Controlling painful leg cramps


Leg cramps are painful, involuntary muscle contractions that can last seconds or minutes. They affect your sleep, exercise routine and general quality of life. Some conditions and drugs can cause them, and there are risk factors you’ll want to avoid. When a cramp happens, try flexing the muscle, applying heat or ice and massaging the area.

Several factors, including dehydration, use of diuretics or overuse of your muscles, can trigger leg cramps. They usually occur during rest or sleep. Your doctor may prescribe quinine or a muscle relaxant if you have frequent leg cramps.

To prevent leg cramps:-

• Stretch daily
At least three times a day, including before bedtime, stretch
your calves and feet. Stand two to three feet from a wall, placing your hands on the wall. Keep your heels on the floor. Lean toward the wall and bend one knee. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Straighten your leg. Repeat with the other knee. Stretch each leg at least three times.
• Drink plenty of liquids daily
Fluids help your muscles contract and relax.

To relieve leg cramps:

• Stretch and massage
Straighten your leg and point your toes upward while you gently rub the cramp to help the muscle relax.
• Stand up
For a calf cramp, put your weight on the cramped leg and slight- ly bend your knee. For a thigh cramp, keep both legs straight and lean forward at the waist. Use a chair to steady yourself.
• Apply cold or heat
Use a cold pack to relax tense muscles. Use a warm towel or heating pad later if you have pain and tenderness.


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