What Does Leg Cramp Actually Mean?
Leg cramp is a sudden muscle contraction which can last for a few seconds to a few minutes.
Types of Cramping?
- Skeletal muscle cramp: can occur during resting or exercise. Around 40% of people who experience skeletal cramps are likely to endure extreme muscle pain and are unable to use the entire limb until the spasming muscle group has passed.
- Smooth muscle cramp: are usually due to symptoms of a health condition (i.e cramps during a menstrual cycle).
- Nocturnal leg cramp: are involuntary muscle contractions that occur mainly in the calf muscle and soles of the feet at night or while resting. They are considered “Normal” during late stage of pregnancy only.
What Triggers Leg Cramp?
- Lactic acid build up within the muscle can trigger cramps. This occurs when a person is exercising or engaging in an activity.
- Prolonged sitting or lying down.
- Low levels of certain minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium.
- Poor circulation.
- Overworked or weakened muscles.
How to Ease Leg Cramp?
- Gentle stretching (i.e if the cramp is in the calf muscle, pulling the toes gently towards your nose will stretch the muscle).
- Massaging the area, to improve circulation and remove lactic acid build-up.
- Putting pressure on the affected leg by walking or standing.
- Taking a warm bath or shower.
- The use of magnesium, calcium channel blockers, carisoprodol and vitamin B12.
- Drinking plenty water to remain hydrated.
- Have your lower limb circulation assessed by a podiatrist to rule out poor circulation in the lower limbs. This is a serious reason for cramps and should not be ignored.
- See a podiatrist to assess the way you stand and walk to ensure the muscles in your legs are not overworked or weakened.
- Exercise regime to strengthen your leg muscles.
At Well Heeled Podiatry we can diagnose any serious reasons for leg cramps by assessing your pulses and blood flow in your legs. We will also assess the way that you stand and walk and make sure the muscles in your legs are not compensating and having to work too hard, which will also lead to fatigue and leg cramps. After a thorough assessment we can then provide you with a specific treatment plan too minimise cramps, pain and fatigue in the legs.