Causes of Leg Cramps

| April 27, 2013
Causes of Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are the term given to sudden, sharp, and intolerable pain in and around the calf muscles. Calf muscles are located in the backward direction, below your knees.   

It can possibly be experienced as tightening of muscles or contraction in and around calf muscles. The pain may last for a minute or more than that.  

There are many causes of leg cramps that may differ from individual to individual.  

Here, we’ll talk about various causes of leg cramps.

Let us begin, shall we?  

7 Major Causes of Leg Cramps

#1. Lack of Water
  • Not drinking enough water is one of the main causes that can lead to leg cramps.
  • Your body needs water to maintain daily functions and effectively and ensure healthy muscles. 
  • Your muscles may become stiff due to dehydration which in turn will cause pain.  
  • People involved in sports and exercises suffer the excess loss of water in the form of sweating which causes leg cramps.  
  • You can use a hot water bottle or exercise to reduce this pain.  
#2. Pregnancy 
  • Causes of leg cramps during pregnancy are associated with the level of certain minerals in your body.
  • Leg cramps are common during the third and fourth semesters of pregnancy.  
  • The level of potassium and magnesium are higher in your body which causes leg cramps.  
#3. Deficiency of Minerals  
  • Minerals play an important role in your body and maintain the level of electrolytes.  
  • A slight imbalance in your mineral level may cause leg cramps. 
  • Minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium are very important for your muscles, and a lack or lesser amount of these minerals may be a reason for leg cramps.  
#4. Burn Out
  • When you are tired, there are chances that you will suffer leg cramps.  
  • When your muscles are tired, they cannot absorb and use the minerals present in your body, and as mentioned above, deficiency of minerals is one of the important reasons for leg cramps. 
  • In cases of regular exercises containing no or limited rest, leg cramps are common.
  • Since your muscles are not getting proper rest and are tired most of the time, they lead to be a reason to leg cramps.  
#5. Overexposure  
  • Your muscles are a delicate part of your body and need rest and comfort.  
  • When you overwork your muscle usage, it leads to neural stimulation when you are at rest and hence causes leg cramps,  
  • It happens because your muscles become over-excited and face difficulty in achieving the resting phase due to over-usage. 
#6. Standing for A Longer Period 
  • Staying in a definite position is indeed a hard task and makes your body feel tired.  
  • So is the case here, when you remain standing for a longer period, your muscle feels tired and gives rise to cramps.  
  • It might as well happen while you are seated.
  • Maintaining the same posture or muscle activity for a long time is a reason for leg cramps.  
#7. Medication  
  • Certain types of medication are a potential cause of leg cramps. How?  
  • Well, certain medications are formulated to block the calcium channels of your body, and we have known that deficiency of calcium causes leg cramps.  
  • So, if you are having leg cramps, try contacting your doctor and ask them about the medication you have been prescribed with. 

Many other questions strike your mind when you try to find a reason for leg cramps. Let us have a look at them, 

Medical Conditions That Give Rise to Leg Cramps

  • Hypothyroidism  
  • Type 2 diabetes  
  • Peripheral artery disease 
  • Osteoarthritis  
  • Multiple sclerosis 

Causes of Leg Cramps During Sleep 

Many reasons may be the cause of leg cramps such as, 

  • Lack of water
  • Lack of necessary salts in the body
  • Fatigue 
  • Medication
  • Nerve dysfunction.

Causes of Leg Cramps During Pregnancy  

Certain hormones increase in your body during pregnancy and the level of a few minerals like magnesium and potassium increases in that phase. Over the presence of these minerals are the reason for leg cramps during pregnancy. 

What Causes Severe Leg Cramps at Night?

We all are mostly tired by night, and so are our muscles. When your muscles are tired, they cannot function properly and fail to absorb important minerals, which causes leg cramps.

Can Leg Cramps be a Sign of Something Serious? 

Yes, leg cramps can be an alarm of some serious body issues like,

  • Kidney failure
  • Peripheral artery disease 
  • Diabetes  
  • Structural disorder
  • Nerve dysfunction
  • Metabolic disorder  

Foods That Cause Leg Cramps?  

There are food items that help you deal with leg cramps, and then there are food items that cause leg cramps. You should be aware of the food that causes leg cramps; they are 

  • Alcohol
  • Sugar 
  • Refined vegetable oils 
  • Pasteurized food  
  • Grains 

Do Muscle Cramps Go Away on their Own? 

Definitely, yes, most of the muscle cramps occur at a lower intensity and do not require medical attention as they go away on their own. 

Causes of Leg Cramps

What is the Best Vitamin for Leg Cramps

Several vitamins can help you in dealing with leg cramps. These vitamins are,

  • Vitamin B6 
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C 
  • Vitamin D 
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin E 
  • Potassium


Leg cramps can be very common, depending upon the lifestyle you have. Try taking rest properly and make sure you have enough vitamins and minerals in your diet to keep your body fit and working

Typically leg cramps do not any special attention and care as they go away on their own in a short while.