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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Clots & Anticoagulants

Question: Odd sensation in my left calf?

 Genn - Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:59 pm

I recently started getting these odd sensations in my left calf muscle (although I can't be certain it's IN the muscle). It started off feeling like a very mild charlie-horse that would come and go. Putting weight on it didn't seem to effect it much, if anything, it made it feel a little better. I was concerned about a blood clot, so I had an ultrasound done on it a week ago, and it came back clear - no blood clots present. Again, it's still coming and going, but now it's more of a weird burning/cold sensation, coming and going in waves with an odd pain every now and then, it's generally achy as well. I'm keeping an eye on it, no swelling, no discoloration, both legs look exactly the same,( my right leg is perfectly fine) both legs are the same temperature to the touch, no red or hot spots. I've heard that ultrasounds are extremely accurate with finding clots, so I'm probably just being paranoid, is this true?
Also, my history includes Paget-Schroetter Syndrome in 2005, but my Vascular doctor said that once the rib is taken out and the vein is decompressed (which was all done in 2005) I wouldn't have any more problems outside of that incident, I don't have any clotting or blood diseases.
Any idea what this could be? It's making me nervous. :(

Thanks so much,
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed May 06, 2009 12:14 am

User avatar Hi Jen,

The thing you're describing seems to be reported more and more often lately, possibly because of the deserved attention focused on DVTs and their possible consequences. The other causes are far less threatening, but also often very difficult to diagnose. There are things that might be ruled out or in, though, which could help explain this problem, since it seems very unlikely you have a clot or clots in the leg. (However, ultrasound, while a very good diagnostic tool, isn't always the gold standard, but given the history you've presented I'm sure this finding is correct). This also should not have anything to do with Paget-Schroetter, and if you've had the first or cervical rib removed and decompression successfully done, that separate issue should be fine now.

The question then remains what is going on? There seem to be three possibilities left: a mild compartment syndrome, something often overlooked except in athletes (generally a sports medicine issue); referred sciatica due to low back nerve compression; or possibly idiopathic deep vein varicosity (very unlikely, but your vascular surgeon could rule this in or out via another ultrasound).

This really doesn't sound much like DVT at this point, but the gold standard for diagnosis would be venogram of the affected leg, a rather invasive and potentially aggravating procedure. Since you already have a relationship with a competent vascular surgeon, perhaps he should perform an utrasound of the affected calf to rule out any vascular problem, although at this point it seems very unlikely anyway. You might want to see a sports medicine specialist of neurologist if the discomfort persists, to rule out sciatica and compartment syndrome, though.

I hope this is helpful. Please follow up with us here as needed and especially if anything new develops. Good luck to you.
 Genn - Thu May 07, 2009 12:17 pm

Hi John!

Thank you so much for your reply. My number one concern was a clot, since they can be so dangerous, and because I really DO NOT want to go through what I did for the Paget- Schroetter. :)
The vascular surgeon that treated me for that was in Delaware (I'm in MS now) and he's also retired. The other hurdle is that I'm currently unemployed and without medical insurance. The ultrasound I got was over 600 dollars and I'm still paying that off. So right now, another ultrasound isn't an option.
Since my original post my leg has gotten somewhat better, there isn't really any pain (the original pain was almost muted enough to call it discomfort and not really pain) and the tingly feeling is gone. Now all that's left is some odd pulsing in my leg every now and then, almost like a deeper muscle spasm. It happens quite frequently, and it painless like any other random muscle spasm or pulse. I weight train and practice martial arts 3-4 times a week, so it's possible that I did some sort of damage to the muscle by over using it. Heat seems to help, and I have some anti-inflammatory perscription from a pinched nerve I recently had in my arm. Would this be sufficient treatment for now until or unless my symptoms get worse?
Again, thank you so much for your help, you're providing such a great service here and I want you to know how much it's appreciated. :)

 Genn - Sun May 17, 2009 2:25 am

Hi again, John,

A quick update for whenever you get a chance to read this thread-

My leg hasn't really gotten better, it's pretty much stayed the same, if not gotten slightly worse. It's aching now, still spasming, too. I've been applying a heating pad to it several times a day along with massaging the calf muscle. There seems to be a tight spot in the middle of my calf, and it's sore there when I massage it, like a normal knot you would get in a muscle. There hasn't been any hot/cold sensations in awhile. Although the last time I said the symptoms were easing up they came back, so I don't want to say the hot/cold is gone for good, just hasn't happened in a while. It seems to be mainly in the calf muscle, although other parts of my lower leg have been achey from this, including my ankle. There's also some spasming and soreness in my hamstring now, and a little in the front upper leg, although not nearly as frequent as my calf. My lower back has been sore a few times, although I can't say it lasted very long, or that it was severe enough to be significant, so I don't know if that's relevant.
I'm really nervous because I can't seem to do anything to make it stop. I know someone with MS, so anything nerve related scares me. I don't think this sounds like MS, but I'm paranoid nonetheless.
Having read this new information do your original theories still stand? And should I be worried about MS or should I put that out of my mind? I haven't had any other symptoms of MS, no vocal problems, no speech problems, no eye pain, etc. I had a pinched nerve in my right arm about a month ago, but my doctor just told me it was a compressed Ulnar nerve, and it's completely resolved now.
Thanks again for your time, I'm sorry if I'm being a pest.

 eight977 - Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:06 pm

Jen -

I have the exact same problem, and it's freaking me out. My left lower leg is often achy and frequently spasms... sometimes I can see it if I watch it. No visible difference either. And now when I fly on planes, my left leg is horrible for about two weeks post-flight! Do you have problems when you fly now? I did go in for a blood clot last summer and they saw that I had abnormal blood flow in my left groin/hip but didn't exactly find a clot. They treated me for one though, and I'm still following up with the doc. They did a bunch of scans and weren't concerned enough to do anything though. Do you have veiny legs or bad circulation? Do you ever have pain in your left arm or chest/back? I'm still trying to find answers, and I'll et you know if I do...

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