A cramp is an acute pain that occurs when muscles go into spasm as a result of a shortage of oxygen or a build-up of lactic acid. Poor circulation reduces oxygen supply to the muscles, and may occur after prolonged sitting or standing, lying awkwardly, if the arteries narrow suddenly on being chilled, during pregnancy, or because of salt deficiency after vomiting or excessive perspiration. A build-up of lactic acid occurs after strenuous or unaccustomed exercise. SELF-HELP If cramps are worse at night, raise the foot of your bed by about 4 in (10 cm). As cramps come on, stretch the muscles and massage them to increase the blood supply.

Severe cramps in the legs or feet

Cramps from muscle fatigue

Muscle twitching