Leg cramps are common, usually harmless and only last a short time. They can happen at any time, but most people have them at night or when resting.
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.
Stretching and massaging the muscle may ease the pain during a cramp, although most cramps go away without you doing anything.
Regular calf-stretching exercises may help to reduce cramps but may not completely stop them from happening.
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:
Quinine is not suitable for everyone. The GP will discuss potential risks and side effects with you.
Leg cramps can sometimes be caused by:
The reason for some cramps is unknown.