What is a Leg Cramp? [VIDEO]
Leg cramps are incredibly painful and involuntary contractions of the leg, foot or calf. They happen any time, awake or asleep. After the cramp subsides, the muscle can still be painful. Leg cramps are very commonly associated with a vein condition, and in this video I discuss why they occur.
The majority of the people that I treat for a vein condition tell me they’ve experienced moderate to severe leg cramps, frequently occurring at night. The experience can be frightening because once one starts, there isn’t a lot you can do to stop it. Massage may help some, but it’s not possible to voluntarily get the muscle to relax. It needs to be stretched to lessen the tightening.
Because I see so many patients who experience them, this video will provide more information about why they occur:
When a cramp starts, the muscle is always relaxed. Most people have specific muscles which cramp repeatedly, so try and keep that muscle stretched out before bed. To break the cramp, aggressively stretch the cramping muscle - this causes a reflex which can relax the muscle to stop the cramp.
- Massage your muscles after it stops to help get blood flowing to the muscle
- Stand, stretch and walk to stretch the affected muscles
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water
- Avoid heavy bedding or bedding that is tightly tucked in - this can prevent extreme muscle positions which can trigger a cramp
- Apply a heating pad
- Drink a small amount of pickle juice and see our blog post for additional home remedies our patients have suggested
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever - Tylenol (acetaminophen), ibuprofen or Aleve
For frequent leg cramps, visit your healthcare provider or contact us for a screening. If you have recurring leg cramps at night, it is highly likely that it is due to a vein condition.