Why leg cramps occur: causes, diagnosis and treatment


Muscle contractions bother many, they can affect the calves, feet, thighs. Cramps in the legs appear most often, accompanied by unbearable pain. In order to get rid of limb spasms, you need to determine the cause of the violation.

Characteristic of spasms

Nerve impulses regulate muscle contractions. The functioning of skeletal muscles depends on brain activity and is arbitrary. When the muscle tenses involuntarily, a cramp occurs. Movement in the affected area is restricted. Spasms are fixed when changing electrolyte blood composition, lack of nutrients involved in the functioning of the neuromuscular apparatus.

Cramps – a sudden contraction of the muscles, accompanied by acute pain. Voltage can last from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Pain syndrome goes away after complete muscle . There are tonic spasms in which a long-lasting pain syndrome is recorded, and clonic – short-term contractions, followed by relaxation. Cramps in the legs belong to the tonic group, may occur in the feet, legs, toes and calves.

Generalized seizures are most dangerous for a person; when all muscles simultaneously contract, a person loses consciousness. Brain tumors can cause this condition. Such spasms are caused by serious illnesses and require urgent medical attention.

People of different ages and genders suffer from antispasmodic attacks. People of the older age group are most susceptible to spasms. This is due to a sedentary lifestyle and the development of aging processes. In addition, the elderly take a lot of medications, the side effects of which are cramps.

Of great importance is the occupation of the person. Convulsions often occur in movers, athletes.

Cramps in the legs often occur at night. This is due to slower blood circulation, uncomfortable posture in sleep and increased brain activity caused by dreams. Systematic nightly cramps in the legs signal a deficiency of calcium, potassium in the body. Antispasmodic attacks can occur in the morning, when the muscles dramatically involved in the work.


Factors contributing to cramping in the legs include:

  • Deficiency of vitamin D, magnesium, potassium, which provokes a monotonous , abuse of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine. Such a state disrupts the process of transmitting impulses to the muscles.
  • Dehydration. Excessive perspiration evacuates trace elements from the body that are involved in muscle function. Therefore, it is recommended to drink more fluids, especially during intense sporting events.
  • Temperature fluctuations. Overcooling when bathing in a reservoir or while being in a hard frost leads to a reduction in the muscles of the limbs, and cramps in the legs appear.
  • Physical activity. Strong stress during exercise, an improperly distributed load, the absence of warm-up before exercise causes an overstrain of one muscle group. To prevent leg cramps, you need to alternate relaxation with a load.
  • Diseases. Disturbed metabolism, vascular pathology, leg injuries provoke seizures. In such situations, the help of a specialist is required.
  • Stress. Emotional overstrain affects the nerve endings that regulate muscle contraction. Excessive synthesis of the stress hormone causes a deficiency of trace elements necessary for proper muscle functioning.

The lack of elements required for healthy functioning of the neuromuscular apparatus is triggered by the intake of adsorbents, diuretic drugs. Medicines of this action prevent the proper absorption of calcium and magnesium. Diuretic drugs wash out potassium. The deficiency of the described elements disrupts the work of the muscular system, causing cramps. The clubfoot contributes to the spasm of the calf muscles. The heel is deflected inward, bending the ankle joint.

During pregnancy, women more often than usual complain of limb spasms. This is due to both the lack of essential trace elements and the impaired blood supply to the legs.

An increase in body temperature above 39 ° C causes a febrile convulsive attack. This condition is most often recorded in .

If spasms are rare, there is no reason to worry. This can be influenced by an abnormal position of the body, which leads to a clamping of the nerve. But frequent numbness indicates unhealthy processes in the body.

Systematic spasms can be caused by epilepsy, severe mental disorders, , diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases. Pathology of the kidneys, thyroid gland, sciatica, flat feet can also trigger seizures.

Possible complications

As a result of impaired cardiac and pulmonary activity, convulsions can lead to death. In severe cases, convulsive syndrome provokes:

Why leg cramps occur: causes, diagnosis and treatment

  • cardiac arrest;
  • arrhythmia;
  • muscle fiber tearing;
  • pulmonary edema;
  • brain hemorrhage;
  • spinal fracture;
  • injury due to loss of consciousness.

The concentration of potassium and lactic acid increases with muscle spasms. This increase leads to heart failure.

Therapeutic methods

Treatment of leg cramps should begin with finding the causes of the disorder. After the diagnosis, the nature of the underlying disease will be taken into account.

With a deficiency of nutrients, patients are usually prescribed vitamins E, B, D. Elements restore healthy muscular function.

If the cause of muscle spasms is the reception of pharmacological drugs, then it is necessary to replace the drug with a similar one. When using diuretic drugs, the patient must additionally take potassium.

When metabolic disorders and endocrine diseases are required to settle the hormones. In such situations, you need to contact an endocrinologist.

If varicose veins are diagnosed, it is recommended to use means that strengthen the vascular walls. Only a doctor can prescribe a suitable drug.

If you experience seizures on the background of epilepsy, you need to lay the patient on his side to prevent blockage of the airways vomit. It is also necessary to place a hard object between the victim’s teeth, this measure will allow to avoid the bite of the tongue.

