Muscle Cramps Overview
Muscle cramps are a common symptom where a muscle painfully contracts for an extended period, which is a type of muscle spasm. A simple episode of a muscle cramp can occur if any muscle is over-used. For example, leg muscle cramps may result from exercise, and wrist or hand muscle cramps may result from writing with a pencil (an uncommon occurrence in today’s screen-dominated world, perhaps). Such muscle cramps will usually cause muscle pain and muscle contracture, but are short-lived.
Although many cases of muscle cramp are harmless, it is possible that muscle cramps belie a hidden more serious diagnosis. For example, undiagnosed diabetes, and the potentially fatal diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) may result in muscle cramps (including muscle cramps at night).
Muscle cramps must be differentiated from various other causes of muscle pain, metabolic disorders (e.g. electrolyte imbalance), and other movement disorders causing muscle spasms (e.g. seizures, convulsions, spasticity, hypertonicity, grip disorders, etc.). Any concerns about muscle cramps or muscle spasms should be promptly diagnosed by a qualified doctor.
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- Diabetes: Diabetes is a metabolic disease where the body loses the ability to properly process sugars (glucose). The full medical name
... More on Diabetes »
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Diabetic ketoacidosis (also called DKA) is an extremely dangerous complication of undiagnosed or poorly-controlled diabetes. Diabetes causes a build
... More on Diabetic Ketoacidosis »
- Metabolic Disorders: Metabolic disorder are disorders or diseases due to an abnormal metabolism. For example, diabetes is a metabolic disorder with an
... More on Metabolic Disorders »
- Dehydration: Dehydration is a lack of adequate fluid in the body. Dehydration is a dangerous complication of various infections, and can
... More on Dehydration »
- Repetitive Strain Injury: Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is any injury caused by repetitive movements, often work-related. A well-known example is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
... More on Repetitive Strain Injury »
Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.