What should you do when you get a leg cramp?

sport man knee injuryWe all know how a leg cramp feels. It can start when you’re working out, walking, or sometimes even sleeping. The tight, painful feeling comes on fast and hard, and it feels like someone is tying your muscle in a knot and pulling it tighter and tighter. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to stop a muscle cramp. You just have to wait until it’s over.

Muscle cramps occur when a muscle is strained or stuck in one position for too long. Sometimes they are caused by dehydration, nerve compression, or inadequate blood supply. Sometimes, they just happen. Cramps are more common if you are older, dehydrated, pregnant, or have a medical condition like diabetes, a liver or a thyroid disorder, nerve issues, restless leg syndrome, or venous insufficiency.

If you have varicose veins, you may be more likely to suffer from muscle cramps, especially in the areas near the vein. Usually, muscle cramps are not a big deal, but if you notice that they continually happen in the same place, and there is redness or swelling in that spot, schedule an appointment at Precision Vein Therapeutics. During your visit, we do an ultrasound to see if there is an underlying vein issue that may be contributing to the problem.

If you want to avoid muscle cramps, here are a few things you can do :

  • Stay hydrated
  • Make sure that you are getting adequate nutrients through your diet, especially potassium, calcium, and magnesium
  • Stretch
  • Keep active
  • Use compression wear

What can you do when a muscle cramp strikes? Here’s how you can make it through. First, take some deep breaths. They will help you manage the pain. Then, slowly try to stretch the affected area or lightly massage it. Try walking hunched over like you are pushing a shopping cart. This motion can help reduce the pressure on your leg. Eventually, the cramp will pass. When it’s over, drink plenty of water, eat a banana (they are a great source of potassium), and keep massaging the area. Next, try some deeper stretches, or use a foam roller to loosen up the muscle and prevent tightening.

Muscle cramps are painful and annoying because they can strike at any time. If you want to avoid these painful episodes, get your legs checked for underlying circulatory issues. Proper circulation is key to helping your muscles perform and recover after exercise.