Cramp is defined as an involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles. It is different from strain and sprain. It occurs quickly in the skeletal muscle or smooth muscle because of muscle fatigue. Sometimes it may also happen due to lack of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, or magnesium, but this is not common. It is normally harmlessly accompanied with severe pain as it occurs rapidly which makes the movement impossible for temporarily. Prolong duration of exercise and hard physical labor can often cause muscle cramp. Self-care (home remedy) usually alleviate the pain but if pain persists or any swelling, redness, or fatigue remains for more than a week, immediate medical help required.
Leg cramps are very common happen to sportsperson where the muscles in the calf part unexpectedly become tight and painful. Idiopathic leg cramps can happen most of the time and very uncommonly occurs due to other medical condition. This effect is known as secondary leg cramps and causes are liver disease, pregnancy, and certain types of medicine. Older people lose muscle mass, so the remaining muscle can get overstressed more easily. Diuretics, especially potassium-sparing, Intravenous iron sucrose, conjugated estrogens, teriparatide, naproxen, raloxifene, long-acting adrenergic beta-agonists, hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors are some of the examples cause leg cramps in normal individuals.
Different Type of Muscle Cramps Associated With Calves
- Skeletal muscles cramp is the most common often occurs in the calves, thighs, and curve part of the foot. It is mentioned as “Charley horse” or a “corky” in the medical world.
- Nocturnal leg cramps (Night-time leg cramps) are involuntary muscle contractions that occur in the calves, soles of the feet, and other muscles in the body during the night. It can occur even when resting the body.
- Iatrogenic causes – It is muscle cramp occur because of various medications. Nocturnal leg cramps are one of the main reasons caused by medicines.
What Are You Lacking When You Get Leg Cramps?
An extensive variety of factors can cause muscle cramp very painfully. Some people get when they are in rest, sleep, or even if they involved in less physical work.
A mineral deficiency involving potassium, calcium, magnesium and/or sodium can cause leg cramp. Dehydration is frequent in sportsperson when they involve in vigorous exercise in hot weather. Lack of minerals and poor fitness is the main reason for the cause of leg cramps. Rarely due to uncomfortable tight clothing may cause constriction of a blood vessel leading to muscle cramp painfully.
Excessive intake of electrolyte fluid and stretching before and after use of any muscle for an extended period may help prevent cramps.
Minerals That Play A Role
Four minerals i.e. calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium are significantly involved in sustaining sportsperson normal physical activity. Calcium is the most important mineral responsible for the normal contraction of muscle tissues. Patients, particularly with the low level of calcium, can progress to a disorder called tetani. Potassium, magnesium, and sodium deficiency can cause fatigue in muscle cells. But, deficiency of this mineral is a rare condition not frequently occurs.
Some of The Causes of Leg Cramps
- Inadequate blood supply.
- Nerve compression.
- Mineral depletion.
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Muscle cramp https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/symptoms-causes/syc-20350820
- Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Muscle Cramps https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17422-muscle-cramps
- MedicineNet. (2021). Muscle Cramps (Charley Horse) https://www.medicinenet.com/muscle_cramps_charley_horse/article.htm