Lower leg cramps are caused by sudden muscle contractions which can be painful or just uncomfortable. This can last from a few seconds to up to several minutes. The main causes that induce cramps may vary in different people but certain conditions make some people more prone to it than others. Muscle cramps can last for several minutes. It’s important to give the muscle time to recover, massage the muscle, and avoid putting further strain on it. If this condition persists, you should consult a doctor for correct diagnosis and adequate treatment.
The one most common cause of lower leg cramps is strenuous exercise leading to muscle fatigue. Strenuous cardio exercise or running or exercise routines that put strain on the calf muscles can lead to muscle cramps. It is an indication that your muscles have been overworked and need rest. It is better to warm up and stretch before you exercise and build your stamina slowly over a period of time.
In some people, maintaining certain postures while sitting or lying down for a long time can cause cramps. Somehow some postures trigger sudden muscle contractions, possibly due to low levels of calcium, potassium or magnesium, and its better take note and avoid them. This is common in pregnant women, where muscle spasms can be triggered by certain positions while lying down, and is a very painful condition. Lower leg cramps can be relieved by stretching the affected leg with toes facing upwards.
Excessive fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration and loss of essential minerals from the body which is also a causative agent of muscle spasms. There are medications that can also trigger muscle spasms. These include drugs used to lower sugar and cholesterol level in the body.
Varicose or enlarged veins can cause muscle cramps in the lower leg too. This is triggered by sudden movements of the leg. There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments available for this condition.
Other conditions that trigger cramps include injury in the lower leg bone or muscle. Muscles associated with the injury might not be able to relax after a contraction. Basically, muscle movement is coordinated by regular muscle contraction and relaxation. Levels of calcium, magnesium and potassium in the body regulate normal muscle movement. Any decrease in these levels can affect muscle movement. Muscle movement also requires energy. Depletion of energy prevents muscle relaxation and may lead to cramping.