What Causes Leg Spasms?

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Leg spasms or cramps are involuntary muscle contractions that occur suddenly and resolve spontaneously. They can be particularly uncomfortable and disruptive during exercise and sleep and are the result of several contributing factors.

Therefore, it’s important for patients to understand the causes of leg spasms and take steps to reduce their likelihood.

Here are five causes of leg spasms.

1. Muscle Overuse and Fatigue

It’s not uncommon for athletes or anyone that participates in regular exercise to experience leg spasms from time to time. They often present when the muscles are tired, strained, injured, overstretched, or held in the same position for a long time.

The latter situation causes muscle cells to run out of energy and become hyperexcitable to the point that they spasm in the legs.

2. Unfamiliar Exercise

When starting a workout routine, many men and women can become too ambitious and overdo it with exercises that are unfamiliar to them.

So, before getting super motivated on leg day, keep in mind that new and repetitive activities can cause overactive muscles and leg spasms.

3. Dehydration and Depletion of Electrolytes

The proper balance of water, glucose, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium is necessary for organized muscles contraction in the legs.

Therefore, any disruption to these levels can impact function and result in spasm.

4. Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease causes a decrease in blood flow and nutrients to the legs. Consequently, patients may experience pain with activity and muscle cramps.

5. Sleep Disturbances

Legs cramps that occur in the middle of the night can be alarming, painful, and interrupt sleep. This condition is referred to as Nocturnal Leg Cramps and is considered a sleep disturbance.

Additionally, Restless Legs Syndrome is a disorder that causes a strong urge to move one’s legs, accompanied by an unpleasant feeling. It usually presents at night, and is more likely to occur with age.

To learn more about leg spasms and cramps, call the Vein Center of Maryland to schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located in Westminster, Eldersburg, Baltimore, Hunt Valley and Bel Air.

We also service Ellicott City and Columbia in Howard County.