Why it's not a good idea to ignore it
A twitching calf muscle doesn't seem like a big deal, and if it's just a passing nuisance that lasts a few days and then goes away, it may be. But it can also be aWarning sign of something bigger, especially if moving on. So today we're going to explain a little bit about the calf and why it's not a good idea to ignore calf muscle twitches.
What is the calf muscle?
If there's one muscle you're probably familiar with, it's the calf muscle. When you reach around and grab your calf and flex it, the muscle you actually feel just beneath the surface is called theGastrocnemius Musclein medical terminology.
The top of the muscle attaches behind the knee and the bottom is connected to the Achilles tendon, which extends to the heel. If you're a runner, or even just a regular exerciser, chances are you spend time stretching your calf muscle—first because it feels really good, and second because it helps protect the muscle from damage. And who hasn't woken up in the middle of the night with the dreaded calf cramp?
What Causes Calf Muscle Twitches?
The calf muscle, like every muscle, has oneInnervation. That meansIt has a nerve that supplies the muscle and tells it what to do. The nerve branch for the calf musclestarts at the top of the lower spine.
If the nerve is injured or just irritated, it can cause the calf muscle to twitch involuntarily (fasciculateis the medical terminology), a reflex response when the muscle does not receive instructions from the nerve on what to do.
So what can injure the nerves in the calf muscle?Severalnerves can.
For example, the S1 (Sacrum Level 1) nerve in the lower back becomes the tibial nerve in the leg, which then innervates the calf muscle.If there is a...Bulging or herniated discB. at the S1 level, this can put pressure on the nerve and this nerve irritation can manifest itself as a muscle twitch in the calf.Likewise, an injured shin nerve can also present as a twitching calf muscle.
Let's take a look at an actual twitching calf muscle
Calf muscle twitching can be so subtle that you might not even notice it, or it can be dramatic and even create some pressure in the calf, or it can be somewhere in between.Watch the very short video of Dr. Centeno, in which a patient's calf muscle twitches dramaticallyas well as an ultrasound image, as the twitching occurs versus a muscle that does not twitch.
To stop the twitching caused by nerve irritation, treat the nerve
Themost common cause of twitching calf muscles in S1 nerve irritation in the back. Typically, this nerve irritation occurs because of a disc problem or inflammation from arthritis that puts pressure on the S1 nerve.So to stop the twitching caused by an irritated S1 nerve, the nerve must be treated. In interventional orthopedicsWe can treat this problem epidurally with a platelet lysate.
Growth factors from the patient's blood platelets are injected around the irritated or injured nerve under precise image guidance.In addition, a larger herniated disc can be treated with an injection of specially cultured stem cells, provided the degeneration of the disc has not progressed too far.
While it may be okay to shake off a calf twitch that happens once or twice and doesn't come back, it's never a good idea to ignore a persistent calf twitch.It's a big red warning flag that the nerves aren't working as they should.And as always, it's best to treat a problem when the warning signs appear, rather than waiting and trying to treat once a problem has grown into something bigger and more difficult.
Other conditions related to twitching calf
To understand annular tears, let's first look at the anatomy of the spine. The lumbar spine consists of 5 bony building blocks, the vertebral bodies. The intervertebral discs lie between the vertebral bodies. Each disc consists of an outer fibrous ring, the annulus fibrosis, surrounding the inner gelatinous center called the nucleus. The intervertebral disc absorbs the forces of everyday life. The ring has multiple layers of collagen that provide important support. The annulus is similar to the sidewall of a tire which provides important stability to the tire. Trauma or degeneration can damage and/or weaken the outer annular fibers.
Read more about ring crack
Degenerative scoliosis, also known as adult-onset scoliosis, is a disease that causes the spine to bend sideways. The bend can be slight, moderate, or severe, with lateral bending to the right or left. The term degenerative means general wear and tear and is common with age. Degenerative scoliosis is the curvature of the spine that occurs as a result of degeneration of the intervertebral discs, small joints, and building blocks. The curve of degenerative scoliosis is often in the lower back, forming a C-shape. There is a convex side and a concave side. The convex side is the open side where it curves outward.
Read more about degenerative scoliosis
Failed Back Surgery Syndrom
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, also known as Failed Back, is a clinical condition in which patients who have undergone lower back surgery continue to experience pain and dysfunction. In other words, the surgery intended to relieve pain and improve function FAILED. That's right, the operation failed. You had the surgery, struggled with the postoperative pain, diligently participated in physical therapy, and yet the pain and limitations are still there. Unfortunately, this often happens. It is estimated that 20-40% of patients who undergo lower back surgery will develop failed back surgery syndrome. Pain is the most common symptom of failed back surgery syndrome…
Read more about Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
A herniated disc is particularly difficult because there aren't as many treatment options as there are for herniated discs in other areas of the spine. To understand herniated discs, however, we must first understand the anatomy and function of the thoracic spine. In the case of a herniated disc, the annulus fibrosus develops small tears throughout the annulus. An annulus is a bundle of concentric fibers. So when the fibers are damaged and cut, the pressure built up in the core pushes the now weakened annulus outward, causing a bulge or rupture. The disc begins to weaken due to slight degeneration/tearing of the annular fibers...
