what causes leg crampsThe pain of leg cramps, while excruciating at times, is only temporary until the cramp subsides. In general, leg cramps occur in the calf or muscles along the side of the foot. In rare cases, a more intense cramp can leave these muscles with lingering soreness.

It is important to determine whether the source of your leg cramps is venous or arterial in nature. Venous related cramps often occur at nighttime, while arterial cramps are related to the gradual hardening of the arteries. Venous and arterial function can be evaluated with screening methods such Vascular Ultrasound, Magnet Resonance Angiography (MRA), and Computed Tomographic (CT) Angiogram.


If your leg cramps are venous in nature, (related to an issue with your veins) here are some suggestions for relief:

1. Stay well hydrated.

2. Exercise.

3. Elevate legs.

4. Wear compression stockings.

5. Keep weight off your legs.

Talk to your physician about the possibility of an electrolyte imbalance or vitamin deficiency.

Another good option for relief during a leg cramp is to gently stretch the muscle. For a calf muscle, while seated, slowly reach towards your toes and gently pull them towards you. Simply standing on the cramping leg may also help, but be mindful and ask for help if needed to avoid falling. It is also helpful to apply heat or massage the muscle if the cramp does not subside after stretching.

Leg cramps may be related to an issue with your arteries if:

1. They occur with walking or other physical activity.

2. They resolve when stopping the activity.

3. They are associated with ulcers.

4. Your feet are discolored.

If you experience frequent severe leg cramping, you should consult your physician to ensure there are no underlying health concerns causing the cramps. If you feel your leg cramping is due to a venous or arterial issue, call Premier Vein Clinics for a consult today – (865) 588-8229.

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