Nocturnal leg cramps can happen to anyone, regardless of age or gender, but people over 50 are more susceptible to this painful condition.
Nocturnal leg cramp is a term used to describe the pain that occurs usually at night in the calf or the feet when our leg muscles are still not completely relaxed. This pain can last from several seconds to several minutes until it disappears. However, very often it doesn’t completely disappear and you can still feel a bit painful during the whole night.
Nocturnal leg cramps are often confused with restless leg syndrome even though these two phenomenon are similar and often misdiagnosed, they are two different ailments.
The key differences are:
- Restless Leg Syndrome: You can relieve the pain by moving your leg.
- Nocturnal Leg Cramps: Moving your leg will cause even more pain, so the only recommended solution is to stretch the leg.
- Nocturnal Leg Cramps cause actual cramps and sometimes an unbearable pain.
- Restless Leg Syndrome: You experience a feeling of crawling and soreness in your leg.
Reasons for Leg Cramps at Night
Although we still cannot pinpoint the actual reasons for the occurrence of leg cramps, we can most certainly point our finger to the potential causes and risk factors which lead to this condition:
- Inadequate sitting
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Standing for long periods of time, or working on concrete floors
- Over exhaustion of muscles
The nocturnal leg cramps can also be a result of certain medical conditions: