What Causes Leg Cramps?

ATM bananas - blog postRecently, one of our clients asked the question “What causes my leg cramps at night?”

There are several possibilities; the most likely cause is dehydration (especially in hot weather), followed by potassium deficiency, and finally, prescription drugs.

So, what can you do?

To eliminate the cramping at the time of occurrence, massage your calves, and then stretch them by lifting your toes (avoid pointing them) while in a standing position. Lean forward over your toes, and then walk around until the cramps subside.

Monitor your water intake and drink at least half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of water per day.

Add at least two or more healthy servings of potassium-rich foods per day. Ideally, choosing one protein source and two or more servings of fruits and vegetables everyday should successfully reduce leg cramps.

If drinking more water and increasing your potassium doesn’t eliminate your leg cramps, review any medications you are taking. Be sure to read the side effects of all prescription drugs; there are some that have been known to cause nocturnal leg cramping.

Following is a list of potassium-rich foods:

Fruits: bananas, grapefruit, oranges, nectarines, apricots, tomatoes, dates, grapes, raisins, and their juices

Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, beans, potatoes, and corn

Proteins: saltwater fish, pork and lamb

Therapeutic massage in combination with the above regimen is also likely to enhance the elimination of nocturnal cramps. Additionally, stretching your calves along with daily exercise can rid the body of excess lactic acid produced by cramping of the muscle tissue.