How to Prevent Leg Cramps

Leg cramps are contractions of the muscles that usually happen when you are resting or sleeping. They often occur in the calf, but some people experience them in the thigh or foot as well. Although harmless, they are intensely painful. Follow these tips for preventing the occurrence of these muscle spasms.

Sometimes leg cramps occur because of dehydration. Drink plenty of water and other liquids throughout the day to prevent the lack of water in your body. Since caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration, you may want to stick with decaffeinated liquids and limit alcoholic drinks. Not only will you avoid cramping pain, you will also enjoy overall health benefits of body hydration.

Leg cramps can be caused by muscle overexertion as well as muscle fatigue. Choose to wear shoes that give good support to your legs and feet. Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Stretch your legs frequently throughout the day and also just before going to bed. Since it is helpful to move your legs and feet during the night, be sure the sheets and blankets in the bed are loose and untucked.

If you have rare leg cramps in spite of your efforts to prevent them, gently massage the contracted muscle with your hands. It is also helpful to slowly flex your feet or legs in order to relax the muscles. Some people find an ice pack applied to the cramp is helpful, while others claim that a heating pad brings faster relief.

Occasionally, leg cramps or charley horses can be caused by a health problem or be a side effect of medication. Therefore, if they are severe or occur regularly, you need to make an appointment to discuss the issue with your doctor.

You can prevent most occasional leg cramps by taking simple steps. Drink plenty of water and avoid the overexertion and fatigue of leg muscles. You may never again have a comfortable night's sleep interrupted by intense cramping.