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Calf pain after arthroscopic knee surgery


I just had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn miniscus and I am having more pain in the calf of my leg then in the knee. The calf is very tight and painful. I had a Doppler venus test to make sure there was no blood clots. There aren’t any. The Dr. says it is how I am walking that is causing the pain. He said to walk heel to toe and use warm wet compresses. Is there anything else I should be doing. I am going back to the Dr. on Thursday (1 week after surgery) I don’t know if he will recommend physical therapy. I need relief from this calf pain. Any ideas.ThanksEllen


  1. I had meniscus repair surgery and a micro fracture done on my left knee about 4 weeks ago. Before that I had also had a Synvisc injection. I started getting the calf pain after the Synvisc injection. Immediately after the surgery and whilst I was on anti inflams the calf abated. It is now back and if I stop taking anti inflammatories, it just increases. I have had a Doppler for blood clots that was negative but showed low blood flow. Are these calf pains going to stop and if so how long will it take ?

  2. I have had very painful calf since knee surgery on Oct. 12th. Like others it feels like a permanent ‘post charley horse’ pain. Nothing helps – cold, heat, drugs, massage. My surgeon says fluid probably drained into the calf during surgery -just need to wait it out. How long will this last?

  3. I had arthroscopic knee surgery April 13th, 2012. About 3 days after surgery i started feeling extreme pain in my calf. I went to the ER yesterday Apri 19, 2012 and had a ultra sound done to find blood clots and nothing was found. The Doctor said i had Superficial Thrombophlebitis. I still have extreme pain in my calf when i go stand up and been using hot wash cloth in microwave to heat it up for about 40 second and lay it on my calf but it seems its a temporary relief for just about 30 minutes. Can anyone help with information that could help take the pain away. Thank you, JPA

  4. i had arthroscopic knee surgery for a torn medial meniscus 10 days ago. i also had a baker’s cyst and apparently it ruptured before i had the surgery and the synovial fluid drained into my calf causing my calf and ankle to swell up. i did have an ultrasound to verify i had not developed dvt. the calf pain has caused my pt to not go according to schedule. when i ride the bike, even though my knee is okay; once i get off, the calf tightens up. i wore compression stockings for 5 days and the calf swelling is reduced, but the calf still tightens up. has anyone else had a baker’s cyst rupture about the same time they had arthroscopic surgery and if so, how long did the calf pain last?

  5. It is Sept 5, 2011 today. I had surgery for a torn meniscus and torn cartilage on July 6 of this year. I had a long talk with my Physical Therapist after surgery, about 2.5 weeks after. I too am having calf pain and my doppler was negative. The physical therapist explained to me that when the surgeon led me to believe all would be well a few days after surgery, he left out the fact that that is only true if you have acess to a whole team of physical therapists 24/7, who are doing, exercises, weights, whirlpool, inon therapy and ice. This is what they do you see, with professional football players. And, bear in mind, this is college level. I am a 55 year old woman in relatively strong shape, although I am about 50 pounds overweight, I am strong, ride a bike and lift weights anyway. So when I started experiencing this pain afterward, and was debilitated for a day or so, I got pretty upset with my surgeon. I wrote a letter to my provider and told it like it was, not appreciating being mis-lead about my recovery period. I am a nurse, with many years of ortho experience so this really pissed me off.I iced the area, took anti-inflammatories, and rested my calf for a day, gently, slowly walking, relaxing my leg. I also used strong support hose, and when the pain was really bad, wrapped my calf in an ACE for a day. It helped a bit. It will take months to really recover so share this with your hubby. Be patient.

  6. THe day after surgery severe calf pain have not be able to sleep at night went to follow up to remove stiches and they sent for droppler and it was negative here we are 11 days and still have calf pain what shalll i do

  7. Hi there,I had arthroscopic knee surgery on the 24th (few days ago). I have terrible calf pain and I was sent today for the doppler test for blood clots which turned out negative. I don’t understand how it could be from walking, because my pain started the next day after surgery. My doctor said it could be a strain. Any ideas what can be happening??

