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Leg cramps

Leg cramps are sudden pains in your legs caused by your leg muscles becoming tight.

The main symptom of leg cramps is sudden, severe pain in your leg that lasts for a few seconds or minutes.

Stretching and massaging your leg muscles can help with leg cramps. If this does not work, a GP may suggest other treatments, such as quinine tablets.

Cramps can sometimes be caused by ageing, doing lots of exercise, dehydration and pregnancy.

Read more on the NHS website.

The main symptom of leg cramps is sudden, severe pain in your leg that lasts for a few seconds or minutes.

Check if it's leg cramps

Leg cramps happen when a muscle suddenly shortens and becomes tight (spasms).

They can be very painful and make it hard for you to move. The cramps can last from a few seconds to 10 minutes.

They can affect the:

After the cramp has stopped, the muscle might feel tender for up to 24 hours.

Read more on the NHS website.

Stretching and massaging your leg muscles can help with leg cramps. If this does not work, a GP may suggest other treatments, such as quinine tablets.

Self-care

During a cramp

Most cramps go away without you doing anything, but stretching and massaging the muscle can help to ease the pain.

Paracetamol or ibuprofen will not help when cramp is happening as they take too long to work. They can help to ease muscle tenderness afterwards.

Preventing cramps

Regular calf-stretching exercises might not completely prevent cramps, but may help to reduce them.

Medical treatments

Your GP will examine you to try to find out the reason for your cramps.

They'll suggest a treatment depending on the cause.

This might be:

  • stretching exercises
  • quinine tablets if your cramps are very bad and exercise has not helped

Quinine is not suitable for everyone. Your GP will discuss potential risks and side effects with you.

Read more on the NHS website.

Cramps can sometimes be caused by ageing, doing lots of exercise, dehydration and pregnancy.

Read more on the NHS website.