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Learn about your tense calf, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your tense 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.

Tense Calf Checker

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Your Tense Calf May Also be Known as:
Calf tension
Calf tightness
Tight calf

Top 10 Tense Calf Causes

  1. 1.Compartment Syndrome

    Compartment syndrome is a serious condition that involves increased pressure in a muscle compartment. It can lead to muscle and nerve damage and problems with blood flow.

    Seek immediate care at an ER. A surgical intervention will be required to release the pressure in the compartment to avoid irreversible nerve and muscle damage.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    arm numbness, foot numbness, hand numbness, pain in one leg, thigh numbness
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  2. 2.Myofascial Pain Syndrome

    Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic musculoskeletal syndrome caused by trigger points within muscle. Pressure on these points causes pain in the area around the point as well as in other body parts, a phenomenon known as referred pain.

    You should visit your primary care physician. This complex chronic condition is often treated with injections and physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain in the back of the neck, shoulder blade pain, difficulty moving the shoulder
    Symptoms that always occur with myofascial pain syndrome:
    tender muscle knot
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.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.

    You should see a doctor if these symptoms continue or begin to get worse

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    daytime sleepiness, trouble sleeping, dull or achy leg pain, difficulty falling asleep, restless legs
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Tension Headache (Previously Undiagnosed)

    Tension-type headaches are the most common type of headache. It is pain or discomfort in the head and/or neck. It is often accompanied by muscle tightness in these areas. This condition can occur as little as once a year but as often as more than 15 days per month (chronic). The cause of tension-type headaches is not clear.

    You can safely treat this condition on your own. Tension-type headaches are diagnosed purely by your symptoms. Medications like over-the-counter pain killers (e.g., ibuprofen or Tylenol) may help. Be cautious with dosage and how often these are used. If these headaches become more chronic in nature, you should visit your primary care physician, who will evaluate your symptoms and may be able to prescribe a stronger medications.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    history of headaches, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, moderate headache, mild headache
    Symptoms that always occur with tension headache (previously undiagnosed):
    history of headaches
    Symptoms that never occur with tension headache (previously undiagnosed):
    change in urine color, hidden: both photo and phonophobia, throbbing headache, headache resulting from a head injury
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Premature Ovarian Failure

    "Premature ovarian failure" (POF), also called "primary ovarian insufficiency" and "early menopause" happens when the ovaries stop working well too early in life. Naturally menopause occurs between the ages 45 and 55. Symptoms of menopause are changes in menstrual period, missing periods, hot flashes, mood changes and vaginal dryness.

    You should discuss your symptoms with your physician, who might take a blood test.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, anxiety, vaginal itch or burning, muscle aches
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  6. 6.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
  7. 7.Headache From Medication Overuse

    Rebound headaches (medication-overuse headaches) are caused by regular, long-term use of medication to treat headaches, such as migraine. Pain relievers offer relief for occasional headaches. But if one takes them more than a couple of days a week, they may trigger rebound headaches.

    You can treat this condition on your own by stopping the chronic usage of Ibuprofen or similar pain relievers for your headache. Discuss with your primary care physician how this is best approached and if any other interventions might be needed.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, trouble sleeping, history of daily headaches, history of headaches, history of weekly headaches
    Symptoms that always occur with headache from medication overuse:
    headache
    Symptoms that never occur with headache from medication overuse:
    swollen face, nausea or vomiting, fever, spontaneous bone pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Hip Dislocation

    A slipped capital femoral epiphysis is a separation of the ball of the hip joint from the thigh bone (femur) at the upper growing end (growth plate) of the bone.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an urgent care clinic or ER. A doctor will confirm the diagnosis with X-Ray or CT imaging, and if confirmed, you will be admitted to the hospital to have complete bed rest. Surgery is usually advised to stabilize the slipped bone and prevent it from moving further.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    hip pain, moderate hip pain, limping, dull, achy hip pain, thigh pain
    Symptoms that always occur with hip dislocation:
    hip pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Upper Back

    The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.

    For treatment of a slipped disk, you should consult with your primary care physician (PCP). Your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination to localize the slipped disk and rule out dangerous complications. Most people do not require surgery for a slipped disk. Treatment involves pain relief with an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol), using heat treatments, and keeping active. It is best to avoid sitting still for long periods. Walking or swimming may help as well.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    upper back pain, neck pain, arm weakness, back pain that gets worse when sitting, upper spine pain
    Symptoms that always occur with herniated (slipped) disk in the upper back:
    upper back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Femoral Stress Fracture

    A femoral stress fracture is a small crack in the thigh bone (femur). These fractures are most often a result of overuse and are commonly seen with an increase in activity. Stress fractures of the thigh bone are much less common than those of the shin bone (tibia), but nonetheless do occur in high-risk groups such as athletes and military recruits.

    You need to get your injury checked by a physician, sometimes a MRI scan is needed to confirm the diagnosis. It may be helpful to consult with a physical therapist as well. The treatment for a stress fracture involves avoiding repeated stress on the leg, which means cutting down on high-intensity activity. Exercise that puts less repeated stress on the leg, such as cycling or swimming, is recommended.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dull, achy hip pain, pain in one thigh, thigh pain, spontaneous hip pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Tense Calf

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Are you experiencing a headache?
  • Q.Do you have trouble sleeping?
  • Q.Is the pain affecting:

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

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Tense Calf Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced tense calf have also experienced:

    • 6% Calf Pain
    • 6% Muscle Aches
    • 4% Tight Knot in Muscle
  • People who have experienced tense calf were most often matched with:

    • 23% Compartment Syndrome
    • 11% Myofascial Pain Syndrome
    • 7% Restless Legs Syndrome (Rls)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Tense Calf Checker

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