; Peggy Houglum, Ph.D.; 2005