Deficiencies of vitamins B-1, B-5 and B-6 can cause muscle cramps. Vitamin B-1 is thiamine, B-5 is pantothenic acid, and B-6 is pyridoxine. Deficiencies in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium can also cause leg cramps. They are frequently depleted diuretic drugs, according to MedicineNet.
A muscle cramp is an involuntary, sustained contraction of a muscle, or group of muscles. Cramps can last from seconds to minutes, and they can sometimes be very painful. Besides vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle cramps can be caused by muscle injury. They can also occur during and after strenuous exercise, especially after long periods of rest and inactivity, explains MedicineNet.com.
In most cases, muscle cramps can be stopped by stretching or massaging the muscle. In other cases, a physician can help find the underlying condition causing the cramps and prescribe medication that can relieve the symptoms. People experiencing cramps after an injury may require the use of muscle relaxants. Others can benefit from botulinum toxin injections, which paralyze muscles at the injection site for months, states MedicineNet.com.
Muscle cramps can sometimes be prevented by stretching before engaging in physical activity. Adequate hydration and electrolyte replacement is also important because potassium is lost in sweat, according to MedicineNet.