LEG CRAMPS HOME REMEDIES & TREATMENT: HOW TO STOP LEG CRAMPS AT NIGHT
Leg cramps are intensely painful sensations due to muscle contraction or spasms of the foot, calf or any other part of the leg. It may occur at any time of day but more frequently at night while sleeping.Leg cramps are associated with many factors such as age as most cases of cramping are in adults over 75 years of age. They are also associated with pregnancy andliefstyle. Crampsmay be continues or intermittent and it can last for a few seconds or go on for minutes, hours or days.
Prolonged leg cramps may spread to the toes and other parts of the foot and may be indications of other health conditions although cramps are mostly just mechanical and harmless and are caused by chemical and hormonal imbalance or fatigue. Most incidences of foot cramps occur during strenuous exercise or hard labour especially in hot weather.
This condition may interfere with your normal activities and making you unproductive and so can be a real problem for people who do a lot of physical work as part of their daily routine. Therefore we will examine leg cramps in detail and suggest ways of reducing in this article in order to make your life better.
Causes of leg cramps
There are many causes of foot cramps as discussed below.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies:
Some essential minerals and vitamins are important to maintain a healthy body and prevent leg cramps. The following are the important minerals whose deficiency can lead to leg cramps:
- Calcium which transmits nerve impulses that ensure normal muscle contraction and relaxation. Too much intake of caffeine and salt can alter calcium levels thus increasing the chance of having cramps.
- Vitamin D: this is important for proper absorption of Calcium which is important in preventing foot cramps. It also helps in the absorption of magnesium, a mineral with great anti-inflammatory properties that help to control cramps.
- Vitamin B6: this is a necessary vitamin for healthy functioning of the nervous and muscular system so its deficiency predisposes one to muscular cramps.
- Vitamin E: An important vitamin that enables healthy blood circulation and transportation of Oxygen to all body parts. Its deficiency can reduce blood supply to the foot thus causing leg cramps.
- Poor health condition:
Although leg cramps is not dangerous in itself, it can be pointing to some health issues such as diabetes, anaemia and Parkinson’s disease which are all risk factors for leg cramps.
Some drugs have been implicated as important causes of cramps e.g. Diuretic drugs. These drugs are used to increase the passing of urine, a process through which important minerals like Calcium, Potassium and Sodium are lost. The mentioned minerals are important in preventing cramps so losing them will increase the chance of having cramps.
- Sedentary lifestyle:
Sitting or standing in one place for a long time reduces blood circulation to the body and may result in foot cramps due to lack of Oxygen in the leg and foot area. Bing in one place is the same as not exercising and the muscles may grow weak eventually thus causing cramps.
- Tight shoes:
Wearing tight shoes can strain the muscles and tighten the foot muscles under the sole. This causes sudden contraction and no relaxation which is what causes the pain associated with cramping. High heel shoes or those with narrow tips should not be used regularly but on rare occasions and for a short time.
- Over working of muscles:
Too much exercise or other muscular activities puts too much stress on the muscles and result in cramping. For people who use their feet a lot such as dancers and athletes are more likely to get cramps. General fatigue is also a major cause of cramps so keeping muscular stress under check is a good way to prevent cramps.
in the case of sudden muscle injury, the muscles contract to prevent further injury which can be very painful. This also happens in the foot when there is an injury and so cramps can be due to injury to the muscles of the foot.
pregnancy in the sixth month or older can cause foot cramps when the blood transportation from the foot is hampered by pressure from the uterus blocking veins that are meant to return blood to the heart.
- Poor blood circulation:
If there is no adequate supply of blood to all body parts, cramps may appear in the leg, foot, ankle or calf. This is why most leg cramps occur at night when movement is limited and you are sleeping in one position for long.
Home Remedy for foot cramps
The following methods that can be used to reduce or ease foot cramps when it comes. Most remedies involve adjusting lifestyle and are things that can be done with self-discipline to get rid of the condition.
As simple as it sounds, leg cramps can easily be dealt with by massaging the affected area. Cramps under the sole can be relieved by massaging the muscles around the area. Massaging increases blood supply to the affected area thus increasing Oxygen and nutrient supply which will make the muscles to relax. You can buy foot massagers in the market to reduce dependence on others for massage.
- Use of heat:
another method is by applying heat to the affected area. This can be done by putting the affected foot in warm water or using a towel soaked in warm or hot water. The heat causes dilation of blood vessels and increases blood flow to the affected muscles and reducing pain.
Another effective way of reducing pain from foot cramps is by stretching the muscles of the affected area. By gently stretching, you will help to restore blood circulation to the area to reduce pain. It is however important to note that stretching is not advised if the pain is from muscle injury as this may aggravate the injury. Be sure the pain is due to cramps before deciding to use this method.
- Increase water intake:
Water is necessary for proper blood circulation and removal of lactic acid that accumulates after exercise so staying hydrated is a good way to ensure cramps don’t come up and it is also a good way to get rid of it when it does show up.
- Careful exercise:
It is important that you watch how much exercise you do every time as too much exercise can strain the muscles and cause cramps. If you are not used to exercise then start with very simple and gentle exercise and work your way up. Even those that are used to exercise have to warm up before engaging in vigorous activities so make sure you are engaged in the right activity at the right time.
- Strengthen your foot muscles:
The muscle of your feet need to be strong to avoid sporadic spasms. In order to make your foot muscles strong, there are several foot exercises you can engage in that are specially designed for this purpose. You may start by trying to lift objects with your toes and walking on tip toes. Your foot muscles will eventually get used to this and become stronger against cramps.
- Use of supplements:
Deficiency of one of the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for proper muscle function can lead to foot cramps. As a remedy, you make take supplements of such vitamins to stabilize your body function. However it is necessary to consult your doctor before taking such supplements as they may be cause other health problems if you are not in the best condition to take them.
- Use toe stretchers:
toe stretchers are used to stretch the muscles of the toes and the foot as a whole. This reduces your chance of getting foot cramps probably by strengthening the foot muscles as we discussed. Wearing these stretchers for an hour daily greatly reduces your chance of being hit by foot cramps.
- Eating balanced diet:
Nutrient supply to all parts of the body is important to keep cramps away. If there is deficiency of some nutrients and essential minerals then cramps are likely to occur. Therefore it is important to maintain a healthy body by eating balanced diet to nourish your body and prevent leg cramps at any stage or age.
The above are the home remedies for leg cramps and they are easy to follow because most incidences of cramps are not serious medical conditions. However, if you experience regular and recurring cramps, it is advisable that you see your doctor for proper diagnosis and possible treatment as recurring cramps may be as a result of a more serious medical condition that require medical attention. In addition, most cramps are as a result of unhealthy lifestyles such as alcoholism and smoking therefore maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial towards avoiding cramps and the pain associated with it. Thank you for reading and you may add a comment in the comments section let us know what you think.