Your calf is extremely tender in one location, noticeably swollen, and red or warm to the touch.
The culprit If one of your calves is on fire, you might have deep-vein thrombosis, or DVT, also known as a blood clot. Here's how it usually happens: A flight to Tokyo or a deadline at work keeps you glued to your chair for hours. Blood starts to pool in your lower body and forms a clot. When it gets big enough to act as a stopper in the vein or artery, the area around it will start to hurt and swell. Smokers and women who take the Pill have a higher risk of developing clots.
The fix Resist the urge to massage the area or to walk it off. If the clot breaks free, it can travel through your veins up to your lungs and cut off your oxygen supply. Instead, see your doctor, who will do a CT scan or ultrasound to look for DVT. If you have a clot, you'll need to take blood thinners--sometimes for up to a year--to dissolve it, says Suzanne Steinbaum, M.D., director of women and heart disease at the Heart and Vascular Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City
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