Leg Cramps: Causes and Possible Remedies


You must have had a painful and annoying leg cramp when practicing sports.

Or worse, during the night your calf contracted unnaturally, suddenly waking up with a stabbing pain in your leg.

Let’s try to clarify the cramps, starting from their definition and indicating what are the possible remedies to alleviate the pain.

What are Cramps?

We can define cramps as sudden contractions of an involuntary nature that affect the muscles, usually the legs. The most common manifestation of cramps is that of the calf, but it is not uncommon that they also affect the muscles of the thigh or even those of the feet, with involuntary contracture of the fingers.

In principle, they last a few seconds, with severe pain, but there are also cases of cramps that last about ten minutes. When the cramp passes, the muscles relax but this does not mean that the pain passes completely because the muscle can remain sore for a couple of days. As mentioned above, cramps can affect you especially at night, during rest, causing stressful situations to people.

People With Leg Cramps

Which subjects are most affected by leg cramps?

If it can be of relief to you, cramps do not affect a specific category of people but all of us, at least once in our lives, have been subject to these sudden and painful contractions. Recent studies, however, have shown a greater predisposition to cramping on the part of people of the third age, and in particular those over 80 years of age.

Causes of Leg Cramps

But what are the causes of leg cramps?

If you are curious about what cramps depend on, we can provide you with a number of causes that determine the onset of cramping. First of all, let’s start by saying that cramping can occur in different surroundings. It may seem trivial, but even a simple walk can lead to the onset of a cramp when you are not sufficiently hydrated or if there is a lack of certain important minerals in our body, such as potassium and magnesium. In such cases, the cramp will pass after a few minutes and after a sufficient level of hydration has been restored.

The most common cases in which cramping occurs are when you are running or during sporting activity: the most common example is that of football players who, after intense effort during the football match, are affected by cramping near the end of the match. In such cases, muscle fatigue combined with excessive lactic acid production leads to cramping. Finally, cramping can result from a poorly held position for a long time, which leads to involuntary muscle contraction.

There are also causes that are not natural but derive from a precise symptomatology. These are the cases in which a person follows a drug therapy that has as a side effect the manifestation of cramp.

Remedies For Leg Cramps

How to treat the manifestation of leg cramps?

As soon as cramping occurs, the first action you can take to return to a situation of balance is to try to stretch the muscle affected by the cramp and simultaneously massage it. It can be very useful to make some stretching movements.

You should not take pain medications as their effect is too diluted over time. If you notice that the frequency with which a cramp occurs begins to be greater, it is better to run for cover and start to do prevention.

For example, understand if cramps result from taking medication and try to replace them with another one that does not have this side effect. Regular stretching exercises are another rule to follow to avoid cramping.

If you are a sportsman, the problem of cramping is due to the excessive production of lactic acid in the muscle tissue and excessive sweating which results in a drastic reduction of mineral salts. In this case, but it is a tip that is valid regardless of the cause that leads to cramping, you need to drink a lot of water and prefer in your daily diet foods particularly rich in magnesium and potassium, such as milk, yogurt, fruit, trying to avoid alcohol.