Summer is the season of sun, fun and – leg cramps. So, what can you do to survive this summertime spasm? Read on to find out!
What are leg cramps?
Leg cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions of the leg muscles that cause pain and discomfort. They can last from a few seconds up to a few minutes. The calf muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps are the most common muscles to suffer from cramping.
Who gets leg cramps?
Leg cramps are more common in older adults but can impact anyone. They are considered to be harmless to your overall health, just very uncomfortable. Pregnant women also suffer from leg cramps, especially at night.
Causes of leg cramps
Dehydration is one of the biggest reasons for leg cramps, which is why in summertime you can suffer from more leg cramps. Dehydration causes an electrolyte imbalance in your muscles, which cause them to contract. Cramps can also be caused by overexertion of leg muscles, overly tight muscles, flat feet, nerve or muscles diseases and over exercising.
After a muscle has cramped, it will remain tender for a while, about 24 hours, even after the cramp is gone. They tend to happen a number of times before resolving completely.
What You Can Do
There are a lot of things you can do at home to help prevent and treat leg cramps. The first is to make sure to stretch the affected area. Try stretching your toes and pointing them towards your knee, which is best when experiencing calf muscle spasms. You can also stand on the balls of your feet while pointing your toes upward.
When you get a cramp, gently rub the tightened muscle in the direction of the muscle to improve circulation. It’s also important to stay hydrated – which is probably one of the most important things you can do as a preventative for leg cramps.
Hot and cold packs may turn out to be your best friend. Warm baths can help relax tightened muscles or trying a moist, heated towel can help too.
Diet can also be an important factor in leg cramps. You need a diet rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium to help avoid cramps. Foods like orange juice, tomatoes, cantaloupes, bananas and grapefruits are great sources for these nutrients.
Dairy is also a must. Milk, buttermilk and yogurt will help to prevent cramping through a lack of calcium. Nuts, soy products, beans, peas and lentils are also great sources of magnesium. When in doubt, add some garlic! It can help to ease muscular pain and tenderness.
If leg cramps continue to be a problem, diescuss it with your chiropractor.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.