If you commonly experience sudden sharp pains in your lower legs, you’re not alone.
50-60% of adults report suffering from leg cramps and 60% of adults suffer from nocturnal leg cramps, or leg cramps during the night.
There are a variety of reasons these leg cramps could be occurring.
The most common cause of nocturnal leg cramps are:
- Tight calf muscles (due to lack of stretching, inactivity, or edema)
- Electrolyte abnormalities (commonly low magnesium or potentially potassium)
- Certain neurological disorders
- Certain medications
- Excessive, intense exercise
Notably, there are also some serious conditions that are associated with leg cramps.
These could include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Liver cirrhosis
- Certain kidney diseases
- Lumbar stenosis
Some simple, yet effective treatments that could help to relieve leg cramps include:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Stretching the muscles before bed
- Supplementing with a Bisglycinate form of magnesium, if indicated
- Not consuming stimulants (caffeine, nicotine)
- Deep tissue massage
- Certain supplements
It’s always important to work with a healthcare practitioner to determine the cause of your nocturnal leg cramps and the best treatment approach.
Dr. Samantha Allen, ND