Calf Pain & Obesity

Calf Pain & Obesity

Calf pain & Obesity
Obesity & inactivity can hamper calf muscle function. Our Sports Physio Janhvi Vayada explains how calf muscle pain needs to be identified and managed.

Calf muscle is an anti-gravity muscle and helps in walking/ running/ jogging/ sprinting/static standing posture. 

Skeletal muscle pump: the calf muscle also helps in pumping blood back to the heart through the venous system through the dorsiflexion & plantar flexion movements of the ankle,thereby causing significant calf muscle contraction.

The strength & flexibility of calf muscle plays a vital role to maintain an efficient skeletal muscle pump action.

Causes of pain:

  • Prolonged standing.
  • Overuse of calf muscle eg: running/sprinting, ankle sprain.
  • Lack of exercises for leg muscles.
  • Lack of calf stretching routine in exercising individuals.
  • Deficiencies eg: Vit D/calcium.
  • Foot and ankle dysfunction , eg: Flat feet / High arched foot alignment.
  • Varicose veins in the calf muscles.
  • Obesity.
  • Dehydration.
  • Blood clots or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Calf pain & Obesity:

  • Obese individuals are prone to calf pain if there is lack of exercise , which leads to reduced strength & increased tightness of the calf muscle.
  • Tightness in the calf muscle can be responsible for cramps or dull aching calf pain and therefore a mechanical stress on the deep blood vessels located in the calf muscle.
  • Sudden increase in activity without a proper exercise regime in obese people can lead to calf muscle strains.
  • If there is swelling around the foot and ankle in an obese person, this makes it difficult to wear proper-fitting shoes. This is a major cause for ankle-foot imbalances.
  • Mechanical stress can lead to adult-acquired flat foot or ankle over-pronation, this malalignment leads to leg and calf pain.
  • Obese individuals may also have metabolic issues like diabetes which can lead to peripheral artery disease and obstruction of blood flow in the legs.

Dr. Janhvi Vayada – Clinical Sports Physiotherapist

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