Leg cramps are painful contractions in the leg muscles, both at the back and the front of the leg. It usually occurs at night and lasts from seconds to minutes. Besides the leg, the cramp may also occur in the foot and thigh. The cramps can be caused by diseases in the nerve system, but more often they come as a result of physical or mental stress. Some people experience such ailments after they have practiced or been in physical activity. Many are also bothered with tingling in their bones.1

Leg cramps are a very common condition. The incidence increases with age, and leg cramps occur in almost half of all over 50 years. There is no gender difference. Among those with nightly leg cramps have about 40% cramps at least three times a week, while 5% -10% report cramps every night.

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What causes leg cramps?

In most cases, the cause is unknown. However, there are some conditions or illnesses that make you more vulnerable to such ailments:

  • pregnancy
  • Prolonged sitting, inappropriate positioning of the legs in rest, or living or working on concrete floors
  • Hard physical exercise
  • Fluid loss, for example, by using a diuretic or after sweating
  • varicose veins
  • atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes (types 1 and 2)
  • Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, myopathies, neuropathies, radio copies and ALS
    metabolic disorder

Some drugs may cause leg cramps as a side effect, such as:

  • diuretic
  • nifedipine
  • Beta-agonists
  • corticosteroids
  • morphine
  • cimetidine
  • Pencillamin
  • statins
  • lithium
  • Leg cramps occur more frequently during and after physical exertions.

Symptoms of leg cramps

The cramp often occurs at night or when you rest. Muscle contractions can be experienced as a pain in the leg and last from a few seconds up to 10 minutes. The leg muscles may feel sore for up to 24 hours after the cramp.

Other symptoms may be:

  • Suddenly intrusive
  • Partly severe painful contractions in the leg muscles
  • Seizures (most common at night)
  • May occur both from awake and during sleep

Treatment options

During an acute attack, it is recommended that the leg muscles should be stretched or massaged, or if you get up and cramps, try a hot shower where the rays are directed specifically against the painful muscles.

To prevent cramps it has long been recommended to stretch or stretch the muscles well after physical exertions, and just before bedtime. However, research on the benefit of preventive leggings shows no safe effect of this treatment. Some experience that it may help to have a small pillow or crate at the bottom of the bed to prevent the ankle from bending downwards. For some, it helps to raise the foot of the bed. You should also avoid the duvet tightening too hard over your feet.

There is no evidence that drugs are effective against leg cramps.

If one chooses to treat, the supply of vitamin B complex is a possible alternative. A research report indicates the good effect of vitamin B. Magnesium tablets are sustained by many. A collection analysis, however, does not show any effect on the general public, but it may possibly help with leg cramps in pregnant women. It is concluded at the same time that there are several good studies needed to finally clarify whether magnesium helps or not. Experience-based knowledge indicates that any effect of magnesium is late and that such treatment must be tested for 2-3 months before deciding whether it helps. Magnesium treatment can cause diarrhoea.
Vitamin E may be recommended by anyone, but the research carried out indicates that it has no effect.

Different types of medicines containing quinine (a medicine for malaria) have long been recommended. However, the health authorities in several countries disagree because of this. life-threatening medications.


  1. More about causes – NHS