Read below about sharp calf pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your sharp calf pain 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.

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6 Potential Sharp Calf Pain Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Deep Vein Thrombosis

    Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Most deep vein clots occur in the lower leg or thigh.

    Curable with medication or surgery but may recur.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, thigh pain, upper leg swelling, calf pain, butt pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  2. 2.Restless Legs Syndrome (Rls)

    Restless Legs Syndrome is a common condition characterized by an urge to move the legs in order to stop unpleasant sensations.

    RLS is a chronic and incurable condition, but many have their symptoms improve with treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    daytime sleepiness, trouble sleeping, tingling lower leg, restless legs, difficulty falling asleep
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Acl Injury

    The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a super-important tendon that connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin), keeping the tibia from flying forward every time a step is taken. Tearing happens in a lot of accidents and sports, unfortunately.

    Full recovery may take months of physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    knee pain, pain in one knee, knee instability, swollen knee, knee pain from an injury
    Symptoms that always occur with acl injury:
    knee pain
    Symptoms that never occur with acl injury:
    mild knee pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

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  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.

    Most people get better within weeks to months of physical therapy.

    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.Iliotibial (It) Band Syndrome ('Runner's Knee')

    Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is the lateral knee pain that results from overuse that occurs after repetitive motion. It is the most common cause of lateral knee pain in runners and cyclists.

    Within 6 to 8 weeks with conservative nonsurgical treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    knee pain, pain in one knee, dull, achy knee pain, knee pain that gets worse when going down stairs, sharp knee pain
    Symptoms that always occur with iliotibial (it) band syndrome ('runner's knee'):
    knee pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Pulmonary Embolism

    A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in an artery in the lungs. It is a serious condition that can cause permanent damage to the affected lung, low oxygen levels in your blood, or damage to other organs in your body from not getting enough oxygen.

    A pulmonary embolism is life-threatening. Recovery depends on treatment.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, cough, rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, fever, wheezing
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Sharp Calf Pain

  • Q.What is your body mass?
  • Q.Which of the following describes your physical fitness:
  • Q.Are you sleepy during the day?
  • Q.How would you explain the cause of your knee pain?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our sharp calf pain symptom checker to find out more.

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Sharp Calf Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced sharp calf pain have also experienced:

    • 12% Pain in One Calf
    • 12% Dull, Achy Knee Pain
    • 12% Lower Back Pain
  • People who have experienced sharp calf pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 30% Less Than a Week
    • 25% Over a Month
    • 22% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced sharp calf pain were most often matched with:

    • 14% Restless Legs Syndrome (Rls)
    • 14% Acl Injury
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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