Pain in the thighs and pain in the calves can be quite common, especially among those individuals who do not exercise or stretch regularly. For some adults, however, the complications associated with pain in the lower extremities may be attributed to the development of a more complex health condition. If you suffer from pain in either lower extremity, especially unilateral pain in the calf muscle, it may be prudent to seek diagnostic testing.
Pain in the lower extremities may be indicative of conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), Baker’s cyst, cellulites or other abnormal complications. With each of these abnormalities, the treatment regimen may vary. It is important, therefore, to obtain an accurate diagnosis and early in the complication. For many adults, diagnostic testing can vary and may involve invasive and non-invasive procedures, including muscle biopsy and serum testing.
Among the many diagnostic studies that can be used in diagnosing unilateral calf pain, the most common tends to be the MRI study. In addition to MRI, many adults also undergo CT scan and ultrasound with a possibility for requiring venography as well. It is the ultrasound, however, that may provide the key to differentiating the diagnosis when more than one condition may be of concern. Diagnosing the cause of unilateral calf pain can be challenging and, ultimately, may require several repeat studies to confirm an exact diagnosis.
In many cases of unilateral calf pain, the underlying complication may lead to your doctor taking a conservative approach, allowing for naturally healing. However, if the diagnostic studies reveal there is a cardiovascular complication, immediate surgery may be required. In addition, antibiotic treatment may be needed, especially if the unilateral calf pain is related to cellulites or myositis. In rare cases, the complication of unilateral calf pain may be indicative of a sarcoma development for which chemotherapy and various oncology treatments are required.
As with most aches and pains, we tend to ignore pain in our lower extremities and dismiss them as normal processes of aging or movement. However, in some individuals, the complications of lower extremity pain, especially that involving unilateral calf pain, may be indicative of a more complex medical condition. Understanding this type of pain is difficult to diagnose, you should expect there will be many diagnostic studies with the differential study involving the ultrasound, in most cases. Obtaining these diagnostic studies early is important to your health and continued lower extremity mobility.