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Leg cramps: Causes and how to stop

When you're running, a cramp in your leg can cause more than just a little bit of pain. It may even stop you from getting to finish your run. But what causes leg cramps? And how can you treat them so they don't happen again?

Leg cramps are a common, painful problem. You may have experienced leg cramps if you've ever woken up in the middle of the night with a foot that feels like it’s on fire, or had to stop mid-workout because your toes were cramping so badly.

While there are many causes for leg and foot pain, including inflammation, stress on tendons or muscles, improper footwear and more serious conditions such as diabetes or peripheral arterial disease (PAD), most people who experience frequent leg cramps will benefit from some simple lifestyle changes in addition to other treatments they may need.

Get cold

If you're prone to leg cramps, then you may find that they happen after soaking your feet in cold water or when sleeping without a blanket. This is because cold temperatures can cause blood vessels in your body to constrict and cause muscle contractions. If you notice that your calves are getting sore after walking outside on a winter day, consider wearing thick socks or changing out of your wet shoes.



Some people experience cramps when exercising, especially if they are new to exercise. The increased blood flow and muscle activity associated with exercise can cause your leg muscles to contract too hard and become fatigued. If you have been exercising for a long time, it's also possible that lactic acid builds up in your legs and causes the muscles to cramp.


Lack of Calcium

You may be lacking calcium if you experience cramping in your calves or other muscles. Calcium is an important mineral for muscle contraction, and it's found in dairy products, leafy greens, beans and other foods high in protein. If you're deficient in calcium and don't get enough from food sources alone (or if a medical condition prevents you from absorbing the calcium that you do eat), taking a supplement may help to alleviate your symptoms.


Treatments for cramps

While there's no cure for leg cramps, there are ways to reduce your risk of experiencing them. One of the most effective ways to prevent leg cramps is to stretch and warm up before exercise. You may also consider wearing enough clothes so that you're not too warm or cold, especially during exercise in hot weather.

Warm up with a brisk walk or jog and then stretch your calves by placing one foot on a chair or step and gently pushing down with the other foot until you feel a pull in your calf muscle. Hold this position for 30 seconds while breathing deeply through pursed lips, then switch legs. Do three sets of 10 repetitions daily at least two days per week (for example: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays).

Massaging the area where the leg cramp is occurring will help relieve tension in the muscles and relieve pain. If you have access to hand held massagers or percussion massagers, this method works well too! Another option is eating more foods contain calcium—milk, cheese and yogurt are all good sources of calcium.


Hopefully, I have given you some insight into what a muscle cramp is and how to stop them.

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