Why leg cramps: causes of crampslegs (calf muscles)

Update: October 2018

Among a large number of various diseases there are also
pathological functional states which, without being
disease, still violate the normal state of health of the person.
A typical example is myoclonus or clonic convulsions.
икроножных muscle

Это симптом, характеризующийся болезненным спазмом
different muscle groups. The most typical foot myoclonia or
shins. Such spastic contractions are subconsciously associated
with the name of the well-known rock band “Nogu Sulo”.

Clonic convulsions are short-lived. In addition to them, there may be
тонические непроизвольные сокращения поперечнополосатой
skeletal muscles that are stronger and more lasting and
can last more than three minutes.

Causes of cramps in the legs

The reasons for the development of leg muscle cramps lie in
disorders of the electrolyte balance of muscle cells, inadequacy
blood supply to soft tissue or neurological problems. These three
groups of causes can occur both in isolation and in various
combinations accompanying congenital anomalies or acquired
diseases. It is not so important as the age of the patient, so
as the mechanisms of myoclonia development are almost identical for children,
adults and seniors.

Нарушения водно-электролитного баланса

Electrolyte disorders are the largest group of conditions,
leading to cramps in the legs. Normal muscle contraction possible
when creating a potential difference between the cell and the extracellular
space, which is determined by the current of sodium, potassium ions,
calcium, magnesium and chlorine in different directions. For any
pathologies leading to an imbalance of these substances, muscular
contraction is broken. The most important is the deficiency of sodium and
calcium, leading to muscle spasm. Here is a list of some
conditions leading to cramps in the legs.

When dehydrated

(from the second degree and above) there is a thickening of the blood, a fall
sodium concentrations in plasma, and leg cramps develop. Causes and
the mechanism of development of myoclonus from bleeding is similar
dehydration, convulsions develop with a sharp drop in volume
circulating blood, for example, with heavy bleeding (see
uterine bleeding – causes).

With inadequate diuretic therapy

especially loop diuretics (furosemide, lasix,
torasemide, bumetanide, ethacrynic acid) and inhibitors
carbonic anhydrase (diacarbam), which mainly remove sodium
and magnesium. The decrease in the concentration of these ions increases the excitability
nerve endings that lead to convulsions. This is very characteristic
condition for elderly patients and losing weight with
diuretics. For them, cramps in the legs at night and muscle
twitching that is provoked even by ordinary change
limb positions.

With inadequate rehydration therapy

and plasma transfusions a sharp jump in oncotic pressure
leads to electrolyte disturbances and convulsions.


often accompanied by calcium deficiency, which is consumed by
needs of a growing fetus, and may be accompanied by foot myoclonia or

Cirrhosis of the liver

in which the balance between albumin and globulins is disturbed
plasma and fluid accumulates in the tissues, abdominal, pleural
cavity and pericardial bag, can also cause cramps.
Read more about liver cirrhosis.


chronic renal failure is also often complicated

Ischemia of tissues

Tissue hypoxia leads to accumulation of oxidized products.
metabolism, such as lactic acid and inflammatory mediators. Ischemia
tissue manifested by spastic muscle contraction and pain
syndrome. This mechanism may develop with insufficient
blood flow in the area of ​​the foot or lower leg or metabolic disorders,
reduce the flow of glucose into the tissue (see cerebral ischemia in

Lower limb varicose veins

the most typical pathology in which the convulsions of individual muscles
legs arise after a long walk or static load
(see treatment of varicose veins at home). This trouble pursues
hairdressers, sellers. teachers, as well as pregnant women,
which increased internal blood pressure provokes the development or
exacerbation of varicose veins. In addition to spasticity and pain in patients
there may be swelling and heaviness in the legs, on which appears
enhanced venous drawing and even nodes where blood stagnates, which
can cause secondary inflammation of the vein (phlebitis) or even

The defeat of the small arteries

this is the lot of patients with diabetes and smokers whom
pursues obliterative endarteritis, also called
intermittent claudication. In this case, the first place
arterial blood flow disorders to which diabetes
a violation of tissue utilization of glucose and condition is also added
hypoglycemia during fasting or inadequately high doses of insulin.
The characteristic signs are pain when walking, the impossibility
walking on long distance, pallor and cooling
foot, trophic skin disorders in the form of chronic ulcers and erosions.
Diabetes is characterized even by necrotic processes, which
are called diabetic foot. Obliterating endarteritis and
diabetic foot – the most common causes of lower amputation

Transverse flatfoot

and other similar abnormalities of the foot, leading to violations
load distribution on the ligamentous and muscular system
legs, can also be a cause for convulsive muscle contractions
feet or shins. It plays a role as worsening conditions.
blood flow and compression of small nerve trunks. Interesting that
a similar situation may occur for lovers of model narrow
shoes or fans of high heels, when excessive load
will fall on the toes.


Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s syndrome or disease in which the capillary suffers
blood flow also leads to oxygen starvation of the muscles and, as
consequence, may occur myoclonus. For these two pathologies
characterized by mild limbs, intolerance to cold
air or water, upon contact with which the limbs turn pale or
even turn blue and can react with muscle spasm.

