These 5 Factors May Cause Leg Cramps

Runner at the beach massaging his thigh to get rid of a leg cramp.

Leg cramps are very common and they are have a variety of causes. (Image: Martinmark via Dreamstime)

Leg cramps are very common and they have a variety of causes. Paying attention to where the cramp is — the calf or the thigh — can give you some clues as to the cause.

5 of the most common causes of leg cramps

1. Excessive activity during the day

Excessive activity or overwork during the day can lead to muscle and soft tissue fatigue in the legs, which can lead to cramping. Bed rest and elevating the legs can help to prevent further aggravation. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine also offer effective remedies for this condition. 

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2. Calcium deficiency

Pregnancy and growth spurts in young people can cause calcium deficiency, which is a cause of leg cramps. If the calcium deficiency is serious, it can lead to other complications, especially during pregnancy. Lack of this vital mineral can affect the development of the fetus. Taking calcium supplements can help to alleviate cramps and also ensure a healthy baby for those who are pregnant. 

Taking calcium supplements can help to alleviate leg cramps and also ensure a healthy baby for those who are pregnant.
Taking calcium supplements can help to alleviate leg cramps and also ensure a healthy baby for those who are pregnant. (Image: Bangkok Click Studio via Dreamstime)

3. Tetanus  

Tetanus bacteria can contaminate wounds and lead to serious complications, including acute infection or blood poisoning. It can also cause abnormal muscle functioning, leading to severe cramping. 

4. Wearing high heels

If high heels are worn for too long, this can cause leg fatigue, resulting in the likelihood of cramps at night. Taking a break and wearing flat shoes or lower heels every now and then will provide relief to your hard-working calf muscles. 

Young woman putting on a pair of red high heel shoes.
If high heels are worn for too long, this can cause leg fatigue, resulting in the likelihood of cramps at night. (Image: Chernetskaya via Dreamstime)

5. Cold legs

Cold legs can also be caused by a calcium deficiency. Eating calcium-rich foods or taking a supplement can help prevent cramps in this situation. Keeping your legs warm in winter, resting after hard work or exercise, and keeping the blood flowing are all effective preventative treatments for leg cramps during cold weather.

If your legs are cramping due to being cold, you can find relief by applying a warm or hot compress. The cramps will be relieved as the muscles warm up.

 Translated by Patty Zhang

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