Behind the Scenes: Leg Cramps

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When you get a leg cramp, it is usually a very painful experience. The muscle tenses up, pain radiates through the leg and weight bearing becomes extremely difficult. This can make life even harder if you are at work, partaking in an activity or merely walking around. Leg cramps can put a damper on your day, especially if they regularly reoccur. Not sure why you are experiencing cramping in your legs? Here are some reasons you could be experiencing cramping:

  • Parkinson’s Disease - this condition can cause cramps in the legs and the feet. This is because dystonia occurs which causes a lack of dopamine stimulation in the brain. This lack of stimulation is more noticeable to the body at night when it is at rest and levels are naturally lower. This means that during sleep cramps are much more likely. They can be very painful and wake you from a peaceful sleep.
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease is another underlying condition that can cause cramping in the legs and the feet. This is because the disease decreases the blood flow to the extremities. When the blood flow is decreased the body will cramp, especially during activity. This is because as the muscles look for blood, the lack of blood causes the arteries to contract. This contracting causes the pain we experience from peripheral vascular disease.
  • Spinal Stenosis - this condition causes pressure on the nerves to the legs. When this pressure occurs on the nerves, it can cause cramping while walking or moving. The only way to reverse this cramping is to find a way to release the pressure on the affected nerves. A podiatrist can help you seek relief from this pressure and help alleviate cramping.
  • Nutritional imbalances can also affect the legs and feet and cause cramping. If you are dehydrated, do not have enough sodium or potassium or are eating an imbalanced diet, you can suffer from cramping in the feet and the legs. The best way to combat this is to eat properly and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Toxins can also cause cramping in the legs and feet. If you take a drug that decreases blood flow, affects the balance of the body’s hormones, or take a drug that dehydrates you, it can all lead to cramping.

Leg cramps can really put you down and out. The best way to combat them is to make an appointment with a podiatrist. Call Achilles Foot and Ankle Surgery, PC located in Martins Ferry, Ohio and St. Clairsville, Ohio, as well as Wheeling West Virginia. There Dr. Bruce G. Blank and his staff can help you get on track to preventing leg and foot cramps. Call 740-633-4188 or make an appointment online today.