  8. These posts are now so old, I wonder if anyone of you still has calf pain or how long it too to heal?My medal meniscus repair was one week ago, calf pain started 2 days ago. Going to try the heel to toe walking, as I am sure I am not walking right.Can anyone let me know how they are doing now?

  9. I had knee surgery about a week ago. The day after surgery my calf started hurting and it hurt worse than my knee. They thought I had a blood clot and sent me for a doppler, which it turned out not to be a blood clot. It was the way I was walking. I was walking kind of on my tip toes and not putting the heel of my foot down. Once I started making myself walk heel to toe the calf pain went away.

  10. I had knee surgery about a week ago. My calf started hurting me and hurt worse than my knee. I figured out I was walking on the front part of my foot and not putting my heel down (kind of on my tip toes) Once I quit doing that the calf pain went away. I keep telling myself: Walk heel to toe, heel to toe. It really will help and quickly too. They thought I was having a blood clot and even sent me for a doppler because of the calf pain. But it turned out just to be the way I was walking

  11. I’m post-op 10 days and having terrible calf pain after a menescous repair. I’ve read the posts but don’t know how to get the answers, please help.

  12. I have been having some fairly severe pain in a lower center part of my calf about a week ago. Its been 3 weeks post op from my ACL reconstruction. I originally thought that i had pulled a muscle or strained a tendon. I notice that the pain is most severe after periods of rest where my leg is elevated (like when i wake in the morning)From the posts it sounds as if some of the problems people are experiencing are similar. I will repost if i find anything new from my doctor.

  13. I didn’t think this was a common problem but apparently it is… I had surgery 12 days ago and the follow-up doctor’s appointment 4 days ago. The doctor said to take it slowly then go from there.My first “unassisted” walk (no cane, no crutches) was 2 days ago, the pain in my calf came yesterday. It felt like a permanent charlie horse. Does anyone have any suggestions or exercises?

    • re: the calf painI went to my first physical therapy yesterday and mentioned this to the therapist.She said that since my knee was probably bent for a long time and full weight was not on my injured leg, now my calf muscle is waking up and feeling it.She also mentioned that massage will help it; if I want to exercise and walk, let pain be my guide. After exercising, ice it as needed.Good luck to your knee and calf!

  14. Had knee arthroscopic surgery on Apr09/’09. Have severe calf and below the knee pain and cramps since then; it is rock hard and is taking Motrin for the inflammation. But it seems as the effects of Motrin wears off the the hardness and the cramps come back. I am also taking Vicodin alternately for the pain.My doctor too said everything would be fine and dandy after the surgery, and here I am groaning and limping and can’t even put my foot down. I go back for post-op this Apr17/’09. Don’t what will be next.

  15. My husband just had knee surgery and he to is having terrible pain in his calf and they are swollen and now black and blue. Sometimes when he gets up to walk he gets cramps in the calf or charlie horses. He also was tested for blood clots but found none. His knee feels pretty good but he isn’t walking well because of the calf. Dr. won’t give any explaination either. It sure seems to me if you do a lot of these types of surgeries you would have someone else with these symptons and be able to tell a person what to do. Any other suggestions?

  16. So glad to have found this board. I had surgery on Wed (today is Friday) and my calf is so painful. Doesn’t hurt when I sit, only when I stand or walk. Dr. made it sound like I’d be running a marathon in a few days after surgery (as he explained it to my husband, so my hubby thinks I’m milking it)Going to show him your posts.This is no fun.Donna

  17. I had arthroscopic surgery on 7/2 and I developed severe calf pain 3 days later. My knee feels great but my calf hurts extremely bad, it feels like a permanent charlie-horse. I massage it 1-2 times a day, but it is very painful. No one has tested me for blood clots yet, so I am a bit worried and might push for it to rule it out. Anymore suggestions on dealing with this problem or has anyone else gotten better from this?

    • Are the answers to any of these folks questions posted somewhere for all to view?I am having the same difficulty with charlie horse pain in calf and now both calves. Just saw my surgeon post op for cartilage removal. He is having me go to phys. therapy to help w/ walking. Also checking for blood clots. What is the main concensus for this type of thing. Can it be overstretching, walking wrong, smoking? Any ideas?

