Knee and calf pain can be debilitating and frustrating, particularly if the person affected doesn't know what is causing the pain. Several different conditions and diseases, ranging from arthritis to sports injuries, from a sprain or strain to blood clots, from cramps to soft tissue tears, can lead to pain in the lower leg.
One of the more common causes of pain in the knee and lower leg is arthritis. This condition generally occurs in older individuals after a lifetime of wear and tear in the knee. The cartilage in the joint breaks down over time, leaving no padding between the bones in the joint, so bone rubs against bone. The pain can be bad enough to stop an individual from running any longer or even walking long distances.
Injuries from sports-related or recreation-related activities can also cause knee and calf pain. Someone who jogs, for instance, can suffer from runner's knee. This can lead to sharp pain when irritation occurs to the iliotibial band that connects the tibia to the pelvic bone. A common calf injury related to overactivity is a calf muscle strain. Symptoms include not only pain but bruises and swelling. One of the more serious causes of calf pain is an Achilles tendon tear.
Another serious cause of pain in the lower leg is a blood clot. After forming in the veins of the leg, a blood clot can block circulation, causing pain and swelling. This condition often does not happen right after someone suffers a leg injury but days or even weeks after the leg damage or after surgery to repair such damage.
One of the more serious causes of knee pain related to sports and other activities is the tearing of one of the four ligaments of the knee: the anterior cruciate ligament, the posterior cruciate ligament, or the medial or lateral collateral ligaments. Besides pain, sufferers may lose mobility or function in the knee and experience swelling. Other injuries to the knee's soft tissue include patellar tendinitis, a dislocated kneecap, and torn cartilage.
Whatever the cause of the knee and calf pain, the problem could be serious enough to warrant a visit to a healthcare professional. Professional medical care could be required if, for example, a person cannot walk on the affected leg or the swelling or injury is serious enough to deform the leg. Pain that continues for more than a few days or that strikes even when the affected person is resting could indicate a serious problem that needs medical attention.