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Visible leg cramp: This Video of a Calf Cramp in Motion Is Fascinating and Cringeworthy


This Video of a Calf Cramp in Motion Is Fascinating and Cringeworthy

If you’ve ever had to stop mid-run because of a calf cramp, felt your hamstrings seize up during downward dog, or woke up in the middle of the night with a charley horse, you know how painful it can be to suffer through a cramping muscle. Muscle cramps are not only zero fun, they can be so debilitating that you have to pause your workout until the cramp subsides (a major inconvenience if you’re in the middle of a fitness class or running a race).

Whether or not you experience muscle cramps yourself, you’ll be fascinated by a video of a leg cramp in action posted on Facebook last week. The video, posted by Facebook user Angel Bermudez and reported by Mashable, shows his calf cramping up after his workout. The calf muscle doesn’t just flex, as you might expect—you can actually see the muscle moving involuntarily, as if spiders were crawling underneath his skin. “I’m not doing anything,” Bermudez says in the video in between grunts of pain.

Hard to watch, right? If you’ve never actually seen a leg cramp in action, know that this isn’t entirely uncommon. For example, here’s another video showing a man’s calf cramping up while he’s in the gym:

Some people’s cramps are visible, while others aren’t—it depends on a few different factors.

You’ve probably had a cramp or two that felt incredibly painful but wasn’t visible or moving like the ones in the videos above. So why did Bermudez’s cramp look like that? “Being able to see a cramp is a result of the amount of muscles cramping at once, how deep the cramping muscles are, and whether there is fat over them,” Nadya Swedan, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist for sports injuries based in New York City, tells SELF. “Because cramping is an involuntary, irregular muscle spasm it does not recruit an entire muscle in a normal way,” she adds.

“Some calves will ball-up; others will twitch and tick,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and adjunct professor of sports science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. “It changes from person to person,” she tells SELF.

Muscle cramps aren’t fully understood, but they’re most likely caused by an imbalance of the chemicals that make your muscles fire and relax.

There are many factors that may be the culprit for your muscle cramps. “Cramping is not fully understood in the medical field, but an imbalance in nutrients including potassium, calcium, and magnesium is associated with cramping,” explains Dr. Swedan. These chemicals are responsible for causing the muscle cells to contract and release.

Excessive sweating, most often due to hot weather, can make muscle cramps more likley. That’s because the nutrients required for muscle contraction float in the blood’s plasma, and sweating can affect the proper concentrations of plasma and nutrients. “If you sweat too much due to high heat and humidity, you will draw too much fluid from your plasma,” Olson explains. “As you lose more and more plasma to create sweat, you also lose sodium, chloride, and calcium, which have to be in the proper balance to both contract and create the relaxation of the muscle fibers.”

Extreme heat and cold can also lead to dehydration, which predispose cramping. Other risk factors include pregnancy, growth spurts, or hormonal changes, explains Swedan. “Overtraining and fatigue along with insufficient stretching can also lead to cramping,” she adds. Fortunately, there are some ways to prevent muscle cramps that you can try.

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Nighttime Leg Cramps | Novus Spine & Pain Center

Nighttime leg cramps can happen to anyone at any age. And they can occur at any time of the day or night. Calf muscles can suddenly become hard, tight, and painful at any time, such as during a run or when drifting off to sleep.

Almost everyone gets a muscle cramp that comes on without warning. Research finds as many as 60 percent of adults and seven percent of children have experienced nighttime leg cramps. The likelihood an adult will have a leg cramp increases as they age.

In This Article:

What are Nighttime Leg Cramps?

Nighttime leg cramps, nocturnal leg cramps, and a “Charley Horse” are all names for a painful, involuntary contraction or spasm in the muscles of the legs. The hard lump you feel at the point of pain is the contracted muscle. Leg cramps most commonly occur in the calves and hamstrings, though they can occur in the feet, thighs, and just about any other muscle. They tend to jolt a person awake in the middle of the night but can also strike in the daytime during physical exertion such as running and cycling.

The tight, knotted sensation of a leg cramp can last a few seconds to several minutes. Sometimes the pain may linger, and if the cramp is especially severe, the muscle may be sore for days afterward. However, as painful as they feel, leg cramps are harmless.

Sometimes leg cramps seem to come out of nowhere, but they can also be related to movement. Fitness routines can put a strain on the leg muscles, causing a cramp. Some leg muscle cramps may also be the result of a sedentary lifestyle, which is a normal occurrence as long as the pain isn’t prolonged or recurring.

Men and women are equally prone to leg cramps. However, while they can strike people of all ages, those over the age of 50 may get them more often.

What Causes Nighttime Leg Cramps?

The cause of nighttime leg cramps can be the result of many conditions ranging from vigorous exercise to something more serious, like kidney disease. If a person is suffering from a condition like kidney failure or diabetic nerve damage, they will have other symptoms in addition to leg cramps. Generally, nighttime leg cramps are not a sign of an underlying condition.

In most cases, there is no specific underlying cause of leg cramps, but they usually occur for a reason, like trauma to a muscle. Sometimes, the cause can be something as simple as maintaining an awkward leg position for an extended period of time, such as in a movie or in an airplane. Other causes can include medications such as diuretics (often used to help control high blood pressure) and steroids. A lack of minerals like potassium, magnesium, or calcium can also be the underlying cause, as well as cold weather.

Dehydration is often mentioned as a cause because athletes who exercise strenuously in hot weather often experience cramps. However, this theory is disputed as research shows athletes in cooler climates also get cramps.

Some doctors believe muscle fatigue and nerve dysfunction can cause leg cramps. It is suggested that during sleep, the foot is stretched out, and the calf muscles are shortened, which could be a trigger for leg cramps. Some physicians also think the brain may mistakenly tell the leg to move while dreaming, causing them to contract and resulting in nighttime leg cramps. Another theory is that cramps are more likely nowadays because people no longer squat, which is a position that stretches the calf muscles.

Other conditions that may cause cramps include:

  • Addison’s disease. A disorder in which the adrenal glands fail to produce enough hormones.
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Anemia.
  • Blood pressure drugs.
  • Cancer treatment.
  • Chronic kidney failure.
  • Cirrhosis. Late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver.
  • Diabetes.
  • Dialysis.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Diuretics (water retention relievers).
  • Stressing or using a muscle for a long time may trigger a leg cramp during or after exertion. Cramps often affect anyone if the body is out of condition.
  • Flatfeet.
  • Gastric bypass surgery.
  • Hemodialysis (kidney dialysis).
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
  • Hypokalemia (decreased blood potassium levels).
  • Inadequate blood flow to a muscle.
  • Lead poisoning.
  • Motor neuron problems.
  • Muscle fatigue.
  • Nerve damage, as from cancer treatments.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Parkinson’s disease (a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement).
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD).
  • Pregnancy (especially later stages).
  • Sarcoidosis. A disease in which small growths or lumps produce tissue inflammation (swelling) in any part of the body.
  • Some medications, including oral birth control, intravenous iron sucrose, conjugated estrogens, naproxen, raloxifene, teriparatide, and cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins).
  • Spinal stenosis, a spinal cord injury or pinched nerve in the neck or back.
  • Vascular disease and venous insufficiency.

Older people are more likely to experience leg cramps. In addition, because of muscle loss, which begins about the mid-40s and increases in people who are less active, the chances are more likely of having night leg cramps.

