A leg spasm is a muscle cramp in your leg. A muscle cramp is when muscles involuntarily contract. Leg spasms are one of the most common muscle cramps. Cramps are more liable to happen at night, because the rest of your muscles are trying to relax. The muscle that contracts might have a hard time relaxing because of many different reasons. Three causes of leg spasms are injury, excessive activity, and dehydration or low-potassium levels. All of these reasons make cramping muscles more liable in older people.
Leg spasms can be caused by injury. After an injury, the body naturally tries to protect itself. Most injuries will cause blood cells to open and bleeding in the tissue. The body naturally forms a blood clot. Cells, known as fibroblasts, begin the healing process. Another way the body tries to protect itself is by contracting muscles around the injury. This is to stabilize the area and minimize the movement. This is the reason muscle cramps can be caused by injury.
Another cause of leg spasms is excessive activity. This is because the muscles have been contracting from the excessive activity and are not ready to rest. There are countless activities that will cause your leg to spasm. These include running, sports, work and many others. Running will most likely cause a leg spasm above the knee. Sports that involve jumping are more likely to cause spasms in the calf. Any activity that uses leg muscles in excess can cause leg spasms. Weaker muscles are more likely to cramp with less activity. This is why older people are more liable to cramp from excessive activity.
A third reason that a leg will spasm is dehydration or low-potassium levels. Dehydration is the loss of bodily fluids, usually through perspiration. This is more likely to occur in warmer weather. This causes a loss of electrolytes and sodium. This creates an imbalance in bodily fluids, and causes cramps. Potassium is an electrolyte that is extremely important to muscles. Potassium helps muscles contract smoothly. Low potassium is one of the most common reasons for leg spasms.
These are just some of the common reasons that legs spasm occur. The reason a particular leg spasm occurs is usually unknown. Not everyone can prevent leg spasms. To help prevent leg spasms, one should rest their leg after injuring it, stretch before and after excessive activity, and replenish their bodies’ fluids and electrolytes.