Leg cramps are involuntary, painful, prolonged, widespread spasms that can develop in all skeletal muscles that develop at night. Cramps are seen in approximately 40-60% of the adult population and 7% of children due to various reasons.
Each attack takes an average of 8-10 minutes. The diagnosis becomes difficult due to the wide variety of factors in the etiology. Cramps that develop in the night legs are also one of the most important symptoms of venous insufficiency. In studies, the development of cramps at night is the second most common symptom of venous insufficiency after leg pain, and is seen in approximately 75% of patients with varicose veins. These patients develop an average of three attacks per week. In 6% of patients, cramps develop every night. Pain and cramp symptoms are often accompanied by edema in the legs in patients with venous insufficiency.
Healthy veins have lost oxygen from the tissues and carry carbon dioxide and dirty blood, which is now high in metabolic products, to the heart. Subsequently, it is ensured that it is re-oxygenated and the removal of residual metabolic products.
Problems in chronic venous insufficiency are mainly; It develops due to obstruction of the vein or the one-way functioning valves in which the blood flows back. In these patients, blood circulation is disturbed, stagnant and blood in the leg is lake. Depending on this, varicose veins, edema, ankle darkening and stiffness occur in the ankle. Cramps also develop due to the accumulation of toxic metabolic products in the leg muscles.
To reduce venous insufficiency; It has been observed that all kinds of interventions such as resting the legs by resting, regular walks and using compression socks reduce the frequency of cramps. According to my own experience, I applied laser therapy to the patient with more than 1500 venous insufficiency. Other causes were investigated in patients who continued cramping despite venous insufficiency treatment.
Night cramps have many causes other than venous insufficiency. Therefore, other reasons should also be considered. If cramps occur with exercise, it is considered to be a more serious condition. Arterial diseases are the most important cause of cramps caused by training or walking. Insufficient oxygen delivery to the muscles due to stenosis in the arteries leads to the development of cramps.
Other causes of cramping; muscle injury, neuropathy, parkinsonism, thyroid disease, pregnancy, calcium, magnesium, lack of electrolytes such as potassium, high phosphate, anemia, fluid loss, cirrhosis, lumbal canal stenosis, and alcohol consumption. In addition to diseases, estrogen, naproxen, intravenous iron treatment, diuretic (diuretic) use can cause cramping.
In patients who apply for cramps;
In conclusion, if there are varicose veins, edema, and pain in people with night cramps, they should definitely be evaluated in terms of venous insufficiency, and in patients with arterial disease.