Damage to a single nerve or nerve group (mononeuropathy) or multiple nerves (polyneuropathy) that are connected to muscles
Dehydration (not having enough fluids in your body)
Disorders or injuries that involve peripheral nerves
Hyperventilation (overbreathing), which is rapid or deep breathing that can occur with anxiety or panic
Increased levels of phosphate in the body
Muscle cramps, usually caused by overuse during sports or work activity
Pregnancy, more often during the third trimester
Reduced levels of magnesium or calcium in the body
Too little vitamin D
Use of certain medications
If vitamin D deficiency is the cause, supplemental vitamin D should be taken under the doctor's direction. Calcium supplements may also help.
There are stretching exercises you can do. These stretches will help keep your muscles from getting shorter or tighter.
Being active will also help keep your muscles loose. Aerobic exercise, especially swimming, and strength building exercises are both helpful. Playing games and sports and doing daily tasks may also help, but can also make matters worse if done to excess.
Drinking plenty of fluids during exercise is also important.
Call your health care provider if
If you notice recurrent spasms of your hands or feet, call your health care provider.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
The doctor or nurse will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms.
Blood and urine tests may be done. Tests may include:
Griggs RC, Jazefowicz RF, Aminoff MJ. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 418.
Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.