Spasms of the knee muscle can be painful and uncontrollable, and have a number of sources related to muscle health and general well-being. Like all muscle spasms, they can be attached to muscle injury, improper nutrition, various conditions of the nerves, and increase in severity with both age and local strain on the muscle. Involuntary contractions of the muscles in the knee, sometimes called a “charley horse”, occur generally in the muscles known as the calf, the hamstring, and the quadriceps.
Generally, knee cramps occur and pass within one minute, but in some cases, the contractions will not cease for several minutes. These cramps or spasms are symptomized by uncontrollable, involuntary contractions of the leg muscles. These painful convulsions can be temporarily debilitating when they are unexpected. In some cases, individuals experience spasms mainly while asleep, and the pain caused by the involuntary cramps can wake the patient and interfere with sleep habits.
Knee cramps are caused by muscle fatigue, which can be itself caused by heavy exercising or prolonged muscle operation, and risk factors include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, certain medications, and having a high body weight, though not necessarily obesity.
If you are experiencing cramps while training or exercising, you can prevent future cramps through regular stretching of the affected muscles, entering your training gradually, so as to minimize the stress on your body, and keeping well hydrated. Knee spasms also affect those who are not necessarily performing heavy exercise, but also in older patients, generally 65 and older. In that case, it is still a good idea to drink healthy amounts of water, and stretch on a regular basis. A lack of electrolytes can be remedied by the consumption of potassium rich foods, such as raisins, orange juice, sweet potatoes, and bananas.
Knee cramps can sometimes be mistaken for leg cramps. Because of the connection between nightly leg cramps and diabetes, it’s important to distinguish between cramping of the leg muscles, and cramping of the knee muscles. Treating the knee spasms depends on the type of spasms that has occurred. If an acute injury, such as one caused by exercise or heavy lifting has been caused, it is a good idea to use ice on the jury, to avoid swelling. If you have a chronic condition that inflames after exercise, ice can be used as well to reduce that inflammation. Heat treatment of knee spasms is useful for loosening muscle tissue and stimulating blood flow, which is useful when preparing to exercise with a chronic condition.