In addition to age, there are a number of risk factors that often are associated with muscle cramping. These include medications, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, certain diseases, and exercise.
Causes of leg cramps in elderly
AETIOLOGY. Although nocturnal cramps are idiopathic in most people, a large number of potential aetiological factors have been reported. Medications that have been reported to cause leg cramps include diuretics, nifedepine, β-agonists, steroids, morphine, cimetidine, penicillamine, statins, and lithium.
If you have a cramp , these actions may provide relief: Stretch and massage. Stretch the cramped muscle and gently rub it to help it relax. For a calf cramp , put your weight on your cramped leg and bend your knee slightly. Apply heat or cold. Use a warm towel or heating pad on tense or tight muscles.
Vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle aches , weakness, and bone pain in people of all ages. Muscle spasms (tetany) may be the first sign of rickets in infants. They are caused by a low calcium level in the blood in people with severe vitamin D deficiency .
Possible causes for leg cramps at night (nocturnal leg cramps ) include: Sitting for long periods of time. Overusing the muscles. Standing or working on concrete floors.
Mineral depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps . Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — also can deplete these minerals.
You can try the following at home to try to relieve a cramp : Massage your leg . Rubbing the affected muscle may help it relax. Stretch. If the cramp is in your calf , straighten your leg . Walk on your heels. Apply heat. Drink pickle juice. Take an over-the-counter painkiller if your leg is sore after.
A significant body of research has found that increasing your magnesium intake can help with the frequency of night time leg cramps, especially for pregnant women. Health experts recommend getting at least 300 milligrams of magnesium each day.
Among their tips: Sleeping with a bar of soap under a fitted sheet. As unusual as it sounds, it may be effective, says neurologist and sleep expert Jessica Vensel-Rundo, MD. This is because some soap contains magnesium, which has muscle relaxant properties and may ease restless legs symptoms.
Drink plenty of fluids. Sports drinks , such as Gatorade, will often help leg cramps .
Vinegar is seemingly able to outwit this reflex. Scientists suspect that the sour taste of the pickled cucumber water causes the receptors in the mouth to send a neural signal to the brain. The muscles are then controlled differently and as a result, cramps quickly disappear again or do not even occur.
Twitches, tremors and muscle cramps are signs of magnesium deficiency . In worst case scenarios, deficiency may even cause seizures or convulsions ( 5 , 6 ). Scientists believe these symptoms are caused by a greater flow of calcium into nerve cells, which overexcites or hyperstimulates the muscle nerves ( 7 ).
Some research shows that replacing certain nutrients, including potassium , sodium, and magnesium , may help counteract muscle cramps. Plus, deficiencies in nutrients like magnesium , vitamin D , and certain B vitamins may increase the chances of muscle cramps ( 3 , 4 , 5 ).
Bananas : A Time-Tested Treatment You probably know that bananas are a good source of potassium. But they’ll also give you magnesium and calcium. That’s three out of four nutrients you need to ease muscle cramps tucked under that yellow peel. No wonder bananas are a popular, quick choice for cramp relief.
When imbalances happen, through either high or low blood sugar , cramps can occur. During low glucose levels, this results in muscles becoming starved for glucose . However, when blood sugar levels are high, excess glucose is excreted along with water and other salts which results in a reduced amount of electrolytes.
Can a leg cramp be a sign of heart problems and/or a stroke? The answer is yes. Poor circulation in the legs ‘ arteries can be a sign of poor circulation in heart arteries.