Nocturnal Leg Cramps / Charlie Horses

Leg cramps at night are a common occurrence, as about 75 percent of all reported leg cramps happen at night when you’re not very active. The frequency of nighttime leg cramps depends on the person, and these muscle spasms and cramps can be impacted by poor blood flow to the legs. Depending on the instances of leg cramps and their frequency, it’s important to see vein specialists see if they’re a sign of a more serious condition such as restless leg syndrome and venous insufficiency.

Venous Insufficiency and Nocturnal Leg Cramps

One of the largest causes of nocturnal leg cramps and charlie-horses is restrictions in blood supply to the legs, especially during moments of inactivity. While there are other potential causes of nighttime leg cramps, the insufficient blood supply can greatly increase the rate at which leg spasms and cramps occur. Venous insufficiency is often caused by other chronic diseases, including type II diabetes, congestive heart failure, and liver and kidney disorders.

In cases where leg cramps are symptoms of a more serious health condition, it’s important to seek out a vein specialist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. If you experience signs of varicose veins, restless leg syndrome, and other venous conditions, then it’s important to know that there are vein treatments out there that could help promote better blood supply and reduce the frequency of your leg cramps. It’s also important to know that certain medications, extensive muscle use, nerve disorders, and stress can increase the frequency of nocturnal leg cramps over time.

Treatments For Nocturnal Leg Cramps/Charlie Horses

While surgery isn’t recommended for curing leg cramps, underlying conditions contributing to nocturnal leg cramps can help reduce the frequency and amount of experience. For treating signs of varicose veins and venous insufficiency, some procedures that can be applied include:

  • Sclerotherapy: This procedure involves injecting chemical solutions or foam into the varicose veins to scar and close the veins off. By closing the veins off, the blood can be redirected through healthier veins and help reduce symptoms of nocturnal leg cramps.
  • Vein Laser Treatment: Vein laser treatment works by sending strong bursts of light onto the vein to make the vein slowly fade over time without using needles or cuts.
  • Radiofrequency or Laser Ablation: Both laser and radiofrequency ablation work to heat and scar the varicose veins using a catheter, allowing the veins to disappear and become reabsorbed back into the body.

It’s important to know that not all treatments listed above may be appropriate for treating nocturnal leg cramps. Other forms of non-surgical treatment such as dieting, exercise, medication management, and hydration may help reduce the number of charlie-horses experienced by patients. For the best and most up-to-date information about how nocturnal leg cramps can be treated, visiting your primary care doctor and vein specialist can help guide you towards the treatments you need.

If you suffer from nocturnal leg cramps and experience venous insufficiency, then contacting our office at Vein Center of North Texas today for an appointment can help you get the treatment you need for more pain-free sleep.