Some activities can make a person more prone to leg cramps. These include exercises that rely heavily on the leg muscles, such as recreational running, leg weight training, or sports that require a lot of running, resulting in muscle fatigue. It is possible to reduce the chances of activity-related leg cramps by drinking plenty of water and stopping exercise when fatigued.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is sometimes confused with nighttime leg cramps but is a different condition. In general, pain is not a primary feature of RLS, although some people describe their RLS as being painful.

What are the Symptoms of Nighttime Leg Cramps?

Nighttime leg cramps are sudden, painful involuntary contractions of muscles in the feet, calves, and thigh. These leg cramps are quite painful, causing affected muscles to feel tight or knotted. They can occur while a person is sleeping or just resting.

The cramp can last a few seconds to several minutes. The average duration is about 9 minutes. The muscle may remain tender for as long as 24 hours after the episode. The cramps happen mostly in the calf muscles but can also commonly occur in the thighs or feet.

How are Nighttime Leg Cramps Diagnosed?

The occasional nighttime leg cramp doesn’t require an official medical diagnosis. However, it is important to consult a doctor if there are recurrent muscle spasms, especially if they occur more than once a week without an adequate explanation.

A diagnosis is generally obtained by going over the patient’s medical history and a physical examination. The medical history is important to identify the possible cause of leg cramps. During a leg cramp, visible muscle tightening and sudden, intense pain are typical. The patient’s description of the symptoms will help differentiate leg cramps from other common conditions.

In some cases, MRI scans are helpful in determining whether nerve compression is the cause of the leg cramps. An MRI utilizes a magnetic field and radio waves to create a detailed image of the body’s internal structures. Laboratory work may also be necessary to rule out low potassium, calcium, or magnesium levels.

How are Nighttime Leg Cramps Treated?

In most cases, it is possible to take care of a leg cramp at home. Forcefully stretching the contracted muscle will help relieve the pain. However, frequent muscle spasms are often linked to underlying health conditions that need medical treatment.

Currently, there are no medications specifically designed to treat recurring muscle cramps, but if the cramping is a sign of another problem, addressing the underlying issue could provide relief. If leg cramps often occur and for no apparent reason, it is important to see a doctor.

If there is no underlying cause, the leg cramps will probably get better without treatment. Often, self-massage of the affected muscle, followed by the application of ice, is helpful. Other home treatments during and after a leg cramp include:

  • Get Moving. When experiencing leg cramps, the best thing to do is walk around. Walking tells the muscle it needs to contract and relax.
  • OTC Pain Relief. Analgesic balms or patches, available over-the-counter at most pharmacies, can provide further relief. Painkillers usually are too slow acting to be useful for a leg cramp; however, when a severe cramp leaves a muscle feeling tender, an over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller may help after the cramp has ended. OTC pain relief medications that are formulated to treat menstrual cramps, such a Pamprin and Midol, can be an effective treatment for severe leg cramps.
  • Stretching. Stop any activity that may have induced the cramp, and lightly stretch the muscle. Gently hold the stretch for a few seconds while massaging the area.
    • Tip Toes. Stretch the calf muscles by standing and walking on the tips of your toes for a few seconds may help.
    • For a leg cramp in the calf or the back of the thigh (hamstring): Stand arm-distance away from a wall with your feet flat on the ground. Lean forward against the wall with your arms outstretched and your hands flat on the wall. Keep the heels on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, then gently return to an upright position. Repeat five to ten times. Alternatively, sit or lie with the leg out straight, pull the top of your foot toward the head.
    • For a cramp in the front of the thigh (quadriceps): While holding to a chair for stability, pull the foot back toward the buttocks.
  • Massage. If the cramp is exercise-induced, simple stretches and a massage can help relax the muscle and stop it from contracting.
  • Hot Soak. Many athletes and physical therapists recommend magnesium in the form of Epsom salts. This old-school remedy can be applied to a wet cloth and pressed onto a cramped muscle. Alternately, add some Epsom salts to hot bath water and soak for a few minutes. Heat provides relief for many people, with or without Epsom salts. The dry heat of a heating pad may also help.
  • Ice Pack. While heating pads accelerate the relaxation process, an ice pack will help numb the pain.

Quinine as a treatment for leg cramps is no longer recommended. A 2010 warning by the FDA about quinine detailed the potentially dangerous interactions and side effects of quinine that outweigh the modest benefits.

Is It Possible to Prevent Nighttime Leg Cramps?

There are several things you can do at home to help alleviate nighttime leg cramps. Anyone who regularly suffers leg cramps should work to strengthen their muscles, which will help make leg cramps less frequent. Some other simple things that can help prevent leg cramps include:

  • Diet. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and foods high in vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The advice about eating bananas for leg cramps is correct because the potassium in bananas can help.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Potassium and Magnesium. Increasing magnesium intake can lessen the frequency of nighttime leg cramps, especially for pregnant women. Health experts recommend getting at least 300 milligrams of magnesium each day. Likewise, Potassium is an important electrolyte, a substance that conducts electricity in the body (along with magnesium) for nerve and muscle cell functioning. Potassium plays a key role in smooth muscle contraction, making it important for proper muscle function. A nutritional supplement can help you reach your daily allowance of both. However, the best way to get these nutrients is by eating foods rich in potassium (sweet potatoes, white beans, and bananas) and magnesium (nuts, lentils, and quinoa).
  • Hydration. Drink plenty of water. Being properly hydrated can help the body better process the minerals from foods and supplements.
  • Stretch properly before exercise. Focus on the calf and foot muscles.
  • Exercise. If unable to find a program that is suitable for your age and ability, move around during the day to exercise your feet and legs.
  • Footwear. Wear suitable, comfortable, supportive shoes, especially if you have flat feet or other foot problems.
  • Stretch before bedtime. Before going to bed, stretch.
  • Sleep under loose covers. Loose covers are important for people that sleep on their back. Loose bedding help prevent the feet and toes from pointing downward during sleep.

If you suffer frequent and severe leg cramps, talk to a doctor to make sure there’s not an underlying health problem causing the cramps.

Novus Spine & Pain Center

Novus Spine & Pain Center vein center in Lakeland, Florida, specializes in treating nighttime leg cramps. By using a comprehensive approach and cutting-edge therapies, we work together with patients to restore function and regain an active lifestyle, while minimizing the need for opiates.

For your convenience, you may schedule an appointment online, request a call back, or call our office at 863-583-4445.

Nighttime Leg Cramps Resources

Why is My Leg Cramping? What Can Help? (WebMD)
Leg Cramps (WebMD)
Leg Cramps at Night (Cleveland Clinic)
Causes and Treatment for Leg Cramps (Medical News Today)
Night Leg Cramps (Mayo Clinic)
What Causes Leg Cramps and How Can You Stop Them? (Everyday Health)
How to Stop Leg Muscle Cramps (Healthline)
Charley Horse (Healthline)
What Causes Leg Cramps? (Healthline)
Nocturnal Leg Cramps (American Family Physician)
Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps (PubMed)
Muscle Cramps (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
Muscle Cramp (Mayo Clinic)

Why You Should Never Ignore Leg Cramps: Clement Banda, MD: Dermatologist

One minute you’re in your groove during a workout at the gym, finishing a walk around the block, or even sleeping like a baby when suddenly you’re doubled over with intense out-of-the-blue leg pain. Say hello to a leg cramp.