Read more about herniated disc
Pinched nerves in the back
We talk a lot about leg pain resulting from a pinched or irritated nerve in the lower back. And indeed, our doctors are traditionally taught this in medical school - a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine typically shows up as a symptom in the leg. However, what if you have butt pain but no leg pain or other symptoms? Does that mean it can't be a pinched nerve? Not so fast. It turns out that a pinched lower back nerve doesn't always have to be accompanied by leg symptoms. Let's start by taking a look at how the back is constructed.
Read more about pinched nerves in the back
Herniated disc, herniated disc, overgrowth of the facet joint, and thickening of the ligaments can result in compression or irritation of the nerve root and cause symptoms of sciatic compression. Some causes of sciatic compression may be related to the following conditions: degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, disc damage or injury, spondylolisthesis, piriformis syndrome, osteoarthritis. Symptoms of sciatica include pain in the lower back, buttocks, and down the leg, numbness and weakness in the lower back, buttocks, leg, and/or feet, increase in pain with movement, "tingling" sensation in the legs, toes, or feet. , loss of bowel control and incontinence. Sciatica can be treated...
Read more about sciatica
The intervertebral discs are shock absorbers that live between the vertebrae at each level (1). They have a tough outer ring portion and a soft inner gel portion (nucleus pulposis). The outer shell can become damaged, which can sometimes be seen on MRI and sometimes requires additional testing for identification. These tears are referred to as a herniated disc, herniated disc, annular tear, and on MRI the “high intensity zone” or HIZ. They can cause pain, usually from ingrown nerves. There are disc tears that can be seen on MRI (HIZ) and these can be either asymptomatic (i.e. not painful) or…
Read more about torn discs
Why is my calf muscle twitching? ›
"Fasciculations occur when innervation from the peripheral nervous system to the muscle is not working correctly and a muscle is triggered involuntarily, causing it to twitch," says Dr. Ondo. "This is very common and these fasciculations usually go unnoticed, but in some cases, people do feel the muscle twitch."When should I worry about muscle twitching? ›
Muscle twitches have a variety of causes, many of which are minor. You should see your doctor if the twitches are continuous, cause weakness or muscle loss, affects multiple body parts, begin after a new medication or new medical condition.What deficiency causes twitching in legs? ›
Twitches, tremors, and muscle cramps are signs of magnesium deficiency. In worst-case scenarios, deficiency may even cause seizures or convulsions ( 1 , 3 ). Scientists believe these symptoms are caused by a greater flow of calcium into nerve cells, which overexcites or hyperstimulates the muscle nerves (4).Does anxiety cause calf twitching? ›
Anxiety can come with a range of physical symptoms, including muscle twitches. Muscle twitches are caused when your brain interprets anxiety as stress and sends signals to your body that trigger muscle spasms. These spasms can occur in different muscle groups at any time.Are calf spasms serious? ›
Muscle cramps usually disappear on their own and are rarely serious enough to require medical care. However, see your doctor if your cramps: Cause severe discomfort.What deficiencies cause muscle twitching? ›
Vitamin D deficiency
Nerves need vitamin D to carry messages to and from the brain to the body's muscles. Having a vitamin D deficiency may cause muscle weakness and twitching.
Tingling, muscle spasms, unexplained discoloration (usually reddish or blue) or weakness in an arm or leg could also become noticeable. For clots in veins near the skin (superficial venous thrombosis), the skin could appear red or swelling may occur.What does ALS twitching feel like? ›
These persistent muscle twitches are generally not painful but can interfere with sleep. They are the result of the ongoing disruption of signals from the nerves to the muscles that occurs in ALS. Some with ALS experience painful muscle cramps, which can sometimes be alleviated with medication.Is twitching a symptom of MS? ›
If muscles twitch or jerk repeatedly, this is known as 'clonus', for example when a foot taps repetitively on the floor. Some people with MS experience other spasms - sudden involuntary movements that can make the arms or legs move in different ways. These can occur even without the muscle being stretched.Does ALS cause leg twitching? ›
In ALS, motor nerve cells (neurons) waste away or die, and can no longer send messages to muscles. This eventually leads to muscle weakening, twitching, and an inability to move the arms, legs, and body.
Can dehydration cause twitching in legs? ›
Dehydration – Drinking healthy amounts of water allows the muscles to maintain the correct amount of salt in our body, which maintains normal muscle and nerve function. Losing excessive amounts of water can cause muscle twitching.What does fluttering in the legs mean? ›
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which one has feelings of "pulling, searing, drawing, tingling, bubbling, or crawling" beneath the skin, usually in the calf area. This causes an irresistible urge to move the legs. The sensations can also affect the thighs, feet, and sometimes, even the arms.How do I calm my calf muscles? ›
- Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, front knee slightly bent.
- Keep your back knee straight, your heel on the ground, and lean toward the wall.
- Feel the stretch all along the calf of your back leg.
- Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds.
- get plenty of rest.
- try to find ways to relax.
- stretch and massage any muscles affected by cramps.
- try not to worry about it – a twitch is usually harmless and worrying can make it worse.