Overuse, dehydration, strain, or even just holding a position for too long can cause leg cramps. However, the root cause is frequently unknown. Many different medical conditions can cause leg cramps and pain. Leg pain typically results from a musculoskeletal injury or illness, such as tendonitis, arthritis, or a fracture.
Most leg cramps are harmless, but some cramps might be caused by an underlying medical condition like inadequate blood flow. Even though you could experience leg cramps for many reasons, persistent cramping may be a sign of vein disease.
With two offices in St. Louis, Missouri, Eric Mai, MD, at STL Vein & Cosmetics specializes in identifying and managing vein disease. In this post, our team answers your questions about leg cramping, vein disease, and the possible connection between the two.
Why are my legs cramping?
A leg cramp is a painful ache or muscle spasm. They usually happen occasionally and spontaneously, but some people get them frequently. Leg cramps are common during and after exercise, but if they don't go away, they could indicate something more dangerous, such as chronic venous insufficiency.
Many different medical conditions can cause leg pain and cramping. Leg pain typically results from a musculoskeletal injury or condition, such as tendonitis, arthritis, or a fracture. But, leg cramps can also result from vein disease.
What is vein disease?
Damage to your vein's walls or valves causes vein disease. A healthy circulatory system pushes blood back through your veins to your heart and lungs to oxygenate the body. When your valves open and close to allow blood to flow forward, they also stop your blood from flowing backward.
The valves in your veins may not be able to close when they are damaged, causing blood to pool and flow backward. Pooled blood also stretches the veins and prevents normal circulation, leading to leg cramps.
How is vein disease treated?
We provide a variety of cutting-edge non-surgical treatments to lessen or relieve leg cramps, depending on the intensity of your symptoms and the underlying cause of your leg pain, including:
- Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy with Varithena™
- Laser therapy
- Radiofrequency venous ablation
- Endovenous laser ablation
- Visual sclerotherapy
To improve circulation in your legs and ease discomfort, Dr. Mai and our team may advise making lifestyle changes like regular exercise, wearing compression stockings, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.
Is vein disease causing my leg cramps?
During your exam, Dr. Mai asks you specific questions about your symptoms, medical history, and family history. Then, the doctor closely inspects the blood circulation in your legs during the physical examination.
Diagnoses and treatments for vein disorders are Dr. Mai's areas of expertise at STL Vein & Cosmetics. If you think a vein-related issue is causing your leg cramps, Dr. Mai conducts a thorough evaluation to confirm or rule out a vein-related diagnosis.
We may recommend a vascular ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis of vein disease. With this non-invasive test, Dr. Mai looks for any problems with circulation.
When should I see a doctor about leg cramps?
Your leg cramps are likely harmless. They may be telling you that you need to drink more water or rest between exercises. But if persistent leg cramps stop you from performing routine tasks, call Dr. Mai and the STL Vein & Cosmetics specialists by phone or request an appointment online at your preferred location.