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Lump on Calf Muscle When Standing (Picture)

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Hey everyone,
I just recently began trying to be more active, as the first half of this summer was way sedentary.

I started out just walking for about a week and a half (every day), to start kind of 'prepping' and also to map my route. Last Sunday I began running (after stretching and warming up) anywhere from 1-2 miles a day (total beginner).

Wednesday, I noticed a lump on my calf that protruded when I stood or flexed. It had not gone away, and by Thursday night it was hurting off and on, so I went to a GP. He said it was a strained muscle, and just to rest.

I've done nothing with my leg for 2 days now, and the pain has started to become worse. Anywhere from a dull ache to a feeling similar to being stabbed. I have been using R.I.C.E. and an Ace bandage.

Any advice or info? If it continues through next week I may go see a specialist.

Thanks, and here is a pic of the lump
img851 imageshack us/img851/6701/20110714171035.jpg
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replied January 2nd, 2012
I also have a lump in my calf muscle for a few weeks now, some days my whole leg is very painful, other days it doesn't seem to be as bad. I have no idea what it is and will have to go to the doctor. Worst case scenario is a blood clot or something like cancer or a tumour.

If anyone has a lump on their leg, don't be stupid like me, go get it looked at my a doctor or go to the hospital as soon as you can. Because it could be literally anything.
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replied January 2nd, 2012
Unfortunately. I've now been to three doctors, and all 3 gave different opinions.... one said it was a blood clot, one a torn/herniated muscle, the other a varicose vein. I honestly have no idea what to do about it. At least the pain (at this point) has mostly gone away
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replied January 3rd, 2012
Especially eHealthy
jessiah331,

I wish I could pull up your images. You do not say how large the bump is. Is it the size of a grape, golf ball, tennis ball, bigger?

The good thing is that malignant tumors are fairly rare. As the old saying goes, "common things occur commonly". And for the doctors, they are told in medical school, "if you hear hoof beats, think of horses, not zebras (or purple unicorns)". In other words, though it is fun to think about and discover strange and rare disorders, most of the time, the patient's diagnosis is one of the run-of-the-mill disorders.


If it is a very large mass, it is most likely from the muscle. You could have torn some of the muscle fibers, which then had swelling/bleeding in them and when you contracted the muscle, it bulged out some.


If the lesion is smaller, a grape or golf ball, it could be a muscle hernia. In this case, you will notice a bump, that is fairly soft to the touch, but when you squat, stand on tip-toes, etc, anything to make the muscles in that compartment contract, the muscle will herniate through a fascial defect, producing a little bit firmer bulge.

These fascial hernias, also called muscle hernias, are very common in running athletes. You'll notice some of the runners in the training rooms, have a whole bunch of the little bumps, up and down their shins and calves.

These usually get better on their own. You do not want to close the defect in the fascia, because that can cause more problems, and possibly even a compartment syndrome. The soreness usually goes away in a little while. The athletes will sometimes complain of discomfort in the areas of the defects when they first start a season or increase their activity level.



A true DVT (DEEP vein thrombosis) is actually fairly hard to feel, as they are under the muscles mass. They usually show up as unilateral diffuse swelling/edema in the extremity. Now, superficial thromboses, sometimes called superficial thrombophlebitis, is inflammation of the veins just under the skin. So, they become red and the vein can feel like a Gummy Worm under the skin.

The varicose veins, of course, look like blue/reddish curly worms on the outside of the skin. There are the spider veins, which are just tiny little blue veins, that go out like a spider web. But, these are not raised.


Since the discomfort is going away, that is a good sign. Malignant processes usually do not get better, but just get progressively worse and worse. There are also usually other symptoms with the malignant processes, such as weight loss, malaise, not feeling well, etc.

The same with other systemic problems, there are usually other symptoms associated with the mass.


But, always, if your are concerned about the mass, you might want to see a specialist. If you think it is related to the veins (circulatory system) you would want to see a vascular surgeon. If you think it is related to the muscles, then an orthopedic surgeon would be the one to see. An orthopedics surgeon could also evaluate the mass for an oncological process, as they are trained to look for bone and muscle tumors.


Hope you are continuing with your physical routine. Good luck.
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replied January 3rd, 2012
Thanks for the detailed response. The lump is about the size of a grape, and is sofr or not present when I'm not using my leg. Squatting does make it very pronounced and much firmer. It has stopped hurting, but hasn't shown any signs of going away. There is no color to it, except looking a bit more white when crouching or standing on it.

I have veen able to get back to running, and it doesnt hurt during that, or any other physical activity.
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replied January 3rd, 2012
Especially eHealthy
jessiah331,

What you describe here is classic for a fascial hernia.

The muscles in the lower leg are contained in four compartments. These compartments are encased by a sheath, called the fascia. This is just a tough outer layer, sort of like the outside of a hot dog.

The fibers of the fascia run longitudinally. So, it is easy to get a little split in the fibers, going up and down, from a seemingly insignificant trauma. They also tend to occur where a blood vessel pierces the fascia. Then, when stress is applied by having the muscles in the compartment contract or by increasing the intracompartmental pressure by squatting, the muscle bulges out of the little defect. The muscle, of course, feels like steak, firm but soft.


Small, asymptomatic hernias are not treated. Like yours, it is there, but causes no problems.



If, however, the hernia is uncomfortable, sometimes it is treated with NSAIDs and possibly a compressive wrap. You can get cylindrical wraps that go just around the calf. They are usually made of neoprene, but any type of elastic is okay. Ace wraps are the least recommended, because of uneven compression and the tendency to cut off the circulation.

In patients who have significant problems, surgery can be done. The defect is not closed, but rather, the rest of the compartment is released. This can be done percutaneously, like when it is done for exertional compartment syndrome. Usually, surgery is not required except in high performance athletes.

Repair of the defect was tried, many many years ago, and that was fraught with problems. Many times, because it increased the compartment pressure, other hernias just appeared. Or the patient complained of pain caused by the increased compartment pressure. And in rare cases, it caused a full blown compartment syndrome, requiring emergency surgery to release the pressure. So, it is definitely not recommended.


So, again, if you are still concerned about it, have an orthopedic surgeon take a look. They are trained to evaluated all sorts of musculoskeletal problems. "Lumps and Bumps" is one of the most common complaints that orthopods are asked to take a look at.

Have a great time with your running. I wish I could still run, it was a tremendous stress reliever. I really miss it. Bicycling just doesn't do it for me. Anyways, good luck and have fun.
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