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Learn about your bruised calf, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your bruised calf from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Bruised Calf Checker

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Your Bruised Calf May Also be Known as:
Bruise on calf
Bruise on leg
Bruised leg
Calf bruising
Calf is bruised
Leg bruising
Leg is bruised

Bruised Calf Symptoms

Yikes! So much for wearing those new shorts. When checking out how you look in the mirror, something may have caught your attention. Your lower leg is terribly bruised, and you have no idea why. You're a bit concerned but more upset that your bruised calf is infringing on your fashion. Now that you've noticed the bruising, the pain is also becoming obvious.

There are a few symptoms to look out for when dealing with a bruised calf, such as:

The medical term for a bruise is a contusion. Bruises are common and develop when blood from damaged blood cells begin to collect near the skin's surface. This results in the common black and blue areas seen with bruising.

Bruises are caused by trauma. Walking into the kitchen counter can cause a bruise or being hit with a ball during softball practice can also cause one. Whenever your body encounters something hard, there's a risk for bruising.

Most of the time, bruises are just a part of life. But in some cases, they can signify a more serious condition. Before you start to panic, look at our causes section to see if you can solve the mystery of your bruised calf.

Bruised Calf Causes Overview

A bruised calf can have several causes.

Listed below are the most common cause categories of bruised calves.

  • Infectious causes: Infectious causes can occur in those with poor circulation, diabetes, or skin conditions. Bruising an occur after a minor injury, such as a small bump or even a bug bite. Fever and lower leg redness usually occur as well.

  • Traumatic causes: Traumatic causes are probably the most common. A strong blow or impact to the lower leg can cause a bruised calf, such as during a car accident, playing sports, or walking into a large or hard object at home. A bone fracture can also cause a bruise to appear.

  • Medical causes: Consider this cause if you do not remember anything injuring your leg. A vitamin deficiency is one example of a medical cause, along with diabetes or clotting disorders. The presence of a disease can also lead to bruising, such as cancer, but bruises are usually found throughout the entire body and not localized to just the calf.

Top 10 Bruised Calf Causes

  1. 1.Lower Leg Weakness

    Any leg weakness is a sign of nerve damage, which is very worrisome and requires you to go see a doctor immediately!

    There may be several explanations for this symptom and its severity, but a healthcare professional should make an assessment as soon as possible because it may be serious.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    lower leg weakness, foot weakness, arm weakness, odd walking gait, severe pelvis pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  2. 2.Cellulitis

    Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and tissues underneath it. It is most commonly caused by Group A strep and typically enters the body through a break in the skin.

    You should go to your primary care doctor tomorrow. There, he or she will inspect your skin and determine if antibiotics are necessary.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, lower leg pain, lower leg redness, painful swelling in the lower leg, calf pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    lower leg redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Skin Cyst

    An epidermoid cyst is a closed sac under the skin filled with a cheese-like or oily material. It is caused by trauma or surgery.

    You do not need treatment for this condition because it is completely benign; however, if the lesion changes at all, a doctor should be consulted. If you would like it removed, a doctor can cut out the cyst.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    skin colored mass on lower leg, marble-size lower leg lump, small lower leg lump
    Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst:
    skin colored mass on lower leg
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  4. 4.Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

    The kneecap (patella) is located directly in front of the thigh bone (femur), and should normally glide freely up and down. In this condition, called patellofemoral pain syndrome, the kneecap may rub against the thigh bone instead of gliding smoothly, causing damage and pain.

    You should visit your primary care physician. While you can safely take steps to treat this condition at home (avoiding strenuous use of the knee and taking over-the-counter pain medication), your doctor may coordinate care with a physical therapist to help manage your pain and function of the knee.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    knee pain, pain in one knee, knee pain that gets worse when going up stairs, dull, achy knee pain, knee pain that gets worse when squatting
    Symptoms that always occur with patellofemoral pain syndrome:
    knee pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Noise - Related Hearing Loss

    Excess noise on a frequent basis can damage the delicate inner ear, causing permanent hearing loss.

    You should see your doctor in the coming weeks to speak about options to reduce your hearing exposure and to consider treatment possibilities.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    possible hearing loss, hearing loss that is worse in noisy environments, increased difficulty with speech due to hearing loss
    Symptoms that always occur with noise-related hearing loss:
    possible hearing loss
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Bruised Calf Checker

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  6. 6.Graves' Disease

    The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ inside the neck that is responsible for making thyroid hormones. These hormones control important body functions, such as heart rate and the rate at which the body turns food into energy. In Grave's disease, the immune system malfunctions and drives the thyroid to produce excessive amounts of hormones, leading to symptoms such as trouble sleeping, irritability and nervousness, heat sensitivity, hand tremors, and weight loss.

    You should visit your primary care physician to get your blood tested. Grave's disease is a complex condition that is managed with prescription antithyroid medications, as well as surgery in rare cases.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Possible Meniere's Disease

    Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in the ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. Meniere's commonly develops between the ages of 20 and 60, and most often starts in only one ear.

