Leg cramps are a sudden involuntary contraction of muscle tissue, accompanied by sharp severe pain, a feeling of numbness and the inability to fully control the limb.
How does this happen, and are leg cramps dangerous?
During a cramp, the muscle changes its shape, becomes very hard, may twitch a little, and after it stops, when the muscle fibers relax, pain may still be felt for some time. Most often, there are muscle cramps in the back and front of the thighs, legs, feet, toes, which last about 2-5 minutes.
In isolated cases, especially at night, few attach importance to them and think about what causes leg cramps at night, and seriously think about the problem only if the symptom often appears. However, it should be understood that this manifestation, even when it happened for the first time, can hide quite serious diseases that can cause more severe symptoms in the future. Therefore, it is better to consult a doctor in time, find out why there are cramps in the legs at night, and, if necessary, begin appropriate treatment.
Why do leg cramps happen?
The most common and harmless reason why there are cramps in the calves and other parts of the legs at night is associated with an uncomfortable position in bed, which compresses the vessels of the lower extremities and disrupts blood flow, the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, which leads to muscle spasm. .
Violation of blood flow and convulsions sometimes occur with hypothermia of the body.
It is also believed that night cramps may be caused by a failure of the mechanisms for regulating muscle contraction, which can occur with excessive physical exertion the day before, especially in people with insufficient physical fitness.
Pathological causes of leg cramps that occur both at night and during the day are:
- dehydration of the body;
- deficiency or excess in the blood of elements such as potassium, sodium or magnesium;
- kidney disease;
- cardiovascular pathologies;
- thyroid disease;
- flat feet;
- neurological disorders;
- infectious diseases;
- side effects after taking certain medications (eg, diuretics, anti-asthma).