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Heavy, Cramping Legs at Night — When to See a Doctor

Heavy, Cramping Legs at Night  — When to See a Doctor

Nighttime leg cramps can be painful annoyances, but they’re generally harmless. However, if your legs also feel unusually heavy, there could be other reasons behind your leg cramp experience, which could suggest a doctor’s visit is necessary. 

Heaviness in the legs could be a temporary reaction to overuse, but when the feeling becomes regular, it could be a sign of venous insufficiency. It’s time to visit Dr. Clement Banda and his MD Vein & Skin Specialists team. 

With a review of your symptoms and an examination, Dr. Banda can diagnose the problem, and if further medical care is necessary, he can develop and administer your treatment plan. 

What are night cramps? 

Leg cramps at night are a common condition. As many as 60% of adults may experience these from time to time when muscles in the feet, calves, or thighs contract suddenly and painfully. Often, there’s no known cause. 

Night cramps tend to develop or increase as you get older, or there may be conditions that boost your risk. Your sleep is often disturbed; sometimes, your leg can feel sore throughout the night and beyond. 

Reasons for leg cramps

Many people’s leg cramps are idiopathic, meaning that doctors don’t know why these cramps occur. They could be related to stress or abnormal nerve discharges. Certain risk factors may cause or combine to cause nighttime leg cramps, such as: 

A sedentary lifestyle can, in general, produce conditions that raise your risk of suffering from night cramps. 

Heavy legs

When your cramps occur when you also feel that your legs are stiff, tired, and heavy, the combination suggests compromised blood flow to your legs. If you have spider or varicose veins, venous insufficiency is visibly active. 

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occurs when the valves that prevent the backward flow of blood begin to fail, leading to the pooling of blood in the legs, the underlying cause of spider and varicose veins. The condition becomes medically serious when it affects deep veins in the legs. 

Arteries can also contribute to heavy legs and night cramps. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when cholesterol plaques line arterial walls, narrowing their internal diameter and blocking fresh blood flow. 

Visit MD Vein & Skin Specialists when night cramping and heaviness combine or with other symptoms, like swollen ankles or muscle wasting. Cramps become a problem on their own when they frequently cause sleep interruptions and daytime tiredness. 

We’ll diagnose the likely causes of your condition and develop an effective treatment plan to help you manage it. Book your appointment online or by phone with our Columbia, Maryland, office today.

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