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How to Stop Leg Cramps

Aarti R
Sudden involuntary contraction of the leg muscles is called leg cramp. Here, we shall learn about its causes and remedies.
Often we experience painful cramps in the legs when we are stressed out. Sometimes, leg cramps are experienced suddenly during the night when you are fast asleep. Dehydration and overuse of the leg muscles are the major causes of this painful condition.
Nocturnal muscle cramps are usually experienced in the calf muscles and toes. Athletes who have overused their leg muscles are prone to cramps many times.


Following are the causes of cramps in the legs:
  • Inadequate blood supply to the legs due to narrowing of the arteries
  • Nerve compression in the spinal cord
  • Deficiency of calcium, magnesium, and potassium due to dehydration
  • Second or third trimester of pregnancy
  • Menstruation


Maintaining Body Fluid Levels

Dehydration is the primary cause of leg cramping. Drinking ample of water before and after exercising is important to maintain the fluid levels in the body to a normal level. It is necessary to have small amounts of sodium in foods and beverages.
This helps in stimulating thirst and retaining the consumed liquids which can prove effective in hydrating your body. Maintaining electrolyte balance of the body is a good way to stop leg cramps.

Measures to be taken during Pregnancy

Cramps in the legs during pregnancy can be avoided by taking proper supplemental calcium and magnesium. Adequate intake of these minerals during pregnancy is essential.
However, it is recommended that consulting your doctor is important before taking these supplemental minerals.


Leg massage proves to be beneficial when you are experiencing leg cramps. Gently massage the legs, and thus relax your legs muscles. Massaging along with a warm towel and hot water bottle can help a lot.
Taking a bath (hot water) before you go to bed can also prove beneficial. Another way to avoid nocturnal cramps is to take Vitamin E and mineral supplements in adequate quantities.


Leg cramps experienced during the night are also called rest cramps. They can be prevented by doing some regular stretching exercises before going to sleep.
Light exercises like walking or running and jogging for 30 minutes can help alleviate the pain. Prolonged sitting or standing must be avoided. This leads to contraction of muscles and restricts the blood flow in the legs.
Usually, medical treatment is not required for a leg cramp, but if the pain after cramps persists and occurs frequently, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Also, if you notice redness, swelling, and tenderness in the area where the cramp occurred, consulting a doctor is strongly recommended.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.