Also called a “charley horse,” a cramp occurs when the muscle involuntarily contracts and can’t relax. The calves and thighs are two of the most common areas affected, although cramps can strike your hands, arms, abdomen, and feet. They typically last from several seconds to a few minutes, and you can often feel a knot when you press the painful area.

Leg cramps can afflict anyone, but they are most common in the very young and old, people who are overweight, and athletes.

The reasons for leg cramps run a wide spectrum ranging from the harmless to things you really should get checked out. Dr. Clement Banda, medical director at MD Vein & Skin Specialists, is highly skilled in diagnosing and treating leg cramps and any underlying condition. Read on to learn about some of the reasons for leg cramps.

Overuse and Dehydration

Overusing or straining the muscle is the most common culprit, with not enough stretching before use often serving as a contributing factor. Becoming dehydrated whether while working out in the heat or other reasons can irritate muscle cells and lead to cramps as well.

You can typically handle these situations with self-treatment, such as more stretching (including before bed with or without light exercise if leg cramps wake you) and making sure to drink enough liquids each day.

Medical Conditions and Medications

Pregnancy and certain medical conditions like diabetes and nerve, thyroid, or liver issues can increase the frequency of leg cramps, as can insufficient levels of electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, or calcium.

Painful muscle contractions can also be a side effect of dialysis and some medications like diuretics.

A compressed or pinched nerve in the back or neck can feel like a leg cramp with the pain increasing with greater distances walked.

Insufficient Blood Supply

In some cases, leg cramps can be a sign of something more serious such as not enough blood reaching your muscles. Reasons that the free flow of blood might be blocked include:

  • A blood clot
  • Malformations
  • Tumors

Problems can also arise if you have arteriosclerosis. When healthy, arteries are elastic and flexible, but as you age, your arteries can become stiff, thick, and narrow. With less blood able to pass through your arteries, you may experience pain in your legs and feet when exercising. Typically, the cramps ease when you stop your workout.

Fortunately, there are treatments available. When he suspects poor blood flow, Dr. Banda typically does a color duplex ultrasound to evaluate the health of your veins. Noninvasive with no prep or recovery time, this screening test uses sound-wave technology to create images of your legs’ blood flow.

After carefully reviewing the results, Dr. Banda may begin by recommending that you wear compression stockings, lose weight if need be, and exercise to help improve blood flow. If these steps do not provide sufficient relief, he can also perform one of several minimally invasive procedures to remedy the situation.

Leg cramps are common and, therefore, easy to dismiss, but if you experience them frequently and self-care doesn’t seem to be helping, be sure to get checked out. Call or click to book an appointment with Dr. Banda today.

Muscle Cramps – San Francisco Integrative Gynecology


Signs and symptoms of a muscle cramp include:

  • Sudden and sharp muscle pain (spasm, contraction), often in your legs
  • A hard lump of muscle tissue that you can feel or is visible beneath your skin

When to see a doctor
Muscle cramps usually disappear on their own, and are rarely serious enough to require medical care. However, if you experience frequent and severe muscle cramps or if your cramps disturb your sleep, see your doctor.


Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period of time may result in a muscle cramp. Athletes who become fatigued and dehydrated while participating in warm-weather sports frequently develop muscle cramps. In many cases, however, the exact cause of a muscle cramp isn’t identified.
Writer’s cramp affects the thumb and first two fingers of your writing hand and results from using the same muscles for long periods. At home, you can develop muscle cramps in your hand or arm after spending long hours gripping a paintbrush or using a garden tool. A common type of muscle cramp — nocturnal cramps — occurs in your calf muscles or toes during sleep.
Muscle cramps in your legs can also result from:

  • Inadequate blood supply. Narrowing of the arteries that deliver blood to your legs (arteriosclerosis of the extremities) can produce cramp-like pain in your legs and feet while you’re exercising. These cramps go away soon after you stop exercising and stand still.
  • Nerve compression. Compression of nerves in your spine (lumbar stenosis) also can produce cramp-like pain in your legs. The pain usually worsens the longer you walk. Walking in a slightly flexed position — such as you would employ when pushing a shopping cart ahead of you — may improve your symptoms.
  • Mineral depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Some diuretic medications prescribed for high blood pressure cause loss of potassium.

Muscle cramps are also part of certain conditions such as nerve, kidney, thyroid or hormone disorders, diabetes, hypoglycemia and anemia.

Treatments and drugs

You can usually treat muscle cramps with self-care measures. Your doctor can show you stretching exercises that can help you reduce your chances of getting muscle cramps. Making sure you stay well hydrated also can help. For recurrent cramps that disturb your sleep, your doctor may prescribe a medication to relax your muscles.

Lifestyle and home remedies

If you have a cramp, these actions may provide relief:

  • Stretch and massage. Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax. For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly. If you’re unable to stand, try pulling the top of your foot on the affected side toward your head while your leg is in a straightened position. This will also help ease a back thigh (hamstring) cramp. For a front thigh (quadriceps) cramp, use a chair to steady yourself and try pulling your foot on the affected side up toward your buttock.
  • Apply cold or heat. Use a cold pack to relax tense muscles. Use a warm towel or heating pad later if you have pain or tenderness, or take a hot bath.


These steps may help prevent cramps:

  • Avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of liquids every day. The exact amount depends on what you eat, your sex, your level of activity, the weather, your health, your age and any medications you may be taking. Fluids help your muscles contract and relax and keep muscle cells hydrated and less irritable. Drink fluids before any exercise activity. During the activity, replenish fluids at regular intervals, and continue drinking water or other fluids after you’re finished.
  • Stretch your muscles. Stretch before and after you use any muscle for an extended period. If you tend to have leg cramps at night, stretch before bedtime.

5 Random Reasons Your Muscles Are Cramping

You don’t have to be a marathoner to be painfully familiar with the pangs of muscle cramps. The young, old, active, and sedentary alike are all susceptible to cramps—and they can come when you least expect it—creeping up on you during a sun salutation or disrupting a good night’s sleep.

“Muscle cramping is basically an over-activation or contraction of a muscle,” says Houman Danesh, M.D. and director of Mount Sinai’s Integrative Pain Management. “And although it can happen anywhere, it usually occurs in the calf since that muscle uses the most energy in the body.”

(Hit the reset button—and burn fat like crazy with The Body Clock Diet!)

But while it’s easy to know when you’re having a muscle cramp, it can be harder to figure out why you’re experiencing one. We talked to Danesh about the surprising reasons why you might be cramping.

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“The way muscles are activated involves a balance of electric signals and ions,” Danesh explains. “Dehydration changes the pool of signals. So changing that signal, the body doesn’t know if the signal is coming from the brain or just because there’s an electrical imbalance around the cell.” With all this confusion, your muscles have difficulty processing the right signals. And that overactivity results in pain. Luckily getting rid of this cramp doesn’t have to cramp your style. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Here’s a great hack to ensure you’re drinking enough water:

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There’s nothing more annoying than having a crooked piece of art hanging in your apartment. Well, maybe except for that arm or back cramp you got while trying to hang it just right for an hour. According to Danesh, it’s common to get a muscle strain after holding a position for a prolonged period of time. “Doing something your body isn’t trained to do constantly activates a muscle and breaks it down a little bit,” he says. “That breakdown usually causes a buildup of lactic acid which can trigger to muscle to go into spasms.” Luckily, this kind of cramp typically goes away with time. Give it a few hours, but if it’s interfering to the extent that it won’t let you sleep through the night, you should probably talk to a doctor.

