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Calf pain, indentation in muscle, lipoma, no weakness. What do you think?

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I'm 38 years old. During a walk the Monday after St. Patrick's day, I began having severe burning pain in the outside front of my left calf muscle. I had been walking for a while (a couple months) for exercise and had had minor pains here and there, but never like this. The walk is 1.5 miles and I usually can make it w/out stopping, however this time I had to stop and rub the outside of my calf a few times to get back to my car, at which point I had to sit outside of my car rubbing my leg for about 15 minutes until I could get in and drive away.

Then last Wednesday, I noticed that I have an indentation on the same muscle that was hurting so badly that day. I think it's the anterior tibialis muscle on my left calf. There is also what looks like a lipoma at the base end of the indentation. I am worried that this may be some sort of atrophy or something. The indentation doesn't hurt, and I have no weakness or foot drop or anything, but it is just strange and has me freaking out. I would go to a doctor, but I have no insurance. I'm unsure if this is just a malformation of that leg and has always been there, a result of that day where I may have injured myself walking, or some sort of atrophy.

It doesn't feel soft or anything, but it's freaking me out. Could you please let me know what you think. Thank you.
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Puneet Maheshwari 9 hours later

Thanks for writing in.

Well, from your history it is clear that you suffered a lot because of your calf muscle pain.

1. First of all, I would like to tell you that the calves are composed of two main muscles, the gastronemius and soleus. Both these muscles play a major role in jumping, walking, running and standing on your toes. It requires the strength and endurance of your calves.

Burning and tightness in your lower leg muscles can stem from a number of causes. Muscle fatigue and overuse can lead to burning and pain in your calf muscles. During exercise, your muscles use energy rapidly and 'Lactic acid'- a by-product of anaerobic respiration (without oxygen) builds up in muscles, resulting in burning and sometimes intense muscle contraction.

Experiencing a burning sensation in your calf muscle indicates your muscle the point of exhaustion.

Decreasing your workout for about five minutes increases lactic acid breakdown. Stretching your calf muscle can also reduce burning sensation, tightness or pain.

2. Burning and pain in your calf may indicate an injury, like a strain or tear.

3. Atrophy is a clinical condition that doesn't occur overnight. It is a result of a slow and ongoing process. Based on what you describe, I do not feel it is related to any major pathology.

However I encourage you to consult your orthopedic if possible about your illness. Focal examination of the affected region will determine the best treatment plan for it.

5. The bottom line is, your symptoms do not seem to be related to any major medical illness. Schedule your workouts to adequately rest sore or tired muscles to help prevent injury.

Hope this answers your query. I am here for future follow up(if any).

Wishing for your speedy relief.

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