Are you a sports person? Your fitness regime can be harmful to your legs and calf muscles. Your daily activities like running, walking or cycling might cause a sprain in your legs. The condition is medically termed as a muscle cramp or charley horse. It is a painful contraction of the muscles. It comes as a sudden attack and may last for a few minutes or for a longer period. Nighttime cramps are very common in sports persons or people who undertake a lot of physical activity throughout the day. Leg cramps usually occur in the calf muscles.
What Causes Muscle Cramps??
It can be caused due to multiple reasons. Ranging from dehydration to serious issues or medical conditions, muscle cramps can be caused due to different reasons. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause behind the cramp. However, the following reasons are the most common factors responsible for cramps:
- One may develop injuries during exercising, this may results in cramps. Moreover, faulty postures during exercising cause leg cramps. Overuse of the muscles by spending more time in exercising and exhausting excess energy causes cramps and muscle fatigue.
- Cramps may be a common symptom in pregnant women. During pregnancy, a woman’s body gets deficient in minerals and vitamins. Also, the weight of the upper part of the woman’s body increases during pregnancy. This puts extra pressure on the leg muscles.
- Excessive cold weather and use of cold water for bathing or drinking
- Improper flow of blood due to heart-related diseases or peripheral arterial disease
- Chronic health disorders like kidney disorders, thyroid disease, and multiple sclerosis.
- Deficiency of potassium, calcium and minerals in bloodstream
- Side effects of medicines like antipsychotics, steroids, birth control pills and diuretics, etc.
Ways to deal with muscle cramps
There are a number of ways to reduce the possibility of occurrence of muscle cramps. Here are some of the ways discussed below:
- It is quite important to stretch and massage the muscles on regular basis.
- After a hard day's work, it is best to take a warm shower or steam bath. It relaxes the muscles. You can also apply a heating pad.
- Apply an ice or cold pack to relax the muscles
- Consume painkillers or other medicines after consulting with a physician
- Ensure that you consume sufficient amount of water throughout the day. You can also take health or sports drinks to keep your body hydrated always. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a General Physician.