Importance of Leg Stretching Exercises in Preventing Cramps

Finals cramp

The role of leg stretching exercises plays an important role in reducing cramping in the lower extremity but there are other preventive measures.

 Leg cramp is defined as a involuntary contraction or spasm within muscles. The most common site of leg cramp is the calf muscle.

Everybody in some time of their life will experience a leg cramp  but it is most common over the age of sixty. One theory on the cause of a leg cramp in the calf at night is that the spasm takes hold in the shortened position.

While sleeping you usually sleep with knees bent so when the foot is pointed downward shortening occurs. If you are prone to calf cramps it is a good practice to perform leg stretching exercises prior to getting into bed. Here we are going to take a look at other causes and preventive measures for leg cramping.

Causes of Leg Cramping

leg cramp Lebron JamesThe more common causes of leg cramps are overexertion of the muscle while working out, exercising in the heat, leg fatigue, poor circulation and dehydration.

What is high on the list of causes, is not performing leg stretching exercises prior to participating in sports that require running or jumping. Leg cramping at night is directly related to lack of leg stretching before bedtime.

Secondary causes related to leg cramps are a deficiency of magnesium or potassium intake and calcium especially with pregnancy. It is also prevalent with spinal cord injuries and pinched nerves due to traumatized or inflamed nerve fibers.

When Leg Cramp Occurs

Some of the measures you can do with the sudden onset of leg cramps is to apply ice application, massage and start leg stretching exercises. Be aware that a leg cramp can last a few seconds or a few minutes however tenderness in the muscle can last for a day. Leg cramping most commonly is at night while you are asleep and may cause you to jump at of bed.

Prevention

wall stretchEating more foods high in potassium, magnesium and calcium. If you are not aware which foods are helpful you should speak with your doctor or a qualified nutritionist. Stayed well hydrated by drinking water and keep in mind to replace electrolytes with intense workouts.

Changing the way you sleep is also helpful. You should keep blankets loose at the end of the bed and keep a pillow under the feet to prop the feet up.This will cut down on shortening the calf muscle.

Most of all perform leg stretching exercises on a daily basis and perform them properly. Have a physical therapist demonstrate them for you. I recommend performing calf stretching exercises 3X per day for about five to 10 minutes in total.

 

Most doctors and physical therapists believe being consistent with leg stretching exercises should reduce the tendency and severity of leg cramps.