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Causes cramps in the legs at night, what to do?

Everyone knows that leg cramps are an unpleasant phenomenon, because each of us had them. And if you ask in more detail, then almost all healthy people are familiar with only one type of seizures - these are calf muscle cramps. The frequency of occurrence of these phenomena in a healthy person is small, and may occur, perhaps, only in one case - this is during bathing in cold water.

In people taking diuretics or diuretic drugs, these calf muscle contractions can also occur even at rest, and sometimes from both sides. The reasons for this phenomenon will be discussed below. Are cramps in the calf muscles a serious symptom and how can they be treated?


Leg cramps - what is it?

Causes of leg cramps at night

Leg cramps, like other striated, or skeletal muscles, exist in all as warm-blooded animals. The smooth muscles of the internal organs do not have convulsions, but there are spasms. In such cases, the person experiences nagging pain, for example, in the right hypochondrium.

Having taken No-shpu, he is relieved, because this drug is an antispasmodic. But the spasms of the smooth muscles of the internal organs are nothing compared to the skeletal muscle cramps, as they are very painful. In addition to pain, there is also an unpleasant factor - the inability to control the muscle, as usual.

Spasm is a sudden, sharp and complete contraction of all muscle bundles. It can be said that cramp is a 100% muscle contraction. Even a trained athlete is not able to strain a muscle as much as a cramp does.

The physiology of muscle contraction is such that there are tonic and clonic convulsions. To tonic and include this phenomenon, and clonic called periodic muscle contractions, alternating with relaxation.

Spasm of the gastrocnemius muscle may begin suddenly, but sometimes there are certain precursors that give time to relax, change posture. Typically, a tonic reduction lasts from a few seconds to 10 minutes. The longer it is, the stronger the residual pain.

Is spasm harmful?

The harm of prolonged seizures is a violation of blood circulation, worsening the discharge of large amounts of lactic acid from the muscle.

This forms a vicious circle: the accumulation of metabolic products in the muscle causes its spasm, and the spasm itself provokes the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscle. In addition, muscle cracks and hemorrhages occur during a long spasm.

Features leg cramps at night and in the elderly

Basically, everyone is concerned about the same questions: why exactly caviar, why exactly at night, and why do people of this age more often manifest this phenomenon. We will answer these questions, which for some reason are poorly covered in popular articles on the Internet.

Почему икры? 1) Why caviar? - The calf muscles in humans have a special structure. We all know that the hands and feet of a person are not like the paws of beasts, which all four limbs rest on the ground.

The legs and calves are created for constant and long-lasting load, and the arms and forearms are for a stronger, but short in time and diverse. Therefore, the calves do not have such developed beams and such a good blood supply as the muscles of the forearm, and they are more exposed to "nervous breakdown."

Почему ночью? 2) Why at night? - Yes, because the venous outflow at night is worse than during the day. During the day, muscle contractions activate the valve apparatus of the veins and the blood carries away harmful substances from the muscle tissue. At night, the valves work worse, and the muscle gets worse blood supply. In addition, you can additionally "otlezhat" leg.

Почему у пожилых? 3) Why is it older? - And in old age, leg cramps in the nighttime are aggravated due to age-related blood supply disorders in the legs, and medications that can increase the cramps. Elderly leg cramps in the elderly is a common cause of insomnia, especially in hypertensive patients, due to inappropriate diuretic use.

О пальцах ног: иногда тонические сокращения мышц голени продолжаются на тыльную часть стопы, захватывая и пальцы на ногах. 4) About toes: sometimes tonic contractions of the leg muscles continue on the back of the foot, grabbing toes and toes. These muscles, as well as the muscles of the leg, are “so arranged” to carry out a long-term static load. By the way, calf cramps can begin with finger cramps, and these two phenomena should be considered interrelated.

Now let's talk about the most important causes of these painful muscle contractions.

The main factors are the decrease in the concentration of metal ions: potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as the accumulation of lactic acid. Before listing the causes, we describe the symptoms of a shortage of these metals.

Why is cramping legs - check yourself

Why is cramping legs

Since almost all options for the development of seizures include a lack of potassium, calcium and magnesium - we give the main symptoms that are not associated with seizure activity, so that everyone can check whether his concerns are legitimate.

Potassium deficiency

It is manifested by severe and rapid muscle fatigue, swelling occurs, and constipation appears. Often the pressure decreases, you feel thirsty, dry mouth occurs. There is a symptom of dry skin, possibly the appearance of acne. From the side of the heart possible tachycardia.

Calcium deficiency

With a lack of calcium, a person becomes irritable, quick-tempered. Sleep is disturbed, insomnia begins to disturb, blood pressure rises. In different parts of the body, goosebumps begin to run, or paresthesias appear, numbness occurs.

