Have you been experiencing mysterious calf pain only when you walk?

Perhaps it’s in one calf, or maybe it’s in both.

Nevertheless, this area never hurts while you are seated or sleeping.

It’s only when you walk that the pain kicks in. What’s puzzling is that you haven’t done anything recently to incur any discomfort such as running extra hard or spending all day climbing hills.

The problem may very well be peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

“Peripheral vascular disease typically causes achy, crampy pain in a certain muscle group supplied by a certain artery,” says Seyed-Mojtaba Gashti, MD, a board certified vascular surgeon with Broward Health Medical Center in Florida.

Dr. Gashti adds that the location is “most commonly calf muscles, after walking a certain distance.”

“The hallmark of pain caused by PVD,” continues Dr. Gashti, “is that it is very reproducible.  

“Since the arterial occlusion is a constant, meaning the blockage is there every day, patients complain of experiencing calf pain EVERY TIME they walk from point A to point B.”

Dr. Gashti gives the example of a person who walks every day to a bus stop, and every time feels calf pain.

If the problem has been going on for a while with no let-up, and if the person has risk factors for PVD like smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, “then the chances are that they have PVD.”

Persistent pain in the calves should not be ignored. Below is an image of what chronic PVD looks like.

James Heilman, MD, CreativeCommons

Dr. Gashti specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease including abdominal and aortic aneurysm.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


Top image: Shutterstock/Morrowind