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Calf & thigh pain

Calf and thigh pain may be caused by an injury, but there can also be an underlying cause. It’s important to know the difference so that you can get the right treatment or relief that you need.

Calf & thigh pain causes

Calf and thigh pain is mostly a result of a strain caused when a muscle is stretched or torn, or a sprain when a ligament is stretched or twisted, usually because of sports injuries, a fall or a blow to the area.1,2

A senior man frowning with muscle pain during training outdoors

Calf & thigh pain types

Calf and thigh pain can be broadly classified into either injury-related (muscle or ligament) or due to a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT).

Calf & thigh pain symptoms

Leg pain caused by calf and thigh injuries can include inflammation of the affected area, possibly with stiffness and loss of movement.2,3

However, throbbing, swelling or cramping pain in just one leg can be a sign that you have a blood clot – know as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).3 Other symptoms of DVT include breathlessness and chest pains. If you are experiencing any of these you must call 999 or go to A&E immediately, as blood clots in your veins can travel through your bloodstream to your lungs and create a serious and life-threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism.3

There is some initial evidence that people with severe COVID-19 infection can have an increased risk of developing blood clots in their veins and arteries. Researchers are still trying to work out why this happens, but one theory is that the immune systems of some people with severe COVID-19 go into overdrive, leading to the over-activation of cells that usually stop our blood clotting.4

Most people with severe COVID-19 will be being treated and monitored in hospital anyway, but again, if you are at home and experiencing any symptoms that suggest you may have a blood clot, call 999 or go to A&E straight away.

Male runner suffering with calf pain outdoor

Calf & thigh pain relief

To get short-term relief from leg pain the RICE approach of Rest, Ice, Comfortable Support, and Elevation can help. This involves resting the calf or thigh muscle to prevent further injury, and applying an ice pack for 15 minutes using a support bandage to hold it in place that covers the area to the next joint. Finally, elevate the injured part of the leg and support it with something soft, like a cushion.5

Ask your pharmacist for more advice about leg pain relief, and try Solpadeine Plus or Solpadeine Max. It’s important to listen to your body and not ignore persistent symptoms or leg pain, so talk to your GP if the pain in your calf or thigh doesn’t go away.

Injured woman holding ice pack for cooling down the knee pain

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1. NHS Inform Scotland: Muscle, bones and joints self-management – calf problems. Available at: Accessed July 2021.
2. NHS Inform Scotland: Muscle, bones and joints self-management – thigh problems. Available at: Accessed July 2021.
3. NHS: Deep vein thrombosis. Available at: Accessed July 2021.
4. Health Research Institute UK. People with coronavirus are at risk of blood clots. Available at: Accessed July 2021.
5. St John Ambulance. How to treat strains and sprains. Available at: Accessed July 2021.

Find out more about other pain types

Select a type of pain to read about causes, what you can do to help relieve it, and which treatments are most appropriate.

Solpadeine Plus Capsules, Solpadeine Plus Tablets, Solpadeine Plus Soluble Tablets and Solpadeine Max Soluble Tablets contain Paracetamol, Codeine phosphate hemihydrate, and Caffeine. Solpadeine Max Tablets contain Paracetamol and Codeine phosphate hemihydrate. Solpadeine products should be taken for the short-term treatment of acute moderate pain which is not relieved by Paracetamol, Ibuprofen or Aspirin alone. Products containing Codeine can be addictive and should be used for a maximum of three days.

Solpadeine Headache Soluble Tablets contain Paracetamol and Caffeine – a mild analgesic and antipyretic formulated to give extra pain relief. Always read the leaflet.

Solpadeine Plus, Solpadeine Max and Solpadeine Headache products are not recommended for children under 12 years of age.


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