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The Causes of Leg Cramps

By Sara Butler

Leg cramps are harmless but also pretty terrible to go through. They can strike when you least expect it, too, such as when you’re lying in bed at night or just got done with your workout at the gym. Here’s what you need to know about leg cramps and what you can do to stop them!

What is a Leg Cramp?

Leg cramps are a sudden, sharp contraction of the muscles in the calf. They can last just a few seconds or stretch on for several minutes. When they do hit, it often feels as if it’s come out of nowhere and can be quite painful. You can gently try to stretch your leg out when they strike, but a better strategy is to take a look at what causes them and what you can do to put a stop to it!


Dehydration is one of the leading causes of leg cramps. It may be due to the fact that fluid depletion in the muscles can cause oversensitivity in the nerve endings in the muscles, triggering contractions. Fluid depletion can be made worse by exercise in hot weather since so much fluid is lost through sweat.


If you’ve ever been pregnant or shared a bed with a pregnant person, then you know that muscle cramps strike often when a mom-to-be is trying to fall asleep at night. The risk of leg cramps increases during the second and third trimesters due to a possible deficiency in potassium and magnesium in the muscles. If you’re pregnant and get leg cramps, then you may want to discuss supplements with your doctor to help them stop.


Sometimes leg cramps can show up due to good, old-fashioned fatigue. When you’re tired you may not pay as much attention to your diet or you may not have effectively cooled down from exercise. That can make your muscles contract and lead to painful muscle cramps. The lesson to be learned here is to take care of your muscles correctly when you’ve been working out, especially if you’ve gone through a particularly intense session.

Leg cramps happen, but you can work on the causes to reduce or eliminate them. The main thing to remember is if you can determine what is causing them, then you can find a solution! 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fort Worth, Tex.

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