Can a smile reduce the pain of an injection? Causes range from overuse…, A blood clot in the leg can cause swelling, red skin, and warmth in the surrounding area. Standing for long periods during the day, which is common in many jobs, may fatigue muscles. How to Prevent Leg Cramps. This is a great treatment. Leg cramps happen when a muscle suddenly shortens and becomes tight (spasms). Nocturnal leg cramps can happen to anyone at any age, but they happen most often to older adults. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional, Healthcare workers have 7 times the risk of severe COVID-19, How blood markers and wealth predict future health problems, Diabetes risk is shared between people and their dogs. They may wake you up, make it harder for you to fall back asleep and leave you feeling sore all night. “Secondary” leg cramps are a symptom or complication of a more serious health condition. Unfortunately, there are no pills or injections that instantly relieve a leg cramp when it’s happening. Quinine also has the ability to stabilize muscle cell walls. Another leading theory is that sitting for an extended period, such as while working at a desk, may cause the muscles to shorten over time. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Try forcefully stretching the affected muscle (for example, stretch your calf muscle by flexing your foot upward). Your leg muscles need to be stretched out, however horrendous the exercise, to get rid of the pain. Drink plenty of liquids every day. This means that you can help prevent or reduce leg cramps by ensuring that your diet provides all the minerals that you need. We set out to you guys to hear what works for you! 75% of all reported leg cramps happen at night. Anyone uncertain about how supportive their footwear is can consult a podiatrist. Touch the wall with your arms outstretched while keeping your feet flat. People may wish to experiment with sleeping in more stretched out positions to see if this eases their nighttime leg cramps. Leg cramps can possibly be a sign of lifestyle choices such as: Leg cramps can also possibly be a sign of serious conditions including: Cancer treatments like chemotherapy can cause nerve damage, which may cause leg cramps. The older you are, the more likely you are to have leg cramps. When you do move, the restlessness stops, but there is still discomfort. He or she will help you identify the root cause, and also provide the right treatment for it. Then, wrap a towel around the ball of your foot and gently pull on the ends of the fabric to stretch your leg back. 40% of pregnant women will experience leg cramps at night. This may include such activities as walking or spending a few minutes on a stationary bike before bedtime. However, persistent or recurring pain can be a sign of an…, © 2004-2020 Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK, a Red Ventures Company. You’re also more likely to get them if you’re a woman. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. Stretching also can ease a spasm. Leg cramps are unlikely to be a sign of: Leg cramps are not likely to be a sign of a deficiency in: Unfortunately, leg cramps happen very suddenly. The muscle tenses up, causing discomfort or moderate to severe pain and tightness in the area. While some sources say that mineral deficiencies cause nocturnal leg cramps, there is limited evidence that this is true. This physical inactivity when a person has not stretched their muscles for a while may increase the risk of cramps, and these can commonly occur in bed at night. It might also help to apply ice or heat – use a heating pad or take a warm bath. Experiencing leg cramps at night is fairly common. Sitting for long periods of time or otherwise being inactive may make the muscles in your … It does work. “There is a … In that case, work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the pros and cons of the medication vs. its side effects. What can you do longer term? Although painful to live with, cramps are generally harmless. try stretching your muscles in your lower leg to help prevent the cramps and reduce the frequency. 2. Kidney failure (hemodialysis): A condition in which one or both kidneys no longer work correctly. A leg cramp feels like a clenched, contracted muscle tightened into a knot. Up to 60% of adults get leg cramps at night, as do up to 40% of children and teenagers. In some cases, doctors will prescribe medications to treat chronic leg cramps, including: A person should talk with a doctor to discuss these drugs and any possible side effects. Leg cramps are painful, involuntary muscle contractions that can last seconds or minutes. The muscles in people who are less physically active may be shorter, which may increase the risk of cramping or spasms. According to a review about nocturnal leg cramps, the research available suggests that muscle fatigue is a primary cause. Leg cramps occur when one or more leg muscles involuntarily contract, causing intense pain and temporary disability. Dehydration: The lack of sufficient water in the body. restless legs syndrome than it is with night leg cramps. Fluids help transport nutrients and waste to and from the muscles. If a person experiences them frequently, if they get in the way of daily life, and if home methods do not help, they should speak to a doctor about possible causes and treatments. Some conditions and drugs can cause them, and there are risk factors you’ll want to avoid. There may also be a link between pregnancy and leg cramps at night. (Read the “Management and Treatment” section for more tips.). Inactivity. Hypokalemia: Low potassium levels in your blood. Antibiotics may not always do the trick, so many … Nearly every adult age 50 and older will have them at least one time. It’s a crawling sensation that makes you want to move your legs. However, there are risk factors such as pregnancy and the use of medications that have leg cramps as a side effect. Leg cramps are involuntary muscle spasms anywhere in the leg, though they are most common in the calf. Also, lumbar canal stenosis: A narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back. Leg cramps are very common and usually harmless. There are also other treatments and prevention methods to try. Pain from swelling caused by excess fluid (edema) may feel like leg cramps. "-Sonia E. Stay Hydrated Some people may notice they have less cramping when they wear more supportive shoes. Athletes are more likely to get leg cramps after doing higher than normal levels of activity. To get rid of a thigh cramp, stretch your hamstring by lying flat on the ground and lifting the leg that’s cramping. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. There are rumors that leg cramps can also be a sign of the following conditions. Also works on foot, hand and thigh cramps. In general, you should be drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day, … Quinine for Muscle Cramps at Night. Don’t wear too tight clothes on your legs if you suffer from thigh cramps. It may help deal with the pain from a cramp but will not relieve the cramps. Nocturnal leg cramps can happen to anyone at any age, but they happen most often to older adults. Anyone experiencing regular leg cramps at night for prolonged periods should see a doctor for a full diagnosis. This is because your tendons (the tissues that connect your muscles to your bones) naturally shorten as you age. Among those who have them, about 40% experience symptoms three times a week, and 5% to 10% report symptoms every night. Risk factors include age. Get useful, helpful and relevant health + wellness information. Are you getting regular leg cramps? Avoid dehydration. According to a report in American Family Physician, as many as 60% of adults and 7% of children experience leg cramps at night. It can be severely uncomfortable, painful, or even unbearable. You might also know them as a “charley horse.” Sometimes the cramp may cause your leg to spasm – to tighten uncontrollably. Out positions to see if this eases their nighttime leg cramps is an amazing old Amish formula stops. Tenses up, make it very difficult to fall asleep, and do over... Vs. its side effects – to tighten uncontrollably endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products services! 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