Causes of foot and leg cramps include muscle fatigue or injury, pregnancy, dehydration, vitamin deficiencies and cold temperatures, says WebMD. Occasionally, cramps are the result of inadequate blood flow, thyroid or kidney diseases, or interactions with certain medications.
Leg cramps are sudden muscle contractions, typically in the lower part of the leg, states About.com. Most leg cramps affect muscles that pass two joints, such as the calf muscle that crosses the knee and ankle joints. The majority of leg cramps are short-lived, lasting one minute or less, and often occur at night.
Leg cramps are often the result of muscle fatigue, says WebMD. Causes of muscle fatigue can be overworking the muscle or standing on hard, unyielding surfaces for long periods of time. Dehydration is another common cause of leg cramps, as is remaining immobile for too long. Certain diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and Parkinson's disease exacerbate leg cramps, as do alcoholism, low blood sugar and deficiencies of calcium, potassium or magnesium.
Getting appropriate amounts of exercise and stretching muscles adequately before exercise and before bed helps reduce the chance of leg cramps, recommends WebMD. It is also helpful to stay hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks with electrolytes. Bananas, because of their potassium content, are a good food for preventing leg cramps.