RELATED: 7 Reasons You Can’t Seem To Tone Up Your Muscles

christine frapech

Some also refer to this unpleasant phenomenon as a “pinched nerve.” There’s a series of nerves going all the way from your brain down your spinal cord, and according to Danesh, “anything can cause a nerve to be pinched from a herniated disk to arthritis to putting yourself in a weird position, which will irritate the nerve.” (Don’t push those yoga poses if your body says no!) “Thankfully the body is a miraculous healing system,” he says. Usually a regular dose of anti-inflammatories will relieve the pain. But again, if that first line of defense doesn’t get the job done in a few days, to the doctor you go.

RELATED: This Man’s Gruesome Leg Cramp Looks Like It’s About To Burst Out Of His Skin

christine frapech

“Pregnancy causes a whole slew of changes throughout the body,” says Danesh. And the hormonal shifts can lead to muscle cramps. According to the Mayo Clinic, these cramps usually occur in the calf or foot region, typically flaring up at night during the second and third trimester. It isn’t always clear why this is happening, but you can try to curb the pain by drinking water, stretching, and taking magnesium supplements (just get the go ahead from your doc first).

RELATED: ‘Why I Love Foam Rolling In The Nude’

christine frapech

Another possible reason for muscle cramps is an inadequate blood supply—which literally means you aren’t getting enough blood flow to your legs or arms. “That’s usually due to a buildup of cholesterol in your blood, but it could also be due to a pinched artery by an ovarian mass or tumor,” Danesh says, although he continues that this more serious cramping would probably be noticeable (a.k.a. not just your average cramp). You should be on the lookout if you have high cholesterol and chat with a doctor. Danesh also says that if a runner notices she’s getting a muscle cramp consistently at the same mile marker during training, that could also be a sign of compartment syndrome—which impedes blood flow—and she should see a doctor ASAP.

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Leg Problems, Non-Injury | HealthLink BC

Do you have a leg problem?

This includes symptoms like pain, numbness, and trouble moving the leg normally.

How old are you?

Less than 5 years

Less than 5 years

5 years or older

5 years or older

Are you male or female?

Why do we ask this question?

The medical assessment of symptoms is based on the body parts you have.

  • If you are transgender or non-binary, choose the sex that matches the body parts (such as ovaries, testes, prostate, breasts, penis, or vagina) you now have in the area where you are having symptoms.
  • If your symptoms aren’t related to those organs, you can choose the gender you identify with.
  • If you have some organs of both sexes, you may need to go through this triage tool twice (once as “male” and once as “female”). This will make sure that the tool asks the right questions for you.

Have you injured the leg in the past month?


Leg injury in the past month


Leg injury in the past month

Have you had surgery on the leg in the past month?

If a cast, splint, or brace is causing the problem, follow the instructions you got about how to loosen it.


Leg surgery in the past month


Leg surgery in the past month

Has sudden, severe weakness or severe numbness affected the whole leg or the whole foot?

Weakness is being unable to use the leg or foot normally no matter how hard you try. Pain or swelling may make it hard to move, but that is not the same thing as weakness.


Severe or sudden numbness or weakness in the whole leg or foot


Severe or sudden numbness or weakness in the whole leg or foot

When did it start?

Think about when you first noticed the weakness or numbness or when you first noticed a major change in the symptoms.

Less than 4 hours ago

Numbness or weakness began less than 4 hours ago

From 4 hours to 2 days (48 hours) ago

Numbness or weakness began from 4 to less than 48 hours ago

From 2 days to 2 weeks ago

Numbness or weakness began 2 days to 2 weeks ago

More than 2 weeks ago

Numbness or weakness began more than 2 weeks ago

Do you still have any weakness or numbness?

Weakness or numbness that does not go away may be more serious.


Numbness or weakness is now present


Numbness or weakness is now present

Has the weakness or numbness:

Gotten worse?

Numbness or weakness is getting worse

Stayed about the same (not better or worse)?

Numbness or weakness is unchanged

Gotten better?

Numbness or weakness is improving

Is the leg blue, very pale, or cold and different from the other leg?

If the leg is in a cast, splint, or brace, follow the instructions you got about how to loosen it.


Leg is blue, very pale, or cold and different from other leg


Leg is blue, very pale, or cold and different from other leg

Has the pain:

Gotten worse?

Pain is increasing

Stayed about the same (not better or worse)?

Pain is unchanged

Gotten better?

Pain is improving

Do you have any pain in your leg?

How bad is the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine?

8 to 10: Severe pain

Severe pain

5 to 7: Moderate pain

Moderate pain

1 to 4: Mild pain

Mild pain

How long has the pain lasted?

Less than 2 full days (48 hours)

Pain less than 2 days

2 days to 2 weeks

Pain 2 days to 2 weeks

More than 2 weeks

Pain more than 2 weeks

Has the pain:

Gotten worse?

Pain is getting worse

Stayed about the same (not better or worse)?

Pain is unchanged

Gotten better?

Pain is getting better

Do you think the problem may be causing a fever?

Some bone and joint problems can cause a fever.

Are there red streaks leading away from the area or pus draining from it?

Do you have diabetes, a weakened immune system, peripheral arterial disease, or any surgical hardware in the area?

“Hardware” includes things like artificial joints, plates or screws, catheters, and medicine pumps.


Diabetes, immune problems, peripheral arterial disease, or surgical hardware in affected area


Diabetes, immune problems, peripheral arterial disease, or surgical hardware in affected area

Are you having trouble moving the leg?

Pain and swelling can limit movement.

Is it very hard to move or somewhat hard to move?

“Very hard” means you can’t move it at all in any direction without causing severe pain. “Somewhat hard” means you can move it at least a little, though you may have some pain when you do it.

Very hard

Very hard to move

Somewhat hard

Somewhat hard to move

How long have you had trouble moving the leg?

Less than 2 days (48 hours)

Difficulty moving leg for less than 2 days

2 days to 2 weeks

Difficulty moving leg for 2 days to less than 2 weeks

More than 2 weeks

Difficulty moving leg for more than 2 weeks

Has the loss of movement been:

Getting worse?

Difficulty moving is getting worse

Staying about the same (not better or worse)?

Difficulty moving is unchanged

Getting better?

Difficulty moving is improving

Do you have any new shortness of breath or chest pain?

When this occurs with swelling or deep pain in one leg, it can be a symptom of a blood clot that has moved from the leg to the lung.


Shortness of breath or chest pain


Shortness of breath or chest pain

Have you been urinating a lot less than usual lately?

Is the swelling getting worse (over hours or days)?


Swelling is getting worse


Swelling is getting worse

Do you think a medicine could be causing the leg problem?


Medicine may be causing leg problem


Medicine may be causing leg problem

Do you have pain, redness, or bleeding along a varicose vein?


Pain, redness, or bleeding along a varicose vein


Pain, redness, or bleeding along a varicose vein

Have you had leg symptoms for more than 2 weeks?


