One Of The Most Painful Things In The World, Next To Stepping On A Lego
Suffering from leg cramps is no joke. This condition is characterized by the involuntary and painful contractions of the leg muscles that may affect the calves, feet, and thigh muscles.
Leg cramps usually occur when the person is resting or sleeping. The pain can be felt for a few seconds or minutes and would then go away. However, its effect may linger for 9 minutes or so and may leave your leg muscles tender for up to 24 hours.
Unfortunately, the real cause of leg cramps is still not discovered. But, for the most part, leg cramps are harmless, however, it may be an indication that you suffer from a more serious underlying medical condition such as peripheral artery disease or diabetes.
The real reason why leg cramps happen is still unknown to this day. In most cases, leg cramps do not have an underlying cause, but that would require further research to prove it so.
Leg cramps happen during sleep or rest and one probable cause as to why night cramps happen is due to our feet getting stretched while contracting the calf muscles in the process.
Another probable cause is due to people’s lack of motivation to squat. The movement can actually be quite beneficial to the calf muscles as the exercise stretches them.
Too much exercise is another likely reason for leg cramps. Because athletes tend to overuse their feet, this may lead to cramping and it normally happens after long bouts of extreme workouts.
Other likely causes of leg cramps include:
- Alcohol Abuse
- Type-2 Diabetes
- Lead Poisoning
- Muscle Fatigue
- Motor Neuron complications
- Oral Birth Control
- Venous insufficiency
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Use of certain medications, including conjugated estrogens, raloxifene, naproxen, among others
- Peripheral Artery Disease
In the vast majority of cases, leg cramps need not be treated with medication. However, if leg cramps occur more frequently and that the pain it induces is quite severe, then you need to take in some over-the-counter painkillers for that.
As for things that you can do at home, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) suggests that you do the following:
- Massaging and stretching the affected muscle (usually the calves)
- Stopping any activity that may have caused it
- Applying cold packs to the affected muscles
- Recent stem cell therapy due a disc protrusion in the spine which causes leg pain
- Hold the leg in a relaxed and stretched position until the cramping stops
- If there are muscles that are too tight, apply heat to it to ease the tension. Heat packs can be purchased online or in pharmacies.
You can prevent leg cramps from happening by doing the following:
- Put a pillow on your feet so that it gets propped up. Alternatively, you can let your feet just hang over the edge of the bed as it will provide the same effect.
- If you are using a blanket, avoid keeping it too tight so as to not force the toes and the feet from pointing downward when you sleep.
- People with flat feet may require the right footwear.
- Getting adequate leg exercises can help. Don’t forget to do some proper stretches before and after your workouts.