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What can cause debilitating leg cramps?

I've been experiencing debilitating leg cramps lately and I have no idea what is causing them. I am a 38 year old man and I get these cramps when I'm walking and it's gotten to the point where I'll need to sit down and take rest breaks. What could be the problem?
I am sorry to hear that you are having such bad leg cramps, and would like to suggest that you see a doctor. While many things could be the cause of these cramps, most of them are somewhat obvious and almost all are self-limited. The fact that you don't mention these in your question makes me think that seeing a doctor sooner rather than later would be wise. Obvious causes of leg cramps would include a new exercise program that has you working much harder than you usually do. Also, an inadequate diet, one that is poor in essential vitamins, minerals, or nutrients would possibly contribute to this complaint. As a 38 year-old, however, even this would have to be quite severe for your problem to persist for some time and to be "debilitating." In the absence of these obvious factors (or some other part of your medical history), there may be some other cause. Lack of adequate blood flow, fuel, or oxygen to the muscles is usually at the heart of muscle cramps, with the other possibility of poor fuel utilization. If you are having continued cramps, please speak with your doctor to see if there is a cause that can or should be corrected or treated.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

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