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What Causes Leg Cramps and What Can You Do?

Muscle spasms like calf cramps generally is a painful companion on the trail to your health objective. Muscle fibers contract unexpectedly and generally with out warning, inflicting ache. This could occur throughout or after train (and infrequently at night time).

Essentially the most generally affected areas are the calves, ft, and thighs. A muscle cramp can sneak up on anybody – from rookies to professionals.


For a very long time it was believed that fluid or mineral imbalances have been the primary explanation for muscle cramps. Nonetheless, thus far there may be no proof on what actually causes muscle cramps. What we all know is that the cramps are related to how the motor neurons operate.

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Nonetheless, various factors could be contributing to cramps:

  • heavy coaching hundreds
  • excessive temperatures
  • ageing
  • diabetes
  • lack of sleep
  • in addition to the fluid and mineral imbalances (magnesium, potassium and many others.)

Most probably a mix of those will result in chaotic electrical impulses within the muscle mass, which then trigger a painful cramp.

Lots of people endure from muscle spasms and are woken up in the midst of the night time by the sharp ache of calf cramps. One cause for this can be that the extent of magnesium within the physique drops whereas we’re sleeping. If it will get too low, it may end up in painful leg cramps. We will take motion to forestall this and stretch throughout the day once we discover the primary indicators. Sadly, it’s normally too late once we discover muscle contractions at night time, and the ache wakes us up.

Good to know:

Cramps might be skilled in numerous types. Typically, if a cramp is attributable to fatigue, probably throughout train, it’s normally localized in a single muscle (like calf cramps) and occurs all of a sudden. Nonetheless, cramps may additionally develop over time, be felt on each side, and be accompanied by a lot of sweating and different signs of dehydration.


If you expertise a muscle spasm when you are understanding, take a brief break out of your exercise. There’s nonetheless no evidence-based therapy, however the next approaches appear to be useful for a lot of instances of muscle cramps:

  • Hydrate: Changing water and electrolytes misplaced throughout train is suggested. Even when this gained’t be a treatment for everybody, avid exercisers who’re extra liable to cramps are prone to profit from this method.
  • Stretch: If the cramp is attributable to fatigue as a result of extreme coaching load, you’ll most likely discover reduction by mild stretching and therapeutic massage. Stretch the affected muscle gently whilst you have the cramp to assist launch some stress.
  • Warmth: Warmth relaxes your muscle mass. Attempt a heat compress in your calves or a soothing bathtub to forestall muscle contractions.
  • Therapeutic massage: Therapeutic massage stimulates your circulation, which helps loosen your muscle mass.

Be careful:

Aching muscle mass are normally a warning out of your physique that it’s best to hearken to. Sharp, extreme ache that occurs all of a sudden may very well be an indication of an damage. If you’re experiencing extreme ache, postpone your subsequent exercise for one or two days. If the ache lingers, seek the advice of a medical skilled.

However the very best factor is to not let it get this far.

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Listed here are a couple of suggestions for stopping muscle cramps:

  • Maintain your muscle mass unfastened. Incorporate stretching and leisure workout routines into your coaching plan and therapeutic massage your legs (or higher – get a therapeutic massage).
  • Eat a balanced weight loss program and embody minerals. Magnesium is available in totally different types, one in every of which is effervescent tablets. It’s also present in whole-grain merchandise, inexperienced greens, and bananas. Good sources of calcium, which is crucial for muscle contraction, are dairy merchandise, spinach, and egg yolks.
  • Give your self time and enhance the exercise depth regularly. Your physique first must get used to the brand new coaching classes.
  • Even when dehydration just isn’t the primary explanation for cramps, drinking enough fluids throughout sports activities is vital, especifically on sizzling days (or for those who sweat so much throughout your exercise).

Do you typically have issues with muscle spasms? Then our weblog put up on foam rolling and stretching would possibly curiosity you.

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