Muscles, from the Latin word musculus meaning 'the little mouse', are a type of connective tissues which help in the contractile function of force and motion. They aid locomotion and movement of internal organs. There are 3 types of muscles - skeletal muscles which are anchored with the help of tendons to bones and help in maintaining postures and walking.
The second type of muscles are cardiac muscles which are found in walls of the heart and are involuntary in nature. The last type of muscles, which are also involuntary in nature, are the smooth muscles which are situated within the walls of the organs and blood vessels. When there is a tightness or pain experienced in the muscles, it may be muscle spasms.
Leg muscle spasms occur when there is a muscle cramp, especially in the calves or when a muscle contracts too hard. These spasms can also occur in the small muscles, present in the feet and last for a couple of seconds. But sometimes, they can even last for as long as ten minutes and cause pain and discomfort in the legs.
These spasms, usually accompanied by pain varying in intensity from mild to severe, can be very uncomfortable and annoying as they can restrict the movements of the legs. Read on to know more about the causes of muscle spasms, in either or both the legs, and the various methods to treat these involuntary and painful contractions of the muscles.
Causes of Muscle Spasms in the Leg
There can be several reasons why an individual may experience muscle cramps. Given here are some of the common triggers of muscle twitches in the legs:
- Poor circulation of blood to the legs can be a primary cause for cramps and spasms in the leg muscle.
- Chronic muscle spasms in legs can also occur if there are some neurological disorders like weak muscles.
- High levels or deficiency of sodium, potassium and electrolytes in the body which can cause the imbalance of salts in the blood can lead to muscle spasms.
- Overexertion or overuse of the muscles of the legs can also cause involuntary muscle spasms and twitches.
- Muscle injury or a tear in the calf muscle, due to extreme sports, is also another cause for muscle spasms in legs.
- Intake of certain medications like penicillamine, diuretics and nicotinic acids can produce side effects like muscle spasms.
- Excessive intake of alcohol and nicotine is another reason a person experiences muscle spasms in the legs.
- Leg muscle cramps can also be symptoms of certain diseases like lead poisoning, cirrhosis of the liver and sarcoidosis. Patients with renal disorders undergoing frequent dialysis also show the occurrence of muscle twitches.
Leg Muscle Spasms Treatment
Though there is no need to panic if you experience muscle spasms once in a while, you must take necessary precautions to stop its frequent occurrence.
- Stretch your leg on a pillow in a comfortable position and apply cold or warm compresses to the affected area till the twitches die down.
- Drink a cup of chamomile tea, since it contains glycine, a component effective for treating muscle pain caused due to spasms.
- Immerse your leg in warm water containing black or brown mustard seeds to get relief from the pain. Massaging your legs with warm olive oil or mustard oil also provides instant relief from muscle pain.
- While you exercise, keep your body hydrated and take small breaks to avoid the strain on the muscles.
- Avoid the excessive intake of vinegar and tomatoes, whenever you can, as they are also known to cause muscle spasms or cramps in the legs.
So the next time you experience leg muscle spasms, take certain precautionary measures and adhere to some home remedies to get rid of leg pain muscle spasms. If you still don't find relief, you must consult your doctor promptly.