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Leg cramps

Leg cramps happen when the muscle in your leg shortens and causes a sharp pain, which usually goes away in a few seconds or minutes.

The main symptom of leg cramps is a sudden pain in a leg muscle that lasts a short time before going away.

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.

Leg 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 a sudden pain in a leg muscle that lasts a short time before going away.

Check if it's leg cramps

Leg cramps happen when a muscle in the leg shortens and causes a sudden pain that can make it hard 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 sore 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

Stretching and massaging the muscle may ease the pain during a cramp, although most cramps go away without you doing anything.

Paracetamol or ibuprofen can help to ease muscle soreness after a cramp, but they will not help when it's happening as they take too long to work.

Preventing cramps

Regular calf-stretching exercises may help to reduce cramps but may not completely stop them from happening.

Medical treatments

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

They will suggest a treatment depending on the cause.

This might be:

  • stretching exercises
  • quinine tablets if exercise has not helped

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

Read more on the NHS website.

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

Read more on the NHS website.