Legs cramps are intense, involuntary muscle pains that usually occur in the foot, calf, or thigh. Leg cramps are also known as “charley horse. “Moreover, leg cramps can make the legs of an individual spasm- to tighten uncontrollably. The leg cramps are harmless but painful. The cramps feel like contracted, clenched muscles tightened into a knot, and the pain can be aching, uncomfortable, and unbearable. After the cramp disappears, the muscles in the area might hurt for a more extended period. The leg cramps can last for several minutes.

How to stop a legs cramps?

When experiencing a leg cramp, an individual must stretch the affected muscles, like stretching the calf muscle by flexing the foot upward, massaging, or jiggling the leg and forcefully trying to walk. Moreover, to get rid of the pain, the individual can apply a heating pad or take a warm bath. There are no proper treatments, injections, or pills for leg cramps that rapidly provide relief from the pain that occurs.

Leg cramps at night.

Leg cramps can occur during nighttime when the individual is asleep or is not very active. The frequency of the leg cramp can depend on the individual, it can happen to anyone at any stage of life, but mainly it occurs in aged people. Every adult at the age of fifty can experience leg cramps at least one time. Forty percent of pregnant women, including seven percent of children, may encounter leg cramps at night. 

Who is most likely to get leg cramps?

The aged population is most likely to have leg cramps due to the tendons- these are the tissues that join the individual’s muscles to the bones. The tendons naturally shorten as the individual age. Almost 40% of children and 60% of an adult can experience leg cramps at night.

What is the difference between restless legs syndrome (RLS) and leg cramps?

Leg cramps and restless leg syndrome tend to happen to individuals at night. The restless legs syndrome is uncomfortable but not unbearable. The restless leg syndrome gives the crawling sensation, making the individual want to move their legs. The movement of the legs can make the restlessness stop, but the discomfort remains.

What are the leading causes of leg cramps?

Leg cramps that happen for no known reason are called “idiopathic” cramps. The leg cramps can indicate some severe health conditions. The following are the possible causes of leg cramps include

  • Stress
  • High-intensity workout.
  • Restriction in the bloodstream.
  • Involuntary nerve discharges.

Pregnant women are most likely to experience leg cramps day and night.

Leg cramps that occur at night are known as nocturnal leg cramps following are the causes of leg cramps at night:

  • Overusing the muscles.
  • Sitting improperly.
  • Sitting for a long time.
  • Working or standing on concrete floors.

What are the medical disorders that can cause leg cramps?

Leg pain can sometimes happen for no reason, but sometimes it can indicate severe health disorders. It is always vital to consult the healthcare advisor if the individual thinks the leg cramps indicate a more serious medical disorder. The leg cramps can be a sign of lifestyle choices like:

  • Alcohol addiction.
  • Dehydration.
  • Pregnancy.

Leg cramps can indicate severe health conditions like

  • Cardiovascular disease is a heart disease caused by diseased blood vessels or blood clots.
  • ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/ Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive neuromuscular disease.
  • Diabetes prevents an individual’s body from using the energy properly from the food consumed.
  • Parkinson’s disorder is a neurological movement disease.
  • Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) is corrosion of cartilage that saves the individual’s bones, as well as lumber canal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back.

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can lead to nerve damage which may cause leg cramps.

How to diagnose legs cramps?

The health care provider will require the medical background of the patient and the family medical history of an individual after studying the following symptoms:

  • What like the leg cramp feels?
  • When the leg cramps started happening.
  • How long does the cramp last?
  • When does the cramp happen, like at night or after a heavy workout?

The healthcare advisor will have to tell the difference between the leg cramps or other similar conditions like:

  • Myositis.
  • Claudication.
  • Restless legs syndrome.
  • Peripheral neuropathy.

To find out the difference, the healthcare provider will have to carry out the following tests:

  • Examining the deep ligament reflexes.
  • Examine the strength of your leg.
  • Monitor the palpation of pulses.
  • Evaluate physical feelings like pinpricks.

How to prevent leg cramps?

The following are the ways that can make an individual get rid of a legs cramp:

  • Massage: with the help of a massage roller or hands to massage the muscles.
  • Stretch: stretching the legs, flexing them, and then pulling the toes towards your shin to stretch the muscles.
  • Stand: in a standing position, press the feet against the floor.
  • Walk wiggles the legs during a walk.
  • Apply heating pads: Take a warm bath or apply a heating pad.
  • Apply cold pads
  • Medications: medicine that the healthcare advisor advises according to the condition.
  • Elevate: to analyze the condition after all the possible treatments if the cramps start to feel better.


  • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14170-leg-crampshttps://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14170-leg-cramps retrieved on 30 August 2022
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/symptoms-causes/syc-20350820 retrieved on 30 August 2022
  • https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/muscle-bone-and-joints/conditions/leg-cramps#:~:text=A%20leg%20cramp%20is%20an,tend%20to%20last%20the%20longest.

Retrieved on 30 August 2022