Drug treatment

Cramps in the legs – a symptom that accompanies the disease. There are no remedies for spasms. To eliminate pain, you need to cure the underlying disease.

Aspirin can be used as a first aid in muscle twitching, the tablet will improve microcirculation processes in the vessels of the extremities.

The most common cause of numbness is a deficiency in vitamin and mineral elements. For the prevention and treatment of night cramps, doctors recommend preparations containing magnesium: Mydocalm, Baclofen, Natur Calm.

Important! If the leg cramps, as a first aid you can use Finalgon. Ointment instantly eliminates the painful syndrome.

Doctors recommend that patients suffering from private leg cramps, take sedative herbal remedies. Natural herbal medicines eliminate overwork, nervous irritability, fatigue – which is why seizures occur.

Vitamin-mineral complexes fill the lack of nutrients: Magne-B6, Complivit, Calcium D3 Nicomed, Alphabet. Such drugs are allowed to take at any age: as a child, and the elderly person. Acceptance of vitamin complexes prevents the development of micronutrient deficiencies. The choice of vitamins should be done by a doctor.

Physical activity

To facilitate muscle twitching at home, you can resort to performing a special set of exercises. Gymnastic movements will eliminate pain, reduce the frequency of spasms.

If your leg is cramped, you must perform the following movements:

  • lying on your back you need to stretch your limbs and pull your feet back;
  • perform the exercise “bike”;
  • place your hands along your torso and alternately lift your legs up, sipping them towards yourself;
  • climb socks 10 times;
  • in the sitting position you need to rotate the feet.

Tip! If it starts to reduce the foot, you need to pull the big toe on yourself. This will help stop muscle spasm.

At bedtime, it is recommended to drench your feet first with cold and then hot . The temperature contrast improves microblood circulation.

Alternative medicine

Treat leg cramps can be with the help of folk remedies, which can reduce the frequency of spasms.

If the legs are cramped, a compress from honey will help, which is put in place of numbness for half an hour. This recipe can be used for children.

Elderly people with varicose veins are recommended to rub the affected vessels with a solution of apple cider vinegar. This solution is made of 2 tablespoons of essence and 200 ml of warm water. Duration of treatment is one month.

To prevent night cramps, you can prepare a medical mixture consisting of a teaspoon of turpentine, one chicken yolk and a tablespoon of vinegar. It is necessary to keep a compress throughout the night.

Vaseline ointment effectively fights leg cramps. It is required to mix 2 spoons of raw materials with celandine juice. It should be applied at the time of the painful syndrome.

With frequent antispasmodic attacks helps broth from goose Potentilla. It is necessary to add 4 tablespoons of herbs to a liter of boiled water, boil the solution over low heat. It is recommended to drink the medicine several times a day.

Prevention of antispasmodic attacks

To prevent muscle contraction, you need to eat a lot of greens, vegetables, legumes, dried fruits, seafood, cottage cheese, cheese. Such foods are rich in nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of the muscular system.

To minimize the risk of spasms, you need to follow certain rules:

  • people older than 40 years can not overload the limbs;
  • reduce consumption of caffeinated beverages, confectionery, carbonated beverages;
  • stop smoking;
  • to adjust the diet, enriching the menu with magnesium, calcium;
  • in the absence of varicose veins, you need to perform gymnastics, rubbing the feet;
  • before bedtime you should take contrast baths for feet;
  • it is recommended to sleep in warm socks;
  • avoid emotional overstrain.

It is also useful to massage the legs. Massage helps to improve blood circulation, relaxation of the limbs. Great value shoes. It should be made from natural materials, be comfortable.


Cramps in the legs – an unpleasant phenomenon that violates the usual way of life and healthy sleep. Performing simple exercises and changing the diet will help get rid of the disorder. Systematic spasms may indicate serious health problems. With persistent muscle contractions, it is recommended to consult a doctor.

Related Posts

Constant cramps in the arms and legs – a dangerous symptom or innocuous overstrain
Constant cramps in the arms and legs – a dangerous symptom or innocuous overstrain

The cause of muscle spasm can be anything from physical overstrain to the presence of a malignant tumor. If involuntary muscular contractions recur frequently, consult […]

What is the difference between clonic seizures and other types of muscle spasms?
What is the difference between clonic seizures and other types of muscle spasms?

The difference lies in the duration of the contraction: with tonic muscle spasm remains in this state for some time, and the clonic muscles look like a twitching of a […]

How to properly render first aid to a person with convulsions: an action algorithm
How to properly render first aid to a person with convulsions: an action algorithm

Spasm - involuntary muscle contraction, which is accompanied by pain, numbness, heaviness, discomfort at the site of spasm. Single seizures do not carry danger, […]

Why a pinched nerve in the leg occurs: causes and methods of treatment
Why a pinched nerve in the leg occurs: causes and methods of treatment

Main symptoms There are several signs by which it can be concluded that the nerve fiber is squeezed. A person experiences a sharp, piercing and shooting pain in the […]