LEG cramps are a common condition, but it can be excruciatingly painful when your muscles tighten up.
Here’s what causes cramps, and how you get rid of them.
Getty – Contributor Cramp is a common and very painful condition – which especially affects those over the age of 60 and pregnant women
What causes cramp in your legs and feet?
Leg cramps can occur for no apparent reason, but sometimes there is a medical cause.
During a cramp, your muscles suddenly shorten and contract – causing pain.
This is known as a spasm, and you won’t be able to control the affected muscle for up to 10 minutes.
Causes include taking statins and other medicines, liver disease, alcoholism, dehydration, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, neuromuscular disorders (e.g. motor neuron disease) and having flat feet.
EPA Usain Bolt hit the deck in agony during the World Athletics Championships in London
Adults over the age of 60 and pregnant women are especially prone. A third of expectant mums get cramps in the last trimester.
Both inactivity and over-exercising can cause cramp.
Usain Bolt crashed out of his last ever race, during London’s World Athletics Championships 2017, when he fell to the floor with calf cramp.
How do I get rid of leg cramps?
You only need to see your GP if your leg cramps are very frequent, severe and are affecting your quality of life, or your sleep.
Most episodes can be relieved by exercising the affected muscles, by doing a calf stretch, and/or massaging the muscle.
Taking a warm bath or using an ice pack can help. You should also
drink plenty of fluids, especially isotonic sports drinks like Lucozade.
Most people only need medication in the worst cases.