Many women and men experience transient leg cramping during the night or with exercise. While leg cramps typically resolve on their own, they could also suggest an underlying condition like venous insufficiency.
So, do leg cramps and vein health go hand-in-hand? Or are they nothing more than a temporary nuisance?
Continue reading for everything you need to know about leg cramps and vein health.
Leg veins are tasked with returning deoxygenated blood back to the lungs and heart. Calf muscles play a critical role in this action, as they squeeze leg veins and propel venous blood away from lower extremities. One-way valves in veins open to allow blood to pass through and close to prevent backflow.
However, when valves become diseased or damaged, gravity is able to pull blood back to legs and lower extremities and result in venous insufficiency. Although varicose veins are a well-known symptom of vein disease, leg cramping is another common concern.
Leg muscles go through normal periods of contraction and relaxation. But when muscles continue to contract, without time to relax, individuals can experience uncomfortable cramping.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to leg cramps including fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, especially with potassium, certain medications, dehydration, and vein disease.
Leg cramps and vein health often go hand-in-hand. While occasional and mild leg cramping at night may not be cause for concern, severe, frequent cramping, that disrupt sleep, can suggest vein disease.
Leg cramps with exercise can also be indicative of vein health. More specifically, women and men whose cramping occurs with walking and resolves after brief rest, should schedule an evaluation with a vein specialist to determine the underlying cause.
The physician can employ non-invasive methods, including a venous duplex ultrasound, to diagnose vein disease.
If you are worried about leg cramping at night or with exercise, please contact The Vein Center of Maryland today to schedule a comprehensive consultation with one of our highly skilled and experienced vein specialists.