Leg spasms: What are the usual causes?

The leg spasms are involuntary muscular contractions that fail to release. The cramping affects the skeletal muscles but can arise in the quadriceps, hamstring and calf. The leg cramps can vary from minor to moderate discomfort and can last for a few seconds up to 10 minutes or longer. The cramping typically settles without medical care. Nevertheless, if it is extensive, it requires medical care to figure out the root cause.

What are the usual causes?

  • Nerve compression – if the nerves are crushed, it can lead to leg spasms. If the spinal nerve is compressed, it can result to a condition that involve the spinal column such as herniated disc or osteoarthritis. The leg spasms worsen when sitting for prolonged periods of time or engaging in rigorous physical activities.
    leg spasms

    Depending on the root cause, most cases of leg spasms settle on their own while others might require further assessment by the doctor.

  • Electrolyte imbalance – the leg spasms might be due to an imbalance in the electrolytes. During physical activity, the levels of calcium, potassium and magnesium are depleted. The leg spasms can be prevented by eating balanced meals to sufficiently restore the nutrient levels and prevent the spasms.
  • Poor conditioning – if the muscles are poorly conditioned, it can contribute to the leg spasms. In case the muscles are in poor shape and weak, it can lead to leg spasms. Muscles that are poorly conditioned do not have enough muscle and nerve communication that can disrupt with the normal nerve reflex functions, thus leading to leg spasms. Those who suffer from frequent leg spasms must engage in regular physical activity to lessen the likelihood of the spasms as well as strengthen the muscles in the leg area.

Depending on the root cause, most cases of leg spasms settle on their own while others might require further assessment by the doctor.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on leg spasms is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how to properly manage leg spasms, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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