Neurological pathology

Intoxication of various origin

инфекционных патологиях (менингококковых,
стафилококковых), отравлениях метиловым спиртом, цианидами,
phosphides, hydrocyanic acid, strychnine, mushrooms (lines)
neuromuscular transmission disorders may occur which
lead to spasticity of the muscles of the legs. To the rare reasons for the same
mechanism of action should be attributed to the bites of scorpions, South American
ants, black widow spiders and octopuses, stingrays and
sea ​​urchins. In our latitudes, it is more realistic to eat a water chest,
like parsley, be bitten by a forest ant. In children,
vitamin D supplements may also occur in case of overdose
spasticity in the legs, as a result of excessive calcium loss

With spastic type of paralysis

against the background of cerebral circulatory disorders in the acute period also
tonic leg cramps may develop. Here are the symptoms
supplemented by precursors in the form of a headache, flashing of flies in
eyes. At the moment of stroke, there may be a loss or
blurred consciousness, nasolabial fold asymmetry and deviation
language from the midline (see signs of stroke in women).

Hyperthermia in children

(high temperature) with high convulsive bark readiness
the brain can also lead to cramps in the legs.

With osteochondrosis of the lumbar

or sacral spine, the development of intervertebral
hernia due to compression of the motor roots of the spinal cord also
often cramping legs.

Other causes of cramps in the legs.

In case of joint injuries or leg fractures, spasticity is
protective mechanism that limits mobility
injured area. However, muscle spasm in response to pain
impulse is the main cause of tubular bone fractures during
falls from a height.

Hypoparathyroidism or decreased parathyroid hormone production
glands in the background of their radiation injury, trauma or operative
Removal can also manifest leg cramps. But at the same time
convulsions also affect the face and upper limbs, as well as
there is a loss and dryness of the hair, weakness and fatigue,
tendency to depression, bronchospasm.

Why night leg cramps?

At night, muscle activity is reduced, however, when you sleep in
lactic acid can accumulate in the stuffy room in the leg tissues,
which causes cramping and pain. Also after a significant load on
feet during the day in persons with vascular problems venous outflow from
limbs insufficient, and the flow of arterial blood is slowed down, which
and provokes tissue ischemia and rescue phenomena in the muscles of the foot and
lower leg

Causes of leg cramps in healthy people

Healthy people can also be cramped in
calf muscles. The reasons for this phenomenon lie in a strong or
prolonged muscle tension, they occur with prolonged
forced position. It can be both household and
professional loads, for example:

  • Ballerinas or circus artists often encounter such
    a problem. Such changes are due to the fact that
    overvoltage increases impulses from neuromuscular spindles and
    the alpha-motoneuron of the pyramidal tracts is secondarily transported,
    which causes muscle spasm.
  • Professional athletes or athletes and skiers lovers,
    who used to train at low temperatures,
    also subject to the risks of developing leg cramps.

Cramps in the calf muscles is not a harmless phenomenon, but the most
frequent cause of death on the water.

  • Often coaches tell about this phenomenon to their pupils.
    on swimming at the earliest stages of training. Cramp going on
    with a significant load on this muscle group during swimming.
    It also strongly depends on the temperature of the water (the colder it is
    faster cramp occurs).

Еще один фактор – это степень натренированности икроножных
muscle Have untrained people muscle spasm can occur in
for a few minutes. We can safely say that this
the phenomenon is often the leading cause of death among
bathing. Young, healthy and confident people are
and there is a major risk group. Many of them never before the tragic
moment did not experience the above phenomena. Therefore, the first
feelings when cramping calves:

  • strong painСудороги икроножных мышц - что делать
  • inability to move a foot
  • panic and fear

There is a very simple way to escape in this situation. Required
remember at that moment that you can unlock the calf muscle,
сильно притянув носок этой ноги к lower leg In this case, the foot
works like a lever, stretching muscles and forcing them into
working condition.

So, the correct algorithm of actions will be as follows:

  • inhale as much air as possible
  • immerse yourself in the water and press your knees to the stomach,
  • clasp both hands with big toes
    сильно потянуть к lower leg

What to do if your legs are cramping

If such a problem as leg cramps, is repeated, it is worth
consult a doctor and be examined. The main directions are
an exception:

  • electrolyte disorders
  • endocrine disorders
  • vascular diseases
  • neurological pathologies

In classical myoclonia, when there is no generalized
convulsive seizures and loss of consciousness, it is worth paying attention to
fluid consumption level.

  • In the heat or with excessively dry air, it is worthwhile to increase the drinking water.
    load due to mineral water.
  • With the loss of fluid with vomiting or diarrhea, it is worth to
    rehydration with Regidron, Hydrovit or similar solutions from
    calculating 200 ml for each stool or vomiting.
  • It is important not to take uncontrollably different medicinal
    means, especially, diuretic.
  • In children, принимающих витамин Д, должен проводиться строгий
    control over dosages and their timely correction.
  • Have лиц, склонных к судорогам на фоне повышения температуры, ее
    should be on time and adequately shoot down.
  • Pregnant women should take prophylactic doses of drugs.

Emergency care for cramps

To interrupt the contraction of the leg muscles, you can hold
following simple activities.

  • Gently stretch the muscles of the legs and feet: stand on the socks,
    to walk You can also straighten the foot with your hands in the prone position.
  • Muscle massage allows them to relax. Most effective
    shaking limbs and stroking with careful kneading
  • Myoclonus is most often treated with magnesium preparations.
    (Magnerot, Solgar Magnesium Citrate, Natural Calm, Magnesium diasporal)
    MAGNE6 (Magnistad, MAGNELIS B6) and muscle relaxants (mydocalma,
    толперизон, сирдолута, баклофена).

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: