Leg cramps are a common and painful condition that can cause significant disruption in an individual's life. They are characterized by sudden and involuntary contractions of the muscles of the legs, most commonly in the calves or thighs.
Leg cramps usually occur at night due to decreased muscle blood flow. They can last a few seconds to minutes and may wake people from a sound sleep.
Women and people over 50 are more likely to experience leg cramps than others.
Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition that may be linked to leg cramps; patients experience more intense cramps and an urge to move their legs to relieve discomfort.
Dehydration and mineral deficiencies, such as potassium and magnesium, can contribute to leg cramps.
Sometimes, leg cramps can be caused by diabetes, thyroid disorders, and other vascular problems.
Stretching and massage can be beneficial in relieving leg cramps.
Weak or tight muscles, or overuse of the muscles, can lead to leg cramps.
Certain medications, including those for opioid addiction and blood pressure, can lead to leg cramps.
Compression garments may promote blood flow, lessen swelling, and help relieve cramps.
Eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids are recommended to reduce the risk of leg cramps.