    You should visit your primary care physician. A hearing test is likely to be performed. This is a complex condition that is treated with prescription medication to help reduce the amount of fluid inside the inner ear, as well as medication to prevent vertigo, dizziness, and vomiting.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, episodic dizziness, vertigo (extreme dizziness), ringing in the ears, ear fullness/pressure
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Aspiration Pneumonia

    Aspiration Pneumonia occurs when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit is breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs, causing an infection.

    Going to your doctor is important, since diagnosing Aspiration Pneumonia requires a chest x-ray and a blood test. Given the possibility of the infection worsening, starting antibiotic treatment as soon as possible is really key.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, fever, coughing up green or yellow phlegm
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Non - Specific Skin Rash

    A rash is an area of irritated or swollen skin. Often, rashes are unidentifiable and some variation of normal. For example, scratching one's arm causes it to turn red (which is caused by mast cells releasing chemicals into the local area), but that's completely normal.

    At this time, you do not need treatment for this rash. If it worsens, you may need to consult a physician.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash
    Symptoms that always occur with non-specific skin rash:
    rash
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  10. 10.Fibular Nerve Injury

    Fibular nerve damage can be caused by a wide range of conditions, including trauma, surgery, weight loss, and others.

    Make a doctor's appointment to address your fibular nerve damage, and find out the underlying cause.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Bruised Calf Treatments and Relief

Contusions usually go away quickly. However, severe cases may need immediate attention.

Here's how to know if it's time to head to the doctor.

Try the following treatments for a bruised calf, along with preventative measures if the bruising keeps coming back.

  • Rest. Avoid too much walking or physical activity.
  • Protect the Area. Use a soft bandage if necessary.
  • Ice Pack. Use ice wrapped in a clean cloth. Press gently and leave it on for twenty minutes.
  • Elevate. When resting, keep your leg above your heart.
  • Vinegar. Vinegar increases blood flow. Mix a little vinegar with warm water and apply it to the bruise with a clean cloth.
  • Medications. Over the counter pain medication can be used to minimize discomfort.

Bruised calf prevention:

  • Wear protective clothing when doing strenuous activities or sports
  • Clean wounds or scratches immediately with soap and water to avoid infection
  • Increase intake of leafy vegetables and fruits
  • Drink plenty of water

A bruised calf can make you want to cover your leg and wait out the discoloration. But in most cases, contusions are a normal reaction to trauma and nothing to be concerned about.

If you have a bruised calf, take it easy for a few days and you should see fast improvement.

FAQs About Bruised Calf

Here are some frequently asked questions about bruised calf.

How do you know if you have a blood clot in your legs?

Most small blood clots in the leg are asymptomatic. However, a solid mass within the leg, swelling of the leg, or skin changes can signify a more significant blood clot in the leg. Detection of the signs of a blood clot in the leg is difficult, however, and best left to medical professionals. There is no absolute way to determine if there is a blood clot in the leg by physical examination alone. Most medical professionals will administer a blood test (D-dimer) and /or a scan of the leg or lungs to check for a blood clot in the leg or a blood clot that embolized (travelled) to the lungs.

How do you know if you have a bone bruise?

A bone bruise is an injury to a bone that is less traumatic and less severe than a bone fracture. The outermost layers of bone are damaged and blood from broken blood vessels within the bone build up causing increased pressure. You may experience swelling, tenderness, pain, and swelling of a nearby joint if you have a bone bruise. They may be diagnosed via MRI scanning.

What can you do for a bruised calf muscle?

A bruised calf muscle can be treated by rest, heat and then cold (ice) treatment, OTC non-narcotic pain medication, and lots of hydration. Fluid will help the body remove the particles of broken blood cells within the tissue. Most bruised muslces will resolve on their own. However, if you have extreme swelling from a bleed within the muscle and intense pain, or intense pain followed by numbness, you may have compartment syndrome and may need urgent medical evaluation and decompression.

How long does it take for a bruised calf to heal?

Usually 1–2 weeks. A bruised calf consists of a bleed into the soft tissue of the calf muscle. The bleeding usually stops within a few minutes of the injury and then the skin begins to change color. The pain from the injury may persist for a few days and the chage in color may persist for one to two weeks.

When should you visit a doctor for a bruised calf?

Visit a medical professional if you have intense pain or loss of sensation or pulse. A bruise of the calf is not a medical emergency. The overwhelming majority of bruises will resolve on their own. However, the bleeding and swelling of a bruised calf can lead to compartment syndrome in which the different compartments of muscle swell, and the blood flow to the lower extremity is cut off causing ischemia and eventually death of the tissue (necrosis). This is signaled by intense pain, a lack of pulse or, sudden onset of numbness.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Bruised Calf

  • Q.Is your lower leg bruising getting better or worse?
  • Q.Are you experiencing a headache?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our bruised calf symptom checker.

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Bruised Calf Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced bruised calf have also experienced:

    • 13% Lower Leg Bruise
    • 8% Thigh Bruise
    • 6% Upper Leg Bruise
  • People who have experienced bruised calf had symptoms persist for:

    • 37% Over a Month
    • 32% Less Than a Week
    • 11% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced bruised calf were most often matched with:

    • 8% Lower Leg Weakness
    • 8% Cellulitis
    • 4% Skin Cyst

Bruised Calf Checker

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