Symptoms for more than 2 weeks


Symptoms for more than 2 weeks

Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:

  • Your age. Babies and older adults tend to get sicker quicker.
  • Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care sooner.
  • Medicines you take. Certain medicines and natural health products can cause symptoms or make them worse.
  • Recent health events, such as surgery or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them more serious.
  • Your health habits and lifestyle, such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug use, sexual history, and travel.

Try Home Treatment

You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.

  • Try home treatment to relieve the symptoms.
  • Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect). You may need care sooner.

Pain in adults and older children

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that you can’t stand it for more than a few hours, can’t sleep, and can’t do anything else except focus on the pain.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt your normal activities and your sleep, but you can tolerate it for hours or days. Moderate can also mean pain that comes and goes even if it’s severe when it’s there.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): You notice the pain, but it is not bad enough to disrupt your sleep or activities.

Pain in children under 3 years

It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that the baby cannot sleep, cannot get comfortable, and cries constantly no matter what you do. The baby may kick, make fists, or grimace.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The baby is very fussy, clings to you a lot, and may have trouble sleeping but responds when you try to comfort him or her.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The baby is a little fussy and clings to you a little but responds when you try to comfort him or her.

Pain in children 3 years and older

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that the child can’t stand it for more than a few hours, can’t sleep, and can’t do anything else except focus on the pain. No one can tolerate severe pain for more than a few hours.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt the child’s normal activities and sleep, but the child can tolerate it for hours or days.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The child notices and may complain of the pain, but it is not bad enough to disrupt his or her sleep or activities.

Symptoms of infection may include:

  • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in or around the area.
  • Red streaks leading from the area.
  • Pus draining from the area.
  • A fever.

When an area turns blue, very pale, or cold, it can mean that there has been a sudden change in the blood supply to the area. This can be serious.

There are other reasons for colour and temperature changes. Bruises often look blue. A limb may turn blue or pale if you leave it in one position for too long, but its normal colour returns after you move it. What you are looking for is a change in how the area looks (it turns blue or pale) and feels (it becomes cold to the touch), and this change does not go away.

Some medicines can cause leg problems. A few examples are:

  • Birth control pills and estrogen. These can increase the risk of blood clots in the leg, which may cause pain or swelling.
  • Calcium channel blockers, which are used to treat high blood pressure. These can cause leg swelling.
  • Diuretics. These can cause leg cramps.
  • Fluoroquinolones. These can increase the risk for tendinitis or tendon rupture.

Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:

  • Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Long-term alcohol and drug problems.
  • Steroid medicines, which may be used to treat a variety of conditions.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer.
  • Other medicines used to treat autoimmune disease.
  • Medicines taken after organ transplant.
  • Not having a spleen.

Seek Care Now

Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.

  • Call your doctor now to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t have one, seek care in the next hour.
  • You do not need to call an ambulance unless:
    • You cannot travel safely either by driving yourself or by having someone else drive you.
    • You are in an area where heavy traffic or other problems may slow you down.

Seek Care Today

Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.

  • Call your doctor today to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t have one, seek care today.
  • If it is evening, watch the symptoms and seek care in the morning.
  • If the symptoms get worse, seek care sooner.

Make an Appointment

Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.

  • Make an appointment to see your doctor in the next 1 to 2 weeks.
  • If appropriate, try home treatment while you are waiting for the appointment.
  • If symptoms get worse or you have any concerns, call your doctor. You may need care sooner.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

Sometimes people don’t want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren’t serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.

Leg Injuries

Post-Operative Problems

Leg Cramps: Causes & Treatments


Although leg cramps can occur on their own, they are also commonly associated with certain medical conditions, including vein disease such as varicose veins. Understanding why you’re getting cramps can help you determine the best way to cope with them.

Symptoms of Leg Cramps


When you get a cramp in your leg, a muscle, usually a hamstring or calf muscle, contracts. The contraction is involuntary and usually causes a person to feel a sharp pain in the affected muscle. In some cases, the cramp itself is visible, as a small lump can be seen or felt in the effected muscle. Once the muscle relaxes, it can still feel tender and sore for some time afterwards. Depending on the severity of the cramps, the pain felt can last for just a few seconds or can persist for several minutes.

What Causes Leg Cramps


In many cases, leg cramps occur for a simple reason. You might have strained your leg muscles during exercise or your body might be dehydrated. A drop in your electrolytes or a deficiency in certain minerals, such as magnesium, can also cause cramping in the legs. 

You might also get cramps in the legs if you need to sit in one place for a long time, such as on a flight or during a long car ride. Some conditions can also make you more at risk for developing leg cramps. 

For example, vein disease can often be a contributing factor in cramping. When your muscles aren’t able to get an adequate amount of blood, they will seize or cramp up. The cramping often occurs during exercise, as the body isn’t able to send enough blood to the muscles that are working hard.

Varicose veins, which develop when the valves in certain veins become weakened, can also contribute to leg cramps. Although many people consider varicose veins to be a cosmetic issue, the condition can cause a number of physical symptoms, aside from cramps, such as itching, throbbing and burning in the legs. 

Treating Leg Cramps


One of the first things to do if you are experiencing leg cramps is determine the cause of the cramps. If you only get cramps occasionally, you might not need any type of treatment. Some people get adequate relief from gentle stretching or from soaking the leg in a warm bath. But if the cramps are a regular, recurring issue for you, treating the underlying cause is often the best course of action.

In the case of leg cramps associated with vein disease, working with a vein doctor is often the way to go. The doctor can evaluate your legs and veins and help you determine which treatment will best help you.

90,000 Useful and harmful exercises in the fight against varicose veins

Have you noticed your legs get numb quickly? And then you have to knead them for a long time and unpleasantly?

Do your legs often swell and hurt for no apparent reason?

Maybe your skin on your legs is covered with an irritating mesh of blood vessels?

At least one affirmative answer – and you are at risk. Most likely you have varicose veins of the lower extremities. Because of this disease, the veins increase, and this already leads to a violation of blood flow – some of the blood gets from deep vessels into superficial ones.

There are even disappointing statistics on this score. According to it, in developed countries, 30% of women and 10% of men suffer from the disease. And these are only those who have reached the doctors. As you can imagine, in reality the numbers are much higher, especially among people over 50.

Varicose veins begin with slight discomfort and do not cause serious problems. This is how he is insidious. Because of “such nonsense” I do not want to go to the doctor, and the disease, meanwhile, is progressing. The skin gradually darkens, blood vessels swell like ropes and even trophic ulcers appear.Blood clots appear in the affected veins, which subsequently enter other organs and disrupt blood circulation in them. As a result, a lethal outcome is possible.

Have you ever thought that you can die from simple varicose veins?

People don’t think about this. And it would be worth it.

After all, all this is easy to avoid – you just need to consult a phlebologist on time. He will draw up a detailed program of complex treatment and exercise will take an important place in it.

Let’s just say right away that not all types of training are equally useful.Some exercises will ease your vein pain, while others will seriously worsen your condition. Up to urgent hospitalization.

Agree, it is worth distinguishing one from the other.

In this article we will tell you in detail about the effective treatment of varicose veins by gymnastics.

But wait, you may panic early. Maybe you don’t have varicose veins at all. Now let’s compare your situation with the main signs of varicose veins.

How to recognize varicose veins, even if it is just beginning

Some of the signs are visible to the naked eye, others can only be felt.Let’s start with the external manifestation.