Bleeding gums begins. Gradually, the teeth begin to break down, the nails peel off. Calcium leaching from the skeleton is fraught with fractures.


If there is a little magnesium, then memory disturbances occur, insomnia also worries, anxiety level increases, imbalances occur when walking, hypothermia appears, that is, a decrease in body temperature. Heart rhythm disturbance occurs on the part of the heart.

The activity of pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, is associated with the absorption of magnesium in the body. In the case of a deficiency of this vitamin, in addition to a lack of magnesium, anemia appears, nausea, hair begins to fall out, “stuck” in the corners of the mouth, or manifestations of angular stomatitis appear.

Causes of leg cramps

We leave the detailed description to the doctors, who themselves will tell you about them, therefore, we simply list the situations that can provoke these changes:

  • The main causes of cramping in the legs at night at the age is the washing out of potassium and magnesium ions from the body, which increase muscle cramping activity. This can be caused by taking diuretics such as Furosemide, Lasix;
  • Taking anti-ulcer drugs and sorbents can also reduce the absorbability of potassium and magnesium. Therefore, in patients with peptic ulcer and heartburn, muscle contractions may also occur;
  • In strong heat, the body sweats, and then potassium is lost - this causes hypokalemic seizures. Therefore, you need to be careful, for example, with high loads in hot weather, or with frequent visits to the sauna;
  • Chronic stress and depression. Under these conditions, the production of cortisol increases, and this hormone of the adrenal cortex reduces the degree of absorption of calcium in the intestine, which provokes seizures;
  • In winter, when there is a lack of sunlight, vitamin D is not produced in sufficient quantities, and as a result, calcium is ingested in insufficient amounts;
    with a long stay in an uncomfortable position;
  • With dehydration. The reason again is the lack of metal ions. It can occur with prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, and occurs in case of poisoning and food infections;
  • When exposed to a number of special neurotoxins, for example, in case of tetanus disease or the bite of some snakes and insects;
  • In some neurological diseases, for example, the pathology of the extrapyramidal system - Parkinson's disease, strokes;
  • Mental disorder: convulsions during hysteria, with deep and frequent breathing (hypercapnic convulsions);
  • Also, this symptom is possible with hyperthermia and severe hemorrhages into the cavity of the ventricles of the brain, when hormetonic convulsions occur;
  • Varicose veins of the lower extremities and, in general, chronic venous insufficiency . Seizures occur due to poor performance of the veins, which can not promptly remove the harmful substances accumulated in the muscles.

Also, the causes of increased seizure activity in the calf muscles include chronic renal failure, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes mellitus.

Sometimes even local processes can be their cause, for example, pronounced flatfoot. At the same time with a large excess loaded muscles of the legs. Improper posture, leg injuries, can also contribute to the development of this unpleasant state, worsening the quality of life.

Especially need to say about the causes of convulsions in pregnant women.

Leg cramps in pregnant women

Leg cramps in pregnant women

Seizures in pregnant women in the legs - this is a normal, functional state caused by increased stress on the body of a pregnant woman. The main reasons are as follows:

  • Increasing the daily need for ions and trace elements, as the baby’s body is built from them;
  • Possible bouts of vomiting, which sometimes bother the expectant mother at first. Together with vomiting, the body loses a lot of ions, water and trace elements. They need to be replenished to avoid manifestations of night cramps.
  • Dietary disturbance. It is important to pay attention to milk, cottage cheese, fruits and vegetables that contain the necessary substances;
  • Sometimes self-administration of diuretic drugs can cause sudden muscle contractions, so a pregnant woman cannot fight against edema without a doctor's permission.

In all cases when these unpleasant symptoms occur during pregnancy, they may be precursors of electrolyte disturbances. Therefore, it is necessary, without delay, to consult a doctor of female consultation.

What to do when the legs cramp?

In that case, if the leg cramped, there are many ways to resist pain. Some of them are listed below:

  1. If you feel that the cramp is close, try massaging and relaxing the muscle;
  2. It is necessary several times with increasing force to pull the sock towards you and back, swinging the foot by the thumb. Sometimes flexion - extension of the leg at the knee joint helps;
  3. You can walk a little barefoot on the floor, putting your foot on the toe;
  4. You can stroke and massage the calf muscle using a warming ointment, for example, Fastum - Gel;
  5. Roll on the muscle roller massager, or attach a needle applicator;

After the pain subsides, the legs must be raised to ensure a good outflow of venous blood and the removal of stagnant decay products from the muscles. These recommendations work effectively in the event that your leg cramped at night. What do you now know.

If such a symptom is sufficiently periodic, you can put a roller massager or applicator near the head, so that at night it was easy to find a hand and provide first aid yourself. When there is nothing like this, the first and second tips in the list above are effective.

