Diabetes-Related Leg Cramps: How to Prevent and Treat
Being suddenly woken up by a painful knot in your calf—or frozen toes—isn't fun. Here's what diabetes has to do with it and what you do to stop the pain.
Perhaps you’ve been there—in the middle of a perfectly restful night of sleep you are abruptly woken up by an intense pain from a cramping muscle, typically in your foot or calf.
Although the exact cause of muscle cramps is still up for debate, they are frequently linked to poor flexibility and muscle fatigue. A smaller body of research also suggests that diabetes can increase your risk of experiencing leg cramps, potentially due to swings in blood sugar levels, certain medications, and long-term complications such as diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage).1,2 With or without diabetes, these cramps are characterized by the sudden, involuntary, and painful tightening (contraction) of a muscle. They occur most frequently in the evenings in the following muscle groups:
Calf muscles (back of the lower leg)
Hamstrings (back of the thigh)
Quadriceps (front of the thigh)
Cramps can also occur in the hands, feet, arms, neck, and abdomen
What causes these painful cramps and how can I prevent them?
“Although the exact cause of muscle cramps remains unknown, they are not inevitable,” says Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDE. While cramps may seemingly come on without warning, knowing the factors and situations that can cause muscle cramps can help you understand them, prevent them, and treat them. Here, some reasons for cramps and what you can do to avoid them:
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Glucose is required for mu Continue reading