What Are Some Causes of Muscle Cramps in the Calf?

Jeannot Olivet/E+/Getty Images

Some causes of calf muscle cramps are circulatory problems, a deficiency in certain minerals, overheating the body, dehydration, medications, compressed or pinched nerves and muscle strain. A medical condition, such as peripheral arterial disease, can cause blood circulation problems in the legs due to a buildup of plaque in arteries. A symptom of peripheral arterial disease is claudication, which is pain and cramping in the lower leg area, states MedicineNet.

A compressed or pinched nerve in the spine area can cause leg cramps and pain. The pain can be worse when a person walks, notes Mayo Clinic. Similarly, dehydration or strenuous exercises that cause the body to overheat can also lead to calf muscle cramps. This occurs because the body loses important minerals or electrolytes, such as potassium and magnesium, through overexertion. A diet that is lacking in these minerals can also lead to this symptom, according to WebMD.

Leg or calf muscle cramps, which occur when there is a muscle spasm, can also be a side effect of taking different medications, including diuretics, albuterol and donepezil. Another common cause of cramps is muscle strain due to overexercising.

Although these are some main causes of calf cramps, it is possible that calf cramps may have no identifiable cause. For this reason and because calf cramps may be a symptom of an underlying condition, it is advisable to see a doctor if calf or leg cramps occur frequently.