Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp.
In many cases, however, the cause isn’t known.
Although most muscle cramps are harmless, some may be related to an underlying medical condition, such as: Inadequate blood supply.
What is cramp a sign of?
A leg cramp is an episode of sudden pain in the muscles of the leg caused by an involuntary contracting (shortening) of the leg muscle. Most leg cramps occur in the calf muscles and, less commonly, in the feet and thighs.
Can leg cramps be a sign of something serious?
Up to 20% of patients who experience leg cramps have troublesome enough daily symptoms that they seek medical attention. The majority of leg cramps are idiopathic and harmless, but some may result from underlying illnesses such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease.
How do you stop muscle cramps?
If you have a cramp, these actions may provide relief:
- Stretch and massage. Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax. For a calf cramp, put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly.
- Apply heat or cold. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles.
What happens when a muscle cramps?
A muscle cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax. Muscle cramps can occur in any muscle; cramps of the leg muscles and feet are particularly common. Almost everyone experiences a muscle cramp at some time in their life. Dehydration is a common cause of muscle cramps.