Main four:

  • Vascular cobwebs appear on the skin, most often red, blue or purple.
  • Veins swell up a lot – it looks like a rope stretched under the skin.
  • Brown spots appear on the lower legs.
  • Legs swell in the evenings.

Another group of symptoms is not visible externally, but causes discomfort:

  • Cramps and burning in the legs.
  • Feeling of heaviness and pain.
  • Itching near a distended vein.
  • Severe pain after long standing or sitting.

As you can see for yourself, varicose enlargement manifests itself in different ways. But even if you do not suffer from cramps and pains, this is not a reason to delay the visit to the doctor. The longer you wait, the more the disease progresses. Someday, medical attention will not be a choice, but an urgent need.

Therefore, if you found some of the signs of varicose veins in your legs – immediately contact your phlebologist.

But what to do if in the near future you just can’t get to the doctor? And the consequences of varicose veins scare you. Or cramps, burning, pain and heaviness in your legs got you so much that you already want to climb the wall. We will tell you how to help yourself in such a situation.

Discomfort from varicose veins will decrease if you follow these 7 proven recommendations

Let’s talk about the minus right away – these methods do not give an instant effect. Although we would really like that. But they at least gradually reduce the discomfort from varicose veins.Here are the 7 tips:

1. Do gymnastics as often as possible

Any exercise is good for blood circulation. Except maybe heavy weightlifting and running. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

2. Wear compression hosiery

It supports the walls of blood vessels and relieves pressure on them. The swelling and tightness subside, the legs relax.

3. Do not sit or stand in one place for a long time – walk every hour

This will put additional stress on the leg veins and prevent blood stagnation.

If you are standing while working, try to sit down regularly for a few minutes. With legs raised.

If you are sitting for a long time, get up and walk for at least a few minutes every hour so that your legs pump blood back to your heart. The same is true for road trips – stop every 45-60 minutes for a short walk.

4. Do not stand near an open fire or near a hot battery

This impairs blood circulation.

5. Eat less salty food

Salt in the body interferes with the circulation of fluid.

6. Take a relaxing bath at the beginning of the day, not at the end

And it is better to do without them altogether.

7. Do not sleep while sitting

In this position, blood circulation is difficult. Place your legs horizontally to reduce the stress on the vessels.

Remember, even strict adherence to our advice will not cure you of varicose veins.Contact a phlebologist – this is the only way to get rid of diseased vessels forever.

The doctor will tell you about the next steps – sometimes it is taking medicine, sometimes a painless and quick operation, but always the treatment is accompanied by a change in lifestyle and exercise. We just talked about lifestyle. Now let’s show you the most effective exercises.

These exercises will alleviate the symptoms of varicose veins, slow down its development and prevent complications

The expansion of blood vessels is largely due to stagnation of blood.Therapeutic leg exercises for varicose veins and edema helps to lower blood pressure and maintain blood circulation. It also improves the tone of the venous walls – so that even with an increase in pressure, the vessels will not expand.

The choice of exercise depends on the stage of the disease. But in any case, follow the motto “it is better to walk and lie down than sit and stand.”

Walking, running, cycling and swimming are all beneficial. The easiest way to walk is to engage the calf muscles, improving blood circulation.Change positions frequently and raise your legs.

If your legs have not yet been entangled with thick varicose veins and only the initial signs of the disease are visible, then the following actions will be useful to you:

In fact, your actions are aimed at improving blood circulation in the lower extremities.

Now let’s look at working with feet – this is an elementary exercise and does not require much effort and much time.

This is how it is done:

  1. Lie down or sit with your feet above your knees.
  2. Use your fingertips as a brush and draw a circle in the air. Don’t move your entire leg – just your ankle.
  3. Pull the sock towards you to the limit. You will feel warmth in your calf muscle.
  4. Stretch your toes and lower your heels by moving your calf muscles.
  5. Turn your feet – first outward, then towards each other.
  6. Repeat the exercise several times.

You do not need special devices for such activities.Take a seat on your favorite couch, lift your legs and exercise your joints. Do not forget to do exercises for varicose veins regularly and then you can easily improve your blood circulation.

We have an even more effective training complex – with it you will stretch the muscles and joints of not only the legs, but also other parts of the body. But this will require additional time to be found. If this is not possible, stop at the previous exercises. If you can carve out extra minutes, do the ones described above and plus this complex.

Still, it stimulates blood circulation throughout the body, and not just in the legs.

Neck and Head Classes:

  • We make circular movements with our head – 10 in one direction and 10 in the other. Move slowly, feel your neck muscles working.
  • Pull the chin to the chest 3-4 times, then pull the back of the head to the back, the same 3-4 times. Also slowly and carefully.

Shoulder and Arm Lessons:

  • Make circular movements with the shoulders forward and then back.We move our shoulders slowly, we pull the muscles.
  • We straighten our arms and make circular movements. You don’t have to wave them like a windmill. Maintain a speed of 2 rpm. Don’t hold your breath.

Lumbar Lessons:

  • Place your hands on your belt. Rotate the lower back all the way to one side, and then to the other side 10 times.
  • Lean back and forth. Keep your feet in one place.


  • Do 10 squats slowly. Additional weight cannot be used.

Press Lesson:

  • Lie on your back and move your legs like pedaling – exercise a bicycle.
  • Perform lying crunches.

We completely forgot to talk about sports. But we are asked about this most often.The most rewarding sport for you is swimming. When immersed in water, the pressure in the circulatory system returns to normal. Swimming is beneficial not only for the heart, but also for the immune and nervous systems. It also strengthens the leg muscles.

What about another sport? Is it possible, for example, to run?

Not all exercises are good for blood vessels. Let’s move on to those that can seriously harm you.

What exercises kill the whole result from the treatment of varicose veins

Let’s say you are the ideal patient.You follow all the doctor’s prescriptions: take medication, wear compression underwear, change your lifestyle. The symptoms of the disease gradually disappear. You rejoice, the doctor rejoices.

And here you are thinking, why not consolidate the result with regular training? And in order to completely forget about varicose veins and train your legs, you decide to squat with a good load.

Bad idea. Now all the work is down the drain. Your blood vessels will expand even more than before.

What’s the matter?

There are a number of exercises that increase the load on the veins and destroy them if the vascular walls are weakened:

  • Strength training.
  • Load Squat.
  • Prolonged use of the exercise bike.
  • High and long jumps.
  • Running on a hard surface.

No treatment will help if you continue to run or lift regularly in the gym. Therefore, do not tempt fate.

5 powerful accelerators of your recovery from varicose veins

Yes, they are commonplace. We have already spoken about some of them. But believe me, they are really important and worth repeating.

If you have already turned to a phlebologist and started vascular treatment, these 5 tips will help you regain your health faster:

  1. Do not sit or stand in the same position for long periods of time. It is especially dangerous to cross your legs – this interferes with blood circulation.
  2. Do the recommended exercises regularly, walk more, and wear comfortable shoes.
  3. Use a compression hosiery selected by your doctor.
  4. Watch your weight. In obese people, the load on the venous system increases.
  5. After doing the exercises, lie on your back and rest your feet against the wall so that they are above your head. This will allow blood to drain from the legs.

But this is not a panacea. Again, these recommendations help only in combination with treatment. Without the help of a doctor, you will not be able to cope with the disease.

