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Two common types of cramps humans experience the most are menstrual cramps and muscle cramps while the former is limited to just females the latter can happen for both. Even amongst the latter cramps in legs are very common for most people. The reasons could be many however with a proper lifestyle that doesnâ€™t overburden the legs and with the intake of vitamins for cramps in legs one can ease the situation to some extent.
[Also Read: Sleeping positions for menstrual cramps]
What Are Cramps?
Muscle cramps are involuntary and sudden contractions that happen in different muscles. Such contractions are mostly painful and may affect varied muscle groups. Although not severely harmful they can for a time being make it impossible for the affected part to use.
Muscles that are generally affected include those in the back of the lower leg, the front of the thigh, and the back of the thigh.
One may even suffer cramps in;
- Abdominal wall
Symptoms Of Muscle Cramps
The majority of the muscle cramps develop in the muscles of the legs, especially in the calf. The symptoms include a sudden and sharp pain that lasts for a few seconds to 15 minutes.
The other common symptoms include a swollen lump of muscle tissue below the skin where the cramps happen.
[Also Read: Causes of swollen hands and feet]
What Causes Cramps In Legs?
The leg cramps cause is unknown (idiopathic) at times however, in other situations there could be another specialized cause or an underlying condition.
1. Idiopathic Leg Cramps
There are many theories about these leg cramps which include;
- A typical nerve activity while sleeping causes the leg muscle cramp
- The extreme strain on leg muscles during exercises may also lead to this condition at times
- An abrupt restricted supply of blood to the leg muscles
- Even, tendons can lead to this situation as they naturally shorten as a person gets aged.
2. Secondary Leg Cramps
The secondary leg cramp causes include;
- Pregnancy: It leads to extra weight and strains the muscles present in the legs
- Exercise: Few exercises can overburden the leg muscles and even resting after vigorous exercise can lead to it
- Neurological conditions particularly the ones that affect nerves in the leg region say for instance peripheral neuropathy and motor neuron disease.
- Liver disease also leads to this condition as toxins pile up in blood making the leg muscles vulnerable to cramps
- Infections, mostly bacterial infection like tetanus can lead to it
- Toxins like mercury or lead
- Dehydration drops salt levels which in turn causes this situation
Certain medicines in few people like diuretics, statins, raloxifene, nifedipine, and nicotinic acid can cause troubles to the muscles in the legs and lead to this situation.
When the ailment is due to medicines the best method to fight the situation is by using vitamins for cramps in muscles.
Can Deficiency Of Vitamins Cause Cramps In Legs?
Same as any other cramps that arise due to vitamin deficiency, even leg cramps can be the result of fewer vitamins in the body.
Many vitamin deficiency conditions may indirectly or directly lead to muscle cramps in legs. These vitamin deficiencies include the insufficient presence of pantothenic acid (B5), thiamine (B1), and pyridoxine (B6).
Although the exact way vitamin deficiency plays its role in causing different cramps including leg cramps is not known it is for sure a reason for muscle cramps.
What Vitamins Are Good For Cramps In Legs?
Magnesium, potassium in addition to a few minerals and vitamins for cramps in the foot should be taken by consulting your physician. Potassium and magnesium are particularly known for easing muscle cramps of all types.
Many studies have noticed that increasing magnesium intake drastically helps in reducing the occurrence of nighttime leg cramps, particularly for pregnant women. Doctors suggest taking a minimum of 300 milligrams of magnesium every day.
A magnesium supplement or potassium supplement can aid in achieving the required daily allowance so that cramps are reduced.
However, the best and safe way is to eat foods rich in magnesium like quinoa, nuts, and lentils.
Other Prevention Tips For Cramps In Legs
A proper lifestyle with foods that increase the strength of muscles in legs is the foremost tip to follow to prevent it besides following the below;
- Drink fluids often
- Ease the burden on legs
- Stretch your legs
- Sleep in a proper position
- Wear supportive footwear
- Avoid tucked-in bedding
- Apply heat
- Often walk on heels
When To See A Doctor?
Occasional leg cramps arenâ€™t worrying however, visiting a doctor is a must if they are frequent and are so painful that they disrupt your sleep.
Besides if the leg muscles are becoming weak and shrinking you should pay a visit. Most of the time taking vitamins for cramps in legs and a proper lifestyle that doesnâ€™t affect the leg too much is more than enough to treat the condition.