Muscle spasm is defined as involuntarily contracting muscles, which prevents them from relaxing, causing visible or visible stiffness in the muscles concerned, and may persist for a period ranging from a few seconds to a quarter of an hour or for a longer period at times, and the spasms may repeat several times before they disappear, and it is possible That the spasm affects a part of the muscle, or the entire muscle, or several muscles that work together, and some spasms include the simultaneous contractions of the muscles that move some parts of the body in opposite directions, and muscle spasms are very common especially in adults, and they become increasingly frequent with Old age, as 95% of the elderly In particular, they may develop muscle spasms at some time in their lives, and leg cramps may occur at night, which causes the person to wake up from sleep, as they may occur during waking up at night when physical activities are stopped, and these cramps usually occur in the calf However, it may also occur in the thighs or feet, and can affect adults, children and children.
Causes of leg muscle spasm
There is no clear underlying cause of leg cramps in most cases, and it is believed that they may result from muscle fatigue and nerve dysfunction, without knowing the way cramping occurs. The list of possible causes of leg cramping includes:
Sleeping method: Sleeping in a certain way can lead to cramping of the feet. For example, the outward stretching of the foot and the shortening of the calf muscles can lead to night cramps.
Exercise: Exercise or prolonged use of muscles may lead to leg cramping during the effort or after it is completed. It is worth noting that spasms often affect athletes, especially at the beginning of exercise.
Dehydration: Athletes who exercise intense exercise in hot weather may experience leg cramps.
The occurrence of metabolic problems: We mention among them the following: Acute kidney failure, Addison’s disease, which occurs due to adrenal insufficiency, and anemia. Chronic kidney disease, liver cirrhosis (Cirrhosis), hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Infection with some diseases and health problems: We mention among them:
- Sarcoidosis, a disease that causes the development of small inflammatory masses or swelling of tissues in any part of the body.
- Muscle fatigue.
- Vascular disease and venous insufficiency.
- Motor neuron problems.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Use of some medications: leg muscle spasm can occur as a side effect of many medications, and we will mention the following:
- Intravenous iron sucrose.
- Raloxifene is used to treat Osteoporosis.
- Diuretics, such as Furosemide and Hydrochlorothiazide.
- Neostigmine, used to treat myasthenia gravis.
- Nefidipine is used to treat angina and high blood pressure. Tolcapone, which helps treat Parkinson’s disease.
- Statins to lower cholesterol (Statin).
Other reasons: such as: alcoholism, diarrhea, flatfeet, Gastric bypass surgery, dialysis, some cancer treatments, lead poisoning, and pregnancy, especially in the later stages of it.
Prevention of leg cramping
Following tips can help prevent leg cramps:
Drinking a lot of fluids: Drinking a lot of fluids helps the muscles perform their normal function, especially during exercise. Therefore, it is recommended to drink half a liter per hour for a person who weighs approximately 80 kg three to four hours before exercising, and it is also advised to drink drinks that contain Sodium, or eat small amounts of salted snacks, or foods that contain sodium to stimulate thirst and maintain the amount of fluid consumed.
Leg Extension: Stretching the calf and hamstrings before bed in bed can reduce night leg cramps.
Riding a stationary bike: Riding a stationary bike for a few minutes can help prevent leg cramps at night.
Changing the sleeping position: Sleep should be avoided in a way that the feet are stretched down, and it is advised to sleep on the back and place a pillow behind the knees.
Avoid sleeping on a heavy mattress: Sleeping on a heavy mattress can push the feet down while sleeping, so it is advised to choose non-heavy sheets, and put something to lift the feet during sleep.
Choosing supportive shoes: Wearing weak shoes can aggravate problems related to the nerves and muscles of the foot and leg, especially if the person has flat feet.
Take calcium and magnesium supplements: In order to prevent pregnancy-related cramps and night leg cramps, a dose of calcium not less than 1,000 mg per day is recommended, and the dose can be increased to 1500 mg if the risk of osteoporosis is high, while magnesium is recommended to take (50-100) Mg of magnesium supplement for those with a magnesium deficiency, and it is advised to eat foods rich in magnesium, such as: green foods, grains, meat, fish, bananas, apricots, nuts, and soybeans.