What Causes Leg Cramps?

A muscle cramp is a strong, painful contraction or tightening up of a muscle that begins suddenly and lasts from a couple of seconds to numerous minutes. It frequently takes place in the legs.

Leg cramps – likewise called night cramps or Charley Horse – are painful spasms that usually take place in the calf muscles. Leg cramps tend to jolt an individual awake in the middle of the night, but can likewise strike in the daytime during exercises such as running and cycling. Fitness can put strain on your leg muscles. Some leg muscle cramps – which can last anywhere from a couple of seconds to approximately 10 minutes – might likewise be the result of a sedentary lifestyle.

What Causes Muscle Cramps in the Calves?

Leg cramps can be caused by many conditions, ranging merely from dehydration to something far more severe such as kidney disease. Cramps frequently result from vigorous exercise, trauma to the muscle, or keeping the leg in an unpleasant position for too long, such as sitting in a crowded place. Other causes can include medications such as birth control, diuretics (which are often prescribed for people with high blood pressure) and steroids. A lack of potassium or calcium can also be the underlying cause, along with cold weather.

Acute leg cramps often are puzzled with restless legs syndrome (RLS). However RLS is a various and more serious, chronic condition characterized by pain and persistent throbbing and pulling experiences in the legs.

Leg cramps also appear in following conditions:

  • when sleeping
  • in the morning
  • while walking
  • in calves and thighs
  • in the calf
  • after exercise
  • when stretching
  • when running
  • etc.

How to Prevent Leg Cramps

There are a number methods you can relieve nighttime leg cramps. Once leg cramps embeded in, the best approach to alleviate them is motion, either walking around or just jerking or shaking your leg. In addition, things like pumping your ankles up and down or rubbing the muscles can assist as well.

leg cramps in calves and thighs

What causes leg cramps in calves and thighs?

Some people with chronic leg cramps have actually discovered relief utilizing cool compresses, which work by numbing pain and reducing discomfort. However Hyland stated anybody who frequently suffers leg cramps ought to likewise work to reinforce their muscles, which will make cramps less frequent.

Our musculoskeletal system strikes its peak at the age of 20, and while it keeps its peak for an additional 20 years, the truth is that it starts to break down at age 40. This consists of muscles becoming less versatile. When we pass into the 4th years of life, it is critical we play an active function in stretching and strengthening our bodies to keep appropriate, optimum health. It may be best to speak with a physician if leg cramps last for 5 to 10 minutes or occur multiple times a week.

What to Take for Muscle Cramps

Analgesic balm or a patch, both offered non-prescription at drug stores, can provide additional relief. OTC pain relief medications that are developed to treat menstrual cramps, such a Pamprin and Midol, can be an efficient treatment for bad leg cramps.

You may also have the ability to avoid or alleviate muscle cramps in your legs by making basic lifestyle modifications. Consuming a lot of water is necessary, because cramps are often caused by dehydration. A healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables can also assist to reduce the frequency of leg cramps.

Vitamins and Minerals: Potassium and Magnesium to Avoid Muscle Cramps

Furthermore, certain minerals and vitamins effect muscle function, particularly potassium and magnesium. A considerable body of research has found that enhancing your magnesium consumption can aid with the frequency of night time leg cramps, specifically for pregnant women. Health professionals recommend getting at least 300 milligrams of magnesium each day. A supplement can help you reach your day-to-day allowance, but so can consuming foods abundant in magnesium, such as nuts, lentils, and quinoa.

Plan ahead for self-care if your leg cramps seem the outcome of exhausting workout. Drink a lot of fluids and eat a healthy meal before heading out for a long term. Lots of athletes suggest consuming a potassium-rich banana once you reach the goal.



Updated: August 4, 2016 — 12:51 pm

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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