Calf Hypertrophy

Calf Hypertrophy

Calf enlargement has many causes; it may reflect true hypertrophy (enlargement of muscle fibers) or, more commonly, pseudohypertrophy, due to infiltration with tissue elements other than muscle.

Hypertrophy may be due to neuromuscular disorders producing:

  • Chronic partial denervation, for example:
    • radiculopathy
    • peripheral neuropathy
    • spinal muscular atrophy
    • following paralytic poliomyelitis.
  • Continuous muscle activity, for example:
    • myotonia congenita
    • Isaacs syndrome (neuromyotonia)
    • generalized myokymia.

Pseudohypertrophy may be due to:

  • Dystrophinopathies (Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Becker dystrophy), due to excess connective tissue.
  • Infection/inflammation: myositis
  • Infiltration: amyloidosis, tumor, cysticercosis



Coles A, Dick D. Unilateral calf hypertrophy. Journal of Neurology,Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 2004; 75: 1606
Wilson H, Kidd D, Howard RS, Williams AJ, Spencer GT. Calf hypertrophy following paralytic poliomyelitis. Postgraduate Medical Journal2000; 76: 179-181


Cross References

Gowers’ sign; Muscle hypertrophy; Myokymia; Myotonia; Neuromyotonia