Treatment of cramps in the legs

Treatment of cramps in the legs

For the treatment of cramps in the legs, in addition to urgent care, you can designate tips that should be heard by suffering patients:

Перестать бесконтрольно принимать мочегонные препараты, побеседовать с лечащим врачом. 1) Stop taking diuretics uncontrollably, talk with your doctor. Sometimes diuretic drugs are part of the combined funds for hypertension. Therefore, observe whether there is a link between taking drugs and the appearance of seizures.

If there is such a connection, but it is necessary to take the drugs, then along with the antihypertensive medication you need to take a pill "Panangina" or "Asparkam", or their analogues, which are sources of potassium and magnesium.

Изменить свое питание. 2) Change your diet. You need to eat dried fruits, compote, baked potatoes in uniforms, fresh vegetables and fruits. Seafood, dates, beans, whole-grain bread, and sunflower seeds are very useful. There is a lot of calcium in fermented milk products.

To increase the supply of vitamin D in the body need to eat egg yolk, cod liver. To replenish potassium, you can eat bananas, chicken, fish.

Прогулки на свежем воздухе, при условии солнечной погоды. 3) Walking in the fresh air, subject to sunny weather. Stimulate the production of vitamin D.

Нужно пить свежую чистую воду, не отказывая себе. 4) You need to drink fresh clean water, not indulging.

Можно с разрешения врача начать принимать витаминные комплексы, в состав которых входят минеральные добавки и микроэлементы. 5) It is possible with the permission of the doctor to start taking vitamin complexes, which include mineral supplements and trace elements.

Нужно полностью исключить употребление стимуляторов, таких, как кофе, особенно на ночь. 6) It is necessary to completely eliminate the use of stimulants, such as coffee, especially at night. Do not eat irritating and spicy foods - pepper, garlic and onions before bedtime.

Cramps in the legs at night at the age of 50, the treatment of which with the help of the above measures was not crowned with success, you can try to treat with prescribing soft sedatives: "Fito-sedan", "Novo-passit". Sometimes helps Corvalol.

In the event that there is varicose veins or thrombophlebitis - a lot depends on the treatment of the underlying disease. To restore the venous blood flow and reduce edema, apply Flebodia, Eskuzan, preparations containing horse chestnut extract. Use as prescribed by the doctor compression knitwear. An operation is sometimes shown, which in modern medicine is called "endovascular laser correction."

Equally important is the correct choice of orthopedic insoles and shoes in the case of flatfoot, the rejection of high heels. Exercise on the legs should be moderate: you need to alternate periods of load with periods of rest.

Massage and self-massage of the legs will help to avoid cramps at bedtime, and such a tool, a warm bath or shower will improve sleep. You can also make foot baths with aromatic oils, for example, with peppermint oil.

Leg cramps at night, the cause and treatment of which we have examined, are a collective symptom. This means that there is no specific disease to which they directly point. Define this disease - the role of the attending physician. But the patient can also tell a lot to the doctor, and take appropriate measures. We hope this short article will help him in this matter.

2016-08-10 08:29:00
Good article. I still smeared my legs with cramps with Thrombocide. He relieves spasm and cramps pass.
2017-01-20 11:27:57
what pains, I'm tired of these convulsions. The problem is, I have varicose veins, diabetes, what can I do?
Vitaly R
2017-01-20 12:24:01
First of all, normalize the level of sugar. From him most of the problems, including with the nerves.
2017-04-20 16:43:06
Thank you! Good article and take a lot of notes.
2017-05-10 10:26:38
not a collection, but a correction!
2017-05-10 10:27:04
Many thanks, corrected the annoying typo!
2017-06-06 07:06:58
I don't drink diuretic medicine, but I still have leg cramps. What should I do?
2017-06-13 05:59:03
Hello, Nastya. There are several causes of seizures. You need to see a general practitioner or neurologist to get tested. First of all, you need to pass general tests (blood, urine), as well as check the level of trace elements in the body (potassium, calcium, magnesium). Be healthy!
2017-08-29 13:29:48
Lyudmila I do not drink diuretics, but the strong swelling of the legs, especially the ankles and calf muscles, which get very cold, also seems that the skin is going to burst, after the night the puffiness slightly subsides, but not quite - what to do, who to contact
2017-09-20 09:41:20
Hello, Ludmila. Sometimes the swelling of the lower extremities can be associated with lymphostasis (impaired lymph flow) or diseases of the cardiovascular system, or impaired protein composition of the blood. Consult your physician to determine the cause of leg edema. Be healthy.
Tatyana Lukyanchikova Zhogina
2017-10-17 05:42:55
I am very grateful for the useful information.
Lyudmila Pavlovna Galeniuk
2017-10-27 04:54:56
Thank you very much for the article and tips in it!

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