ZocdocAnswersHow can I prevent muscle cramping?

Question

How can I prevent muscle cramping?

A lot of times when I wake up in the morning, if I stretch out or move quickly, I get a really bad cramp in my leg or feet or toes. What causes this and how can I prevent it from happening? Recently the residual pain will last for hours.

Answer

Most muscle cramps are benign and are not a major medical problem. In fact, the most common cause of muscle cramps is over exercising. I am not sure what your exercise regimen is like, but that is the first place I would look. Particularly if you notice that the cramps are occurring more in mornings after having exercised vigorously the day before, this is almost certainly what is going on. You can minimize exercise related cramping by making sure not to overtrain. It can also be helpful to engage in cross training, to make sure that different muscle groups are being exercised equally. Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated will also minimize cramping, as will gentle stretching after finishing your workout routine. Even if you are not vigorously exercising, it is likely that your morning cramps are still related to residual stiffness in the muscles from the previous day's activities. You may want to start your morning with some very light movement and stretching in order to help prevent the cramping. If these strategies don't work, then you should see your primary care doctor who will be able to make certain there is not something more serious going on.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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