By the way, remember we talked about the symptoms of varicose veins? Let’s say you found them. But only a phlebologist can make an accurate diagnosis. Remember, treatment starts with a correct diagnosis.

Where to get diagnosed for varicose veins

The accuracy of the diagnosis of varicose veins of the lower extremities depends on the equipment of the clinic. At the Vein Institute, it is one of the most advanced in the world. For example, the premium device Toshuba APLIO XG will help to make an accurate diagnosis even at the earliest stages of varicose veins. During the examination of patients, our doctors perform ultrasound duplex angioscanning. It is a quick and painless method for examining superficial and deep vessels.

The doctor clearly sees the problem area of ​​the veins and obstacles in the path of blood flow.It quickly identifies weakened venous valves.

The study allows the phlebologist to obtain accurate information about the vessels and draw up a detailed treatment plan.

But diagnostics is just the very beginning. Any patient needs treatment first. It is important who will conduct it and on what equipment. Now we will tell you more about this.

Doctors of the Vein Institute will heal your varicose veins in 1 hour or less, without pain and scars

Our doctors have performed over 4,000 successful surgeries over the past 15 years.Very few phlebologists can boast of such experience in Kiev or Kharkov.

However, our specialists are engaged not only in medical, but also in research work. Rustem Osmanov and Oksana Ryabinskaya patented 8 inventions each. Their scientific works are published in the largest medical journals. Our doctors are aware of the latest developments. So if more advanced methods of treatment appear in the world, they are immediately used in our clinic. And sometimes people all over the world are interested in the best practices of our doctors.

Phlebologists from the Vein Institute participate in international conferences. For example, Oksana Ryabinskaya read a report at the phlebological forum in Melbourne in February 2018.She also participated in conferences in Yaremche and Krakow in 2019

You already know about our diagnostic miracle equipment. When it comes to treatment, the doctors are assisted by the General Electric Logiq E. With it, any operation is performed with pinpoint accuracy and not a single healthy vessel will be affected.

You can already see it yourself, we guarantee the professionalism of our employees and the reliability of the equipment.

The next step is yours. Make an appointment right now and forget about varicose veins forever.

Surgeon of the highest category, phlebologist

Experience: 21 years

Surgeon of the highest category, phlebologist

Work experience: 20 years

Phlebologist of the highest category

Work experience: 34 years

Dermatologist higher.cat., director

Work experience: 20 years

First category surgeon

Work experience: 15 years

Surgeon, phlebologist

Work experience: 17 years

Surgeon, phlebologist

Work experience: 5 years

First category surgeon

Work experience: 12 years

Vascular surgeon, chief physician

Work experience: 11 years

Vascular surgeon, phlebologist

Work experience: 10 years

Vascular surgeon, phlebologist

Work experience: 8 years

Vascular surgeon, phlebologist

Work experience: 5 years

Vascular surgeon, phlebologist

Work experience: 8 years

90,000 causes, home treatment, causes of leg cramps during pregnancy

The term “cramps in the legs” in the common people mean excessive in strength and duration and uncontrolled by the will of the contraction of individual muscles, which occurs for no apparent reason at first glance and mainly at night.

Most often, cramps occur in the muscles of the lower extremities (cramps of the calf muscles), less often in the muscles of the back or front of the thigh. The muscles of the chest and abdomen, upper limbs and neck are much less frequently involved in the occurrence of this type of contraction. As a rule, seizures are quite painful, unpleasant and deprive a person of the ability to move independently or perform complex coordinated motor acts.

Differential diagnosis
Causes of night leg cramps
Mechanisms of toe cramps
When do seizures occur?
Harbingers of seizures
Leg cramps during pregnancy
First aid for cramps of the calf muscles
When should you seek help?
Prevention of leg cramps

Differential Diagnostics

Important! Convulsive contractions of the described type are tetanic, that is, strong and prolonged, without periods of relaxation.

For this reason, leg cramps at night should be distinguished from processes similar in appearance but different in nature, which include:

  • Epileptic paroxysms – they have a huge variety of manifestations, but with them, in the vast majority of cases, muscle groups of the whole organism are involved in the convulsive process, disorders of consciousness are noted and the period of seizures itself falls out of the memory of the big one.
  • Choreoathetoid muscle contractions – most often they are a manifestation of various lesions of the central nervous system, as a rule, they are constantly observed in the patient.Their severity increases significantly when the physical or mental state of the patient changes. Most of all, they resemble a combination of constant grimacing with worm-like movements of the hands, less often of the legs.
  • Tiki – manifestations of psychiatric pathology, expressed in the form of stereotypical contractions of facial muscles, sometimes – involuntary pronunciation of sounds or words. Other muscle groups are rarely involved in the contraction process. There is an increase in the severity of tics with excitement and a decrease in rest or sleep.
  • Fasciculations – are rhythmic rapid contractions of individual muscle bundles of superficially located muscles. They rarely occur, they do not bring much discomfort, and even more so, they do not bring pain. They most often reflect overexcitation of individual motor neurons.
  • Contractures are less similar to convulsions than others and represent a persistent fixation of a limb in an unnatural position in diseases of the musculoskeletal system or the central nervous system.

Pay attention! Night cramps in the legs are one of the manifestations of a fairly wide range of diseases, deviations, functional changes, responses in the body.

Causes of night leg cramps

  Recommended reading: 
Cramping legs: what to do? 

The cause of the convulsive syndrome we are considering and night cramps of the legs can be:

  • dehydration of the body;
  • ion balance changes;
  • physical inactivity;
  • excessive physical activity;
  • overwork of the muscles;
  • 90,039 clubfoot

  • varicose veins;
  • vitamin deficiency states;
  • endocrine diseases;
  • hidden trauma;
  • local inflammatory processes.

As a rule, the main cause of leg cramps lies in the lack of micro and macro elements such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, which are involved in the transport of nerve impulses from the central nervous system directly to the muscle tissue itself. The situation in this case is aggravated by the lack of vitamins D and B.

Mechanisms of toe cramps

All of the above reasons provoke certain changes both in the body itself and in certain parts of it, which contribute to the spontaneous occurrence of seizures.

So, as a result of excessive load and muscle overwork, there is a decrease in energetically important compounds, mainly ATP. At the same time, certain metabolites accumulate in the tissues, first of all – lactic acid. As a result, the process of relaxation of muscle fibers is disrupted, which, against the background of a low threshold of excitability, leads to spontaneous cramps in the legs at night.

Another mechanism for the development of nocturnal leg cramps is a violation of the nervous regulation of muscles, which can occur as a result of general overwork, taking certain drugs, and endocrine disorders.The result of such conditions is a decrease in the threshold of muscle excitability and their reduction in the presence of even weak nerve impulses.

In the presence of varicose veins, thrombophlebitis, diseases of the cardiovascular system, various inflammatory processes and frequent trauma, there is a change in the metabolism of muscle tissue in conditions of lack of oxygen and nutrients. This contributes to the occurrence of spontaneous cramps in the calf muscles.

When do seizures occur?

In the vast majority of cases, cramps of the toes, as well as cramps in the muscles of the lower extremities, appear in a person at night.

