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Calf cramps: causes, treatment and remedies

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

A cramp is the sudden onset of severe acute pain from the involuntary contraction of some striated (voluntary) muscle. Calf cramps are a common benign condition that can occur in people of any age, sex, and state. The forces involved are the gastrocnemius or calves, two muscles found on the back of the legs, one on each side, forming the calf.

It has been established that these cramps are more frequent in certain groups of people: pregnant women, patients undergoing hemodialysis, athletes, adolescents, and people with some neurological diseases. They occur more frequently at night, during sleep, waking us up suddenly, and, in some cases pulling the person out of bed.

In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain in detail what are the causes of calf cramps and their medical treatment and home remedies that can help alleviate the discomfort they cause.

Why do calf cramps: causes

Among the most common causes of calf cramps, we can find:


Some medications can cause electrolyte and mineral depletion in your body, leading to calf cramps. Among these, we can mention:

  • Diuretics: used in hypertensive patients and with some other cardiovascular pathologies. Calcium and potassium depletion invariably leads to muscle cramps.
  • Chemotherapies.
  • Antacids, Cimetidine type.
  • Beta 2 sympathomimetics, such as Salbutamol.

Cramps in pregnancy

Pregnancy is a physiological condition that can cause the deficiency of some electrolytes (potassium, calcium, magnesium, among others) and some B complex vitamins that can condition the appearance of nighttime leg cramps.


Lack of hydration is a prevalent cause of calf cramps in adolescents and children who have a high activity level and drink little water during the day.

Magnesium loss syndrome

It is caused mainly in the case of vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating in high-performance athletes, prolonged fasting, and prolonged alcohol abuse.


Venous insufficiency is a relatively common cause of calf cramps in the elderly, predominantly women. In the following article, you can learn about varicose veins’ causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Leg cramps: treatment

Treating leg cramps, whether in the calves or thighs, can encompass the following:

Pharmacological treatments

  • Muscle relaxants. The use of muscle relaxants type thiocolchicoside or similar would be indicated in case of frequent recurrences of cramps, while the cause is established and the appropriate treatment is indicated.
  • Analgesic-anti-inflammatory. They will be displayed given the persistence of pain or if pain persists after the cramp.
  • Quinine. It is a drug against malaria (malaria) that effectively prevents cramps in people with recurrent symptoms.

Non-pharmacological treatments

  • Massages The immediate indication at the cramp moment is placing the leg in unforced flexion and applying the massage from the knee to the foot.
  • Prevention of physical fatigue. Prevention is the ideal treatment. In the case of athletes, stretching and warming up before training or competition help prevent leg cramps during or after exertion.

Leg cramps: home remedies

Please take note of the home remedies for calf cramps that we show below; they can help you relieve discomfort and achieve faster muscle relaxation.


The quintessential drink is the best “remedy” for leg cramps. Most of the time, they occur under dehydration conditions, independent of other underlying causes. Giving the person the cramp water contributes to rapid muscle relaxation.

Ginger juice

The mechanism of action is unknown, but the consumption of ginger juice or infusion contributes to the prevention of calf cramps and faster relaxation of the muscles.


The local heat application contributes to muscle relaxation, improves circulation and venous return, and relieves pain.


The infusion of passionflower acts as a muscle relaxant, contributing to muscle repair due to its high content of phytosterols and flavonoids.


It contains high minerals and electrolytes that are ultimately responsible for muscle cramps. Its regular consumption prevents the occurrence of acute episodes.


Two cups a day of this infusion has a high anti-inflammatory effect and provides a discreet relaxing effect.


The infusion of horsetail provides potassium, magnesium, and silica, which are essential to avoid leg cramps and for muscle repair, also providing elasticity to compromised tissues.

In addition to these remedies, we recommend that you consult the article Natural muscle relaxants.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Calf cramps: causes, treatment and remedies , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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