  18. Just wondering, since all of these posts are fairly old now,..does anyone have any relief yet? I am only 4 days post-op, but very concerned with the severe calf pain. My knee feels great,..the calf is just as everyone else has described it.

  19. Hi…After posting just over an hour ago, I did some more rearch. Google “Compartnment Syndrome” and see if it descibe your symtoms regarding calf pain. It discribed mine to a “T” However, it said the vast majority of sufferers are males. But there is a small percentage of females who get it. The doctor to see if you think you have this is a neurologist. I plan on making an appointment with one tomorow. I’d like to print out some info, but my friend who’s an RN said generally that doctors hate it when patients come in with stuff printed off the internet. Oh well, patients need to be savvy comsumers of their health care, and need to be assertive and hopefully the drs. will see it as a team approach. I may or may not have this, but it sure seems to explain the way my calfs are causng excruciating pain. Is there anyone out there who has seen a neurologist for calf pain? I’d like to hear how they made out. Anyways, some food for thought.

  20. I had terrible calf pain before my arthroscopy today for torn meniscus. I can’t even stand in line at the grocery or post office. I always have to “have a sit” whenever possible.” Ultrsounds on my legs came back negative for blood clot. When I woke up after the surgery, my calf on the same leg hurt so bad!! They gave me morphine, but it didn’t help. I had minimal pain from the scope. Even 3 Percocet didn’t relive the pain. I’m wondering if my knees have been so inflammed for over 10 years by severe osteoarthris, that the inflammation is spreading down to my calfs. It’s almost to the point of disabling. I fear I will be on crutches all the time if this keeps up. No doctor can give me a good explanation. I’m desperate and tired. Anybody have any ideas?

  21. surgery 5/19. having really bad charley-horse like cramps in my calf. glad to read that all of you guys had it too. does it get any better?thanks

  22. I am 5 months post – op miniscus repair, have been through 2 rounds of PT, and now have so much pain in my calf I can hardly walk, it is hard but not red.

  23. This is 5 months after my surgery and I still have the calf pain. Not when I am off of it. When I first stand up, I have such calf pain I can’t stand on it for the first 30 seconds or so.I can walk ok for periods of time but can’t stand for any period of time.

  24. Oh my goodness! I am so thrilled that I am not the only one! I am 9 days post microfracture surgery, and my calf hurts far more than anything else. I was getting worried as noone has done any tests for blood clots. On Day 3 after surgery, my PT said it was likely caused from the way I was walking. I saw my surgeon today and he said it can be from laying with the calf pressed into a pillow for lengthy periods (causing swelling that is dripping down from the knee to pool in the calf muscle). He recommended laying on my side and shifting positions more frequently when sitting/sleeping.It hasn’t helped. But I thought it might be worth mentioning.

  25. i have the same thing 2 1/2 wks post ACL allograft reconstuction. all studies for dvts are normal (3 ultrasounds…and were good studies) surgery sites look good. calf hurts : worst overnight! unrelated to weightbearing. what happended with your problem?

  26. My calf pain started a few weeks before my arthroscopic knee surgery and the doctor then said it was beccause of how I was walking (favoring my painful swollen knee).Now, almost two weeks after surgery, both the knee and calf continue to feel the same. I’m hoping that PT will help. I start it this week.

  27. I thought I was going nuts, but have the same problem. My knee doesn’t feel bad at all, but the pain in my calf – only when I walk – is horrible. It’s fine when resting. The PT I saw said it likely isn’t a blood clot (by my symptoms). I am doing the heal/toe walk. Any help?

  28. I had my surgery of menascus tear done on 26 dec .
    Aftr surgery i started wth calf pain. Now 2 mnths completed still my calf pain is thr. I took several medicines on it. No use at all.
    Now aftr 45 dayd i started walking. It was better for 10 days . But now again psin started in my knee. Is it due to excess walk. Wil i face any problem or has my condition worsen up.
    Plz reply

  29. I am reassured after reading these comments. Glad to know I’m not the only one! I had a knee arthroscopy 2 weeks ago. Calf pain started 4 days after the operation. Just as people here have said, the calf is painful but the knee seems ok. I’m going to try ice on it for a few hours. I’ll let you know the outcome. We ‘painful calfers’ are all in it together, boys and girls!