The reason for this phenomenon lies in the fact that during this period of the day all processes in the body are slowed down, the body is resting after a busy day. The organs that continue to supply blood at the same level are the non-resting heart, lungs, diaphragm and brain. All the rest, and especially the muscles, are in a relaxed state.

If, for a number of reasons, the local blood supply was initially reduced or there were metabolic disorders, then in conditions of even greater hypoxia (lack of oxygen in the tissues), spontaneous convulsions at night can easily occur.

In addition, the activity of the brain increases during sleep, which is manifested by the rapid phase of sleep with motor activity. Under unfavorable conditions, even mild excitement and activity of nerve cells leads to muscle contraction and spasm.

Harbingers of seizures

In general, nocturnal cramps in the extremities in quite healthy people quite often occur spontaneously and for no apparent reason. This type of seizure does not require special measures, except for the relief of the seizure at the time of its presence.At the same time, a significant number of cases requiring assistance to a person did not appear out of the blue – they were preceded by a certain unfavorable background.

These harbingers include:

  • Forced changes in physical activity . For people accustomed to a sedentary or sedentary lifestyle, excessive physical activity becomes a provoking factor. For active and mobile people – prolonged inactivity and lack of movement.
  • Excessive psycho-emotional stress .In of some susceptible natures, severe stress, excitement or experiences (both positive and negative) can provoke the onset of night cramps.
  • Deterioration of the course of existing diseases . All diseases, ranging from endocrine pathology and ending with thrombophlebitis or varicose veins, may worsen over time. At such moments, the whole body suffers, and the weakest points, in this case, the muscles, suffer especially strongly, which causes spontaneous nocturnal convulsive activity.
  • Off-season, long-term stay in unfavorable climatic conditions . They are mainly manifested in a general and relative deficiency of vitamins and essential minerals, which directly and indirectly leads to the appearance of seizures.

Leg cramps during pregnancy

Many women during the period of bearing a child complain of the appearance of painful uncontrolled contractions of certain muscles of the legs. As we said earlier, the main cause of seizures is a lack of magnesium, potassium and calcium.The washing out of these elements from the body of a pregnant woman during the first trimester is due to toxicosis, accompanied by eating disorders and vomiting. Leg cramps in the II and III trimester of pregnancy are most often associated with an increased intake of vital trace elements by the developing fetus.

In addition, in the later stages, the cause of the convulsions of the pregnant woman is the enlarged uterus, which compresses the inferior vena cava, which impedes the outflow of venous blood from the legs. The condition worsens especially when lying down.

Improper diet and increased energy needs of the unborn baby lead to a decrease in glucose levels in the body of a pregnant woman, which can also trigger the development of leg cramps. That is why, as a prevention of convulsive syndrome, the expectant mother must carefully observe the daily regimen and ensure that her diet is complete and balanced.

First aid

for cramps of the calf muscles

Many people ask the question “What to do if the leg cramp is cramping?”Despite the unexpectedness, discomfort or pain caused to you with a convulsion, do not panic, as excitement and anxiety contribute to an increase in the contraction.

As a first aid for cramps in the toes and calf muscles, pull yourself together as early as possible and follow these steps:

  1. Slowly place both feet on the floor. If you are lying down, then you need to sit down and sit for a few seconds. After that, gently stand on both legs with all your weight, preferably with support.
  2. Massage the affected area. This will provide blood flow to the spasmodic area of ​​muscle tissue and its subsequent relaxation
  3. Try to stretch the contracted and tense muscle . If your calf muscle is cramped, stand on your heel and try to lift your toe up. Another option is to swing the leg back with support on the entire foot and gradually load with body weight. The third method of stretching is to stretch your toes with your hand.

If the cramp has affected the front of the thigh, take an upright position, grab the ankle of the leg bent at the knee and pull the foot towards the buttocks. In case of spasm of the muscles of the foot, sit down, straighten your leg, pull your thumbs towards you. In case of muscle cramps in the back of the thigh, take an upright position, put one step forward and put your sore leg on the heel, bend your healthy leg at the knee and lean on it with your hands. Take the pelvis back and gently stretch the patient.Movements should resemble trying to remove a boot from a sore leg.

  1. Pinch the spasmodic muscle or prick it with some non-sharp object such as a handle, fork. Knives and needles should not be used at all, but if there is no alternative then try to handle them very carefully.
  2. After the seizure is relieved, stroke or lightly massage the muscle . This will allow you to relax it as much as possible and prevent the occurrence of seizures in the future.Some people want to additionally warm their legs by wearing warm leggings or knee-highs.

When should you seek help?

In a healthy person, in most cases, such solitary nocturnal cramps in the legs can occur spontaneously and, apart from their relief, usually nothing needs to be done.

Important to know! If such conditions began to appear in you more than once, then this is a serious reason to consult a doctor for consultation and further examination in order to find out the cause of the seizures.In the process of finding out the cause of your condition, you will have to consult a wide range of specialists, as well as undergo a number of laboratory and instrumental examinations.

If night cramps began to appear after the start of treatment prescribed by a doctor for an existing disease, then it is possible that the night cramps in the legs are associated with the action of one or more drugs taken. In this situation, it is necessary to contact the attending physician as quickly as possible, to explain the situation – it is not excluded that the drug therapy be revised or the dosages and prescribed drugs change.

Prevention of leg cramps

There are a number of guidelines that you can follow to reduce the risk of seizures at night. Basically, preventive measures are aimed at general strengthening and healing of the body and at improving the condition of the muscles of the limbs.

The list of measures to prevent the development of leg cramps includes:

  • Normalize the level of physical activity . People with reduced physical activity should avoid excessive fatigue, but do not forget that a certain level of stress on the muscles is simply necessary, since it helps to improve venous outflow, improves nutrition and oxygen supply to muscle tissue.People with increased physical activity are shown to avoid periods of complete rest, but provide periodic rest for the muscles.
  • Normalization of the body’s water balance . You should be attentive to the quality and quantity of the liquid you drink, giving preference to pure, artesian water. The amount consumed should be within the normal range in relation to weight, physical activity and ambient temperature. This is necessary in order to avoid both dehydration and the appearance of edema.
  • Elimination of vitamin deficiency . Taking vitamin preparations, as well as microelements, helps to normalize metabolic processes in the muscles and leads to a decrease in the severity of existing changes. It is also a great way to avoid cramps during pregnancy.
  • Massage of the leg muscles . This type of direct mechanical action improves blood circulation and lymph outflow, helps to increase the tone of the veins. The very massaging of muscle tissue allows its fibers to reflexively contract and relax, that is, in this way, a kind of muscle training takes place.
  • Taking sedatives . Natural remedies based on herbs and other maximally harmless and mild in their action drugs help to stop fatigue, fatigue, increased nervous excitability, stress and other factors that directly affect the possibility of leg cramps.
  • Sleep in a specific position . Over time, many patients find the optimal body position in bed so that seizures do not occur at all, or their frequency is significantly reduced.For some, this is a prone position with raised shins. Others are better suited to sleep lying on their back with a slight elevation of the legs.

As a rule, the listed measures allow to prevent the appearance of convulsive syndrome. However, if even after that you continue to be bothered by muscle cramps, you should see a doctor as soon as possible for an examination and finding out the exact causes of the disease, as well as choosing the appropriate treatment for calf muscle cramps.

You can get more information on leg cramps by watching this video review:

Physician therapist, Elena Nikolaevna Sovinskaya