Leg muscle spasms, which can be painful, occur when muscles in the leg involuntary contract. Many people who have experienced these cramps would likely prefer to prevent them from occurring again in the future. While it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk, it is possible to reduce the frequency at which they occur. Leg muscle spasms can be prevented through regular stretching, proper hydration and nutrition, muscle conditioning, and avoiding activities that increase the chances of muscle spasms.
Leg muscle spasms occur most often in the calf muscle, the quadriceps, and the hamstring. They are usually caused by strenuous physical activity, such as running, playing sports, or lifting weights. When a muscle spasm occurs, the muscle contracts involuntarily, which makes it difficult to move the muscle. It also can cause a great deal of pain.
One of the easiest ways to prevent leg muscle spasms is to follow a regular stretching routine. Regular stretching lengthens the muscles being stretched, which effectively reduces the chances of having a muscle spasm. Muscle spasms can be triggered by muscles being stretched beyond their usual limits, so lengthening the muscles makes it less likely for leg muscle spasms to occur.
Proper hydration and nutrition is also effective in the prevention of leg muscle spasms. Muscle spasms can be caused by dehydration, so it is important to hydrate properly when exercising to prevent muscle spasms. It can also be caused by low electrolyte levels. This is usually caused by sweating during exercise and can be prevented by drinking sports drinks that contain electrolytes. Magnesium and calcium supplements have also been shown to reduce the frequency of muscle spasms.
Muscle conditioning is also important in the prevention of muscle spasms. Leg muscle spasms usually occur when someone is doing an activity that he has not been conditioned to do. This is why someone who runs regularly will rarely have muscle spasms, whereas someone who rarely runs will be much more likely to cramp up. To prevent muscle spasms from occurring during a certain activity, it is recommended that you continue carefully with the activity until you no longer have muscle spasms.
The easiest way to avoid muscle spasms is to simply avoid activities that cause the spasms. For example, if running causes muscle spasms, you could instead bike or use an elliptical trainer. While this is not an option for athletes, it is the easiest solution for many people.