  30. I had arthroscopic knee surgery over 5 months ago. Shortly after the surgery for the following couple of weeks, my main source of pain was in my thigh muscles. Felt like they could cramp up any given second. but eventually it went away. Terrible calf pain now with occasional spasms. Like the worst charlie horse pain I’ve ever known. Sitting is fine, but standing for any length of time is a killer. Also have trouble getting up from sitting to standing. along with those first few steps. Nothing helps – anti-inflamatories, muscle relaxers, ice, heat… I’m hoping this too will go away on it’s own since this pain is way worse than any pain I had before my surgery.

  31. So glad I found this and i’m not the only one. Had anthroscopy to remove piece of torn meniscus and as soon as I tried walking had severe pain in my calf, after 8 days still severe pain, calf feels tight and have bruising on calf and foot. Was sent for a scan to rule out a blood clot and was told I had severe internal bruising on my calf but no blood clot thankfully. Painkillers do not work and only respite I get from the pain is rest.

  32. I had my outside miniscus removed from my right knee, because it was so extremely damaged, Dr. Said my running and walking hobbies are over, since I am bone on bone on the right side. I was walking the next day after surgery and within the first three weeks I was improving constantly. Around the 6 week post op, I started getting severe cramps in the top of my calf just below the knee. It often gave shooting pain down the calf into my foot. It is so painful I often can not sleep. I am religious about doing all the physical therapy exercises and stretches, but I can’t get it to relax. I am in my 8th week post op now, and I still am in pain. It especially hurts when I first stand up, or often when I’m driving and my leg is in the same position where I can’t stretch it. I sure hope this subsides soon. I read to keep extremely hydrated, so I started drinking a lot more water. I will let you know how it goes.

  33. I had arthroscopic knee surgery. It is now ten weeks and I have calf pain, spasm in my shin and I still can’t bear weight. PT seems to make it worse. I had an ultrasound on my leg and even a chest CT to rule out blood clots. It is difficult for me because I was walking 3-4 miles a day before the surgery.
    I was hoping the surgery would take care if my episodes of knee pain due to my torn meniscus.
    I have a heart condition and I need to get aerobic exercise. My pain is worse than before and I’m sorry I ever had this surgery. My surgeon does not respond to my phone calls, so I am seeing another surgeon. I still have quite a bit of swelling. I’ve been to the ER and my primary care physician and both of them state that my knee looks fine. No improvement in ten weeks is discouraging.

  34. July 2017 and I’ll keep this thread running! You’ll be able to walk out of surgery, they said. Pfft! Just over 2 weeks post op and I’ve been experiencing this calf pain too for a few days now. Ever since I tried walking without crutches and tried bearing a bit of weight. I had my first checkup yesterday but I felt like it was really a take my bandaid off and go. No check up on how I’m going with walking etc. I really feel like I’ve just had this surgery and then been left in the dark. Probably going to go to my GP for a checkup instead. I’m also having a lot of trouble trying to do this bed exercises. My knee is still really limited to how far it can bend and straighten. My first surgery and the aftermath is just a real nuisance! I feel so useless.

  35. I have horrible calf pain when walking. I’m 2 days post surgery where they removed a piece of my meniscus due to a tear. I’m walking but on my tip toe of the injured leg. The post I read about not being on your leg prior to the surgery made since b/c I haven’t put weight on my leg in about 3 weeks prior to surgery and I’m walking with a limp not really putting weight on my leg. I will try the heel to toe method. So glad I’m not the only one having this affect after surgery.

  36. Same with the Charlie horse like calf pain. More of nuisance than anything. Painful when I walk around but dr. Office said it’s likely due to the way I have been walking. 6 days post meniscus surgery. Knee is doing great though. Lol!!

