Anyone who has experienced leg cramps knows how excruciating and annoying they can be. The worst part is they can happen at the worst possible moments like when you’re lying in bed at night or out for a jog. Muscle cramps are painful contractions (or tightening) of a muscle that can, unfortunately, come on suddenly. They can last anywhere from a couple of seconds to a few minutes.
Have you ever wondered why they happen? It turns out there are quite a few different causes, from dehydration and fatigue to varying diseases. Follow along as we explore what causes leg cramps and how to treat them!
A common cause of leg cramps is dehydration. “Athletes and avid exercisers deal with cramps all the time,” says Mark D. Peterson, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Medical School, “especially during the summer months, in the heat without enough liquid.”
Muscle cells require enough water as well as essential minerals to allow the proteins within them to establish a proper contraction. With that in mind, make sure you drink plenty of liquids every day and especially when you’re working out. Fluids will help your muscles relax and contract.