What Causes Leg Cramps?

What Causes Leg Cramps?

Causes of Leg Cramps

Most times, the causes of leg cramps are unknown. These are called idiopathic leg cramps and they occur for no particular identifiable reason. However, it is believed that when the muscles are tightened for extended periods of time, it causes the muscles to shorten and then contract, thereby causing pains and discomfort known as leg cramps.

It is also believed that the natural sleeping position, with the knees bent and the feet pointing downwards, shortens the calf muscles and may cause muscles cramps.

Leg cramps may also be caused by other underlying medical conditions, physical activities or diseases such as:

  1. Exercise: Athletes and people who engage in physical activities usually experience leg cramps due to pressure exerted on the muscles during these activities. The risks are even greater when exercise is done in warm conditions and there is loss of body fluids and sodium through sweat.
  2. Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol abuse or excessive drinking of alcohol may also cause leg cramps. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, making one to urinate excessively. This excessive urination may lead to loss of vital nutrients in the body or cause dehydration thereby making a person more at risk of developing leg cramps.
  3. Dehydration: Dehydration occurs when more fluids are exiting the body than are entering the body. About 75% of the human body is made up of water and the organs and cells in the body rely on these fluids for survival. Therefore, when there is inadequate fluid in the body, leg cramps may occur.
  4. Shortage of Blood: Inadequate blood supply to the legs may also cause leg cramps, especially when exercising. Shortage of blood may be as a result of the arteries that deliver blood to the legs narrowing down and becoming unable to supply enough blood to the legs.

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