muscular calves

Have you been closely monitoring the twitching in your calf muscle, counting the number of “fasciculations” per minute, watching the muscle move as it twitches, and even going as far as repeatedly testing out the strength of your calf muscle?

If you’ve succumbed to this fright and obsession, it can only mean that not too long ago, you noticed an annoying twitch going on in your calf muscle.

You Googled muscle twitching calf…

…or something similar, and that’s when you learned that muscle twitching is one of several symptoms associated with an incurable, fatal disease called ALS.

And since then, you’ve become consumed with terror that your twitching calf muscle means ALS, never mind that muscle twitches in the calf rarely mean anything sinister.

Worrying over calf twitches may very well stem from the frequency of the fasciculations; how easily they’re felt; and whether or not they’re visible to the naked eye.

Another reason a person ends up overwhelmed with worry about a twitching calf muscle is that he or she mistakenly has made a connection between quantity of ALS search results with likelihood of having this disease.

But a swarm of ALS links on the first few pages of Google’s search results, after typing into the search engine, Should I worry about a twitching calf muscle, absolutely does NOT mean that a lower body fasciculations are likely a symptom of ALS!

The search results reflect who’s writing what, NOT how likely you might have a disease.

Otherwise, you may as well believe in the Loch Ness Monster, because if you type in these keywords, a bunch of links about the Loch Ness Monster will show up!

Your twitching calf muscle is by far most likely caused by:

1) fatigue

2) anxiety over relationships, money, job, etc.

3) caffeine intake

4) exercise

5) improper footwear

6) body position when seated

7) insufficient fluid intak

8) mineral imbalance such as insufficient calcium and magnesium

9) medication

10) massage.

More serious conditions such as Lyme disease can cause the symptom, but again, this is rare.

Here is what Kristina Lafaye, MD, board certified neurologist and full time clinical staff and director of the neurophysiology lab at Ochsner Medical Center, has to say about muscle twitching (also known as fasciculations):

“key point with benign fasciculations is that, for whatever reason, they occur but do not represent an ominous underlying condition.

“Yes, some people with benign fasciculations could experience them 24/7 (or so they say, I’m a little skeptical of that), but if nothing else is wrong, then I wouldn’t probe further.

“I don’t do any kind of a frequency count, because if a person doesn’t have evidence of denervation which, if present, would indicate a motor neuron disease, myelopathy, or some other condition, then it doesn’t warrant any further neurologic evaluation.”

dr. lafaye

Dr. Lafaye is assistant professor of clinical neurology, and director, Neurology Student Education at Tulane University School of Medicine.