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Forum Name: Clots & Anticoagulants

Question: Mild dull ache in left leg (calf) for 6 weeks+

 health1981 - Thu Nov 13, 2008 3:55 pm

Roughly six weeks ago I started experiencing a mild, dull ache in my left leg. The pain is in and around my calf muscle. It seems to move around and sometimes affects my lower ankle, sometimes my tibia. Sometimes I touch my leg and it's tender to the touch and other times I touch the same spot and it's not tender. There is no swelling, no redness.

My mother has varicose veins but I don't think this is it as I don't have any veins bulging or twisting. I can see a few blue veins but they are clearly under the skin and I can't be certain of whether or not they were always there.

The pain becomes worse after walking, sometimes making my leg feel heavy but usually it's just this annoying dull ache.

I did fall down the stairs in September but to be honest I never felt any pain in that leg, so I don't think this is due to the fall.

I can't get in to see my doctor until after December and I'm travelling to Cuba next week (Nov 23-30). Is this something I should go to a walk-in clinic for? I can live with the achyness it just concerns me as it seems wierd that sometimes it's the calf, sometimes it's the bone etc.

Last night i lifted my nephew (a baby) and the extra weight made my leg ache even more. I should also note that from time to time I do feel a sorta pulse or in the leg, that lasts for a couple of minutes and then just goes away

What could this be?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:57 pm

User avatar Hi there -

While your description makes the problem sound like it is probably orthopedic or muscular in nature, it's impossible to know from a distance, and since you will be traveling out of the country shortly and probably immobile for some periods of time, it's probably wise to at visit at least a walk-in facility where you can have an ultrasound of the deep leg veins performed, so that you can travel with reasonable peace of mind. While DVT is unlikely, it is not out of the question, and you don't need the risk nor the worry of this hanging over your during your trip. Best to have it ruled out first so you can enjoy yourself.

I hope this is helpful to you. Best of luck, and have a great trip.
 girl09 - Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:12 am

I have what started out to be a dull ache in my left leg and now is painfully unbearable. I have had it for about 4 months now. I went to my PCP and he ordered a ultrasound and there was no blood clots. I then went to see my Ortho doc and he did an x-ray and MRI of my knee. He saw nothing too important, just some mild joint effusion which I guess most people have a little fluid anyway. I think he thinks I'm over reacting but that's what he thought about my shoulder 2 years ago and it turns out my labrum was detached and torn. Anyways, he wants me to try physical therapy cause he doesn't know what it is and he is basically done treating me. I am considering trying acupuncture but then I noticed that I am starting to get that dull pain in my right calf when I am squatted down and try to stand up. The pain that is in my left leg started out in my calf. Pain moved around and sometimes could push on the sore spot. The pain gradually migrated almost in a straight line from my calf, up behind my knee to the middle of my thigh. If I sit more than 5 minutes, it huts/throbs. If I stand up after sitting, it hurts. Having it sill in one position either while laying on the couch or sleeping in bed, it hurts when I move it. Stairs are not my friend, going up or down hurts the worse and I live in a 2 story home. It does hurt when I walk normal but my biggest complaint is while walking, the upward movement or when I bring my leg up gives me the most pain ever. Here's the odd part, I can ride a bicycle and exercise on an elliptical machine with no pain. I don't even know what type of doctor I should see for this. It could be muscle, nerves, veins and artery...just don't know and either does anyone else. Have any suggestions?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:53 pm

User avatar Hi there --

Based on the details you've provided I'd guess you may have either a nerve problem or a tendinitis that's due to some inflammatory process and somewhat mimics the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis but appears to not be that at all. It's telling that stair climbing causes problems but the eliptical machine does not, as this would be a problem in either case if this were DVT related.

I also must wonder when I run across the rare case like this, if there isn't some mild form of compartment syndrome involved, which can cause many of the symptoms similar to what you've described but usually with some swelling and tightness of the skin as well. While this is usually seen in hard-training athletes, I've also seen a similar problem in a few people (all women by the way) who attempt to train or workout without going to extremes, and much of the symptomology, once DVT is ruled out, leaves either compartment syndrome or simply torturouos deep veins with no particular disease process.

A vascualr surgeon would be the first line of approach to this, in order to rule out any vascular problem that may have been missed. Any such doctor should be a serious vascular surgeon and not one who has gone into what is basically plastic surgery (the treatment of varicose veins). With this out of the way, a sports medicine expert might be the next best bet, since one in this specialty is most likely to be able to recognize mild compartment syndrome.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please follow up here with us as needed, and good luck to you.

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