Why does the calf muscle spasm occur and in what cases need the help of a doctor?
Episodic muscle spasms are considered a normal physiological phenomenon, which may be caused by a lack of vitamins, circulatory disorders, and overstrain. Systematic spasms of the gastrocnemius muscles at night should cause concern, the causes of which should be determined together with the doctor. Treatment of antispasmodic attacks depends on the factor that caused the disorder.
Causes of attacks
Myoclonus is a group of pathologies that includes muscle spasms in the calf, hip area. Such convulsions are not accompanied by loss of consciousness, they are caused by abnormalities in the neuromuscular apparatus.
The calf muscles (musculus gastrocnemius) is located on the back of the calf. Muscles are attached to the heel bone with the help of the Achilles tendon. The function of these muscles is to maintain the balance of the body when walking, running and the ability to move the feet. The calf muscle is the most extensible of all muscles.
The gastrocnemius convulsions are the most painful, they arise due to the strong involuntary tension of the gastrocnemius muscle fibers. The spasm is accompanied by an acute painful syndrome, since there is a simultaneous pinching of several nerve endings located in the lower limb.
Often, legs together at night, you need to find out why this happens. Experts explain nighttime spasms by slowing down blood circulation, which is not able to deliver the required amount of nutrients to organs and tissues.
Causes of cramps in the calf muscles may be associated with the following processes.
- Strong muscle load. Calf participate in all types of physical activity of a person: swimming, running, tennis, skating, squats. Prolonged intense exercise can cause spasms.
- Deficiency of vitamins, minerals. With a deficiency of potassium and magnesium often reduces the legs at night. This cause is the most common problem in the diagnosis of spasms in pregnant women.
- Dehydration. Cramps in the calf muscles occur against the background of excessive sweating and fluid loss. During intense training, the necessary nutrients are flushed out of the body along with sweat.
- Damage to the gastrocnemius muscle. After unusual exercise, acute, not passing pain in the legs may be felt. In this case, there is a suspicion of stretching or tearing of the muscle. For correct diagnosis, you need to contact a traumatologist.
- Wearing low-quality shoes. Long stay in uncomfortable tight shoes, made of artificial materials, leads to cramps. If a woman wears high-heeled shoes that force the foot and lower leg to flex unnaturally, this increases the risk of developing orthopedic diseases.
- Hypothermia. Antispasmodic attacks often occur after swimming in a cold pond, a long stay in the cold. The cold provokes a narrowing of the venous and arterial walls, which slows down the metabolic processes in the cells.
- Improper circulation in the limbs, which led to dysfunction of the skeleton: dislocation, flat feet, dysplasia, trauma during childbirth, diseases of the nervous system. The bones are in the wrong position, which causes an unnatural arrangement of muscles and blood vessels, leading to spasms.
Spasm of the gastrocnemius muscle may develop against the background of uncontrolled intake of diuretic drugs. If a person uses drugs of this kind, it is necessary to additionally take products containing potassium. Diseases such as diabetes, alcoholism, Parkinson’s disease, cirrhosis lead to the appearance of antispasmodic attacks.
People with varicose veins of the legs have recurring cramps at night, causing severe pain. Treatment of spasms on the background of varicose veins should be carried out by a doctor.
How to eliminate spasm
If the calf cramps, it is necessary to stretch the limb by performing a simple exercise. You need to stand facing the wall, retreating from it a meter, and put your palms on the wall. It should be slowly removed from the wall, not lifting the foot from the floor. Such a manipulation will help stretch the muscle.
Note! To eliminate muscle spasm, you can attach a heating pad to the leg or prick the affected muscle with a pin.
Massage also helps relax the muscle. It is recommended to press with your thumb on the center point of the calf. Then you need to push on the popliteal fossa, it will quickly relieve tension.
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Therapy of antispasmodic attacks in the calf begins with the adjustment of the diet. It is necessary to increase the amount of complex carbohydrates that are contained in pasta, cereals, vegetables. It is required to enrich the menu with healthy fats, which are responsible for the contractility of muscles. To do this, eat butter, red fish. Products should contain magnesium and B vitamins: dried fruits, greens, bran, seaweed, nuts.
Tip! During the rest should lie with their legs raised up.
If the cramps do not subside, the doctor will conduct the necessary diagnostics and prescribe treatment of those diseases that led to the attacks. Usually carry out the correction of the electrolyte composition of the blood and fill the lack of fluid.
In acute painful syndrome accompanying inflammation of the tendons, appoint muscle relaxants. Effectively relieve spasms of the calf muscles physiotherapy. Often used electrotherapeutic methods that relax and anesthetize the muscles by exposure to current.
During stress, hormones are released into the bloodstream, which reduce the absorption of nutrients, causing cramps. To stop an antispasmodic attack and eliminate the effects of hormones, you need to eat a little bitter chocolate or drink orange juice. Ascorbic acid and sugar block the effects of stress hormones.
How to prevent
To prevent the development of calf cramps, it is recommended to follow certain rules:
- Do not abuse alcohol and tobacco.
- Moderately play sports.
- Sleep in a comfortable position.
- Before bed do relaxing foot bath using herbs, sea salt.
- Massage the legs using ointments that improve blood circulation.
- In case of varicose veins it is required to wear compression underwear.
- Wear shoes on a low run.
You should also remember about the use of vitamin-mineral complexes, which compensate for the deficiency of nutrients.
Spasms of the gastrocnemius muscles indicate malfunctions in the body. To get rid of cramps, you need to find out the cause of the attacks. The treatment of systematic muscle tension should deal with the doctor.