Q. and A. with Dr. Kiskila- This Month’s Topic: Muscle Cramps
Answer- A muscle cramp is a sudden muscle tightness that can typically last from seconds to many minutes and are most common in the calf, foot or thigh.
Question- What causes muscle cramps?
Answer- Many factors can lead to muscle cramps. They can be idiopathic (for unknown reasons), or secondary to medical conditions. Muscle cramps can be caused from structural reasons like leg positioning, flat feet, prolonged sitting, or inappropriate leg positioning. Some neurological disorders could cause muscle cramps. Metabolic disorders, fluid and electrolyte imbalances, diuretics, excessive sweating, pregnancy cramps due to low magnesium, diabetes, low blood sugar, hypothyroidism, and alcohol intake all can factor into causes of muscle cramps. Some medications may also contribute to cramps. Exercise-induced cramps, during or after exercise are the most common causes of muscle cramps.
Question- How can you stop a muscle cramp when it happens?
Answer- Stretching the muscle for 10-20 second intervals repeated three to five times with a few minute rest intervals may help relieve cramps. Calf muscles can be stretched by standing, and leaning forward while keeping the heel flat on the floor.
Question- How can you prevent muscle cramps?
Answer- Finding the underlying cause, staying well hydrated, and proper stretching exercises have all been found to help prevent cramps.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.