  37. 10 days post-op for torn meniscus removal and grade4 chondroplasty. My calf pain set in 2 days after surgery. Doppler negative for blood clot.. but pain is pretty intense. Feels like a Charlie horse constantly coming on. You would think these Drs and therapists would address this… the calf pain has been just as hard to deal with as the knee itself!!!

  38. I am three weeks post lateral meniscus and anthroscopic for arthritis to help with cartilidge damage. (Sorry if I’m not spelling medical terms correctly). Out of nowhere come the worst calf pain, Charlie horse x 5. My calf is so tight it feels like it will burst at any given moment. In the morning when I get up, gasping pain directly under the calf muscle. This is not acceptable, why are so many of us suffering from this terrible pulling, tearing pain. My knee is still a bit sore but not bad, it’s that damn calf that has slowed my walk down to a crawling pace. I called the doc and they have scheduled a post op MRI for tomorrow. I hate hearing that this seems to be an ongoing problem for many. I intend to tell my doctor about all these post and ask why the possibility of this happening was never mentioned. Oh, I also had major ankle swelling immediately after my injury, just curious as to how many of you had the big cankle-ankle before surgery. I hope we all have a full recovery in our futures. p.s. I’m 52 years old and I felt like I was 40 until all this happened, I’m also curious how old the rest of you are and if this has any bearing on the calf pain. Thanks for reading. Feel better soon.

  39. So I’ve read 38 post about this problem that my 84yr old mother is experiencing for the past 3 wks following a arthroscopic surgery for torn meniscus. She is literally in tears and is now on Percocet and Valium. Is there no treatment or name for thiis condition???? PLEASE HELP!!

  40. 24 sept knee replacement on 18th.yesterday was my second day of walking with a maybe 100 steps during started in the nook at back of my knee..then the ankle area..and now the calf.painkiller seems no help..horrible..i am very careful to walk heel to toe..but this is lousy! I also cant find an appropriate position for not sleepg only on my back..also fearful of knee position
    I am soo glad i am not alone..will keep this thread going..good luck everyone

  41. Arthroscopic knee surgery for loose bodies in my knee on Sept 19th. Have had horrible swollen, tight, tender, painful calf ever since I started putting weight on it the day after surgery. I was checked for blood clots, and none were found. I’ve taken a few different pain meds. They don’t help. I feel like if I didn’t have this severe calf pain I would be walking almost normal.

  42. Had my right meniscus tear cut away on sept 24 and toddy 3 weeks later still having lots of swelling and what I would call tooth ache in the knee, calf muscle pain a week ago but so far it been good, I’ve read that you can get nerve damage from this operation when they go in through the knees and from all the comments I’m wondering if this is what we are all experiencing.
    Still get extreme pain if I trust the knee by mistake and for me my right knee is still clicking/catching when bending, I have asked the surgery regarding this and told it’s normal but I recon I have a small tear again in the cartilidge.
    Realy wish I knew of the recovery time from knee surgery as I could of made a better choice in deciding what to do. Due to go back to work tomorrow on light duties as a field engineer and due to loss of sick pay but I recon I’m heading for more issue in doing so.
    Glad to see and read comments like above as other people can read and see meniscus repair does have recovery problems

  43. I had ACL surgery on my left knee on the 17th of October and starting 2 days after surgery when I could feel my leg again I started having severe calf pain. I am 9 days out of surgery my knee pain is almost non-existent but the calf pain gets horrible, I know if seen people say it’s from how your walking but I’ve yet to take a step with anything but crutches, my foot hasn’t touched the ground. When I had my post op the doc said it was normal but how can such pain in my calf be normal after knee surgery and how long does this last. I can’t even crutch myself the the bathroom without it hurting like crazy after. Hopefully someone finds out some good news my pain pills are running low.

  44. Same scenario here as everyone else. Calf pain started on third day after surgery. A small blood clot was found in my lower leg so now I am on eliquis. However still have the calf pain. I am going to do the heel to tie walking to see if this helps. This sucks ! If anybody gets better on this posting board please post! And I thought my problems would be over after surgery!!!!!!!!

  45. Had surgery 3 weeks ago…fierce pain in calf with bruising to foot…Also fluid buildup behind the knee causing horrible pain when walking…anyone else having that?l