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"Can leg pain be a sign of something serious?"

ZocdocAnswersCan leg pain be a sign of something serious?


I recently started playing soccer with my friends and have significantly increased my level of physical activity and exertion. A week ago while I was running on the field I had tripped and felt a painful and uncomfortable sensation in my calf. Since I could still walk on the leg, I simply thought it was a temporary ""injury"" that could heal with time. I went about my normal day activities but still felt a slightly persistent pain in the same area of my calf. I had tried stretching, but that seemed to make my leg even more uncomfortable. Could this pain, which has lasted over a week, be a sign that something is not right with a muscle, joint, or bone? Should I wait a little while longer and decrease my activity level to see if it will heal itself?


It sounds like the best thing for you to do in this situation is to see your primary care physician right away for a more thorough history and physical exam. In this situation your overall health history, age, and family history might be important in taking care of your issue. It is certainly possible that this is purely a musculoskeletal problem, such as a torn muscle, tendon, or ligament. However, you may have developed a more significant injury that would require orthopedic intervention. Similarly, it is also possible for minor trauma during sports activity such as what you describe to cause the rupture of a cyst behind the knee. This is called a Baker's cyst and might also explain some of the pain you are experiencing. In order to make sure that your health is okay and that you don't need further imaging or evaluation with an orthopedist, you will need a thorough exam as well as a review of your medical history. Your primary care physician should be able to do that, and if it does look like you may simply have a muscle strain, a referral to physical therapy might help you recover faster. In addition, pain medication or anti-inflammatory might also be helpful.

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