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What are some common reasons for leg and foot cramps?

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Quick Answer

Some common reasons for leg and foot cramps are sitting in the same position too long, overuse of muscles unaccustomed to exercise, and dehydration, states Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society writing on CNN. Sodium or potassium depletion caused by diuretics can also cause leg and foot cramps.

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What are some common reasons for leg and foot cramps?
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Full Answer

It is common to experience cramping of the legs and feet, particularly for people with sedentary lifestyles and under-use of muscles, explains Dr. Brawley. Another main reason for leg and feet cramping is dehydration. This causes electrolyte and metabolic disorders in the system.

Diuretic drugs can lead to cramping due to altered levels of sodium, potassium and magnesium, notes Dr. Otis Brawley. Peripheral vascular disease can lead to decreased oxygenation of leg muscles that mistakenly feel like leg cramps.

Leg and foot cramps are best prevented without drug treatments, notes Dr. Brawley. A daily stretching, exercise and muscle strengthening routine is useful in the prevention of cramps. While having a cramp, stretching the muscle group in pain helps alleviate the cramp.

Cramping is painful and generally lasts from five to 10 minutes before subsiding, explains Dr. Brawley. The pain can be severe enough to wake a person from a sound sleep.

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