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Muscle Cramps (cont.)


What Are Risk Factors for Developing Muscle Cramps?

Risk factors for developing muscle cramps include certain medications (such as those listed in the section above), exercise, dehydration, and low blood levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B1, B5, or B6.

What Are Muscle Cramp Symptoms and Signs?

Muscle cramps cause the following:

  • Local pain
  • Tenderness
  • Firmness of the involved muscle

This disturbs the function of the involved extremity. When a hand muscle is affected, it can lead to difficulty in writing (writer's cramp) or grasping. When the muscles of the calf or foot are affected, it can lead to difficulty walking.

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for Muscle Cramps?

Muscle cramps usually are a temporary nuisance and typically resolve on their own without treatment. When muscle cramps continually recur, it is time to seek an evaluation by a health-care professional.

What Specialists Treat Muscle Cramps?

While primary-care doctors most commonly treat muscle cramps, other specialist physicians who can be involved include orthopedists, rheumatologists, physiatrists, neurologists, and intensive-care physicians.

What Tests Do Health-Care Professionals Use to Diagnose Muscle Cramps?

The health-care professional will review your history to analyze the character, location, intensity, and frequency of your muscle cramps. Your medications will be reviewed to determine if they may be playing a role in causing your symptoms. The physical examination will include evaluation of muscle strength, dexterity, and nerve function. Blood tests for the muscle enzymes (CPK, aldolase, LDH, ALT, AST) can be helpful to determine if muscle injury is occurring. Other blood testing may include evaluation of the levels of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, as well as thyroid function. Occasionally, testing with a neurologist might include tests of nerve conduction velocity (NCV) and an electromyogram (EMG).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/26/2016

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Muscle Cramps In Calves - Causes

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Muscle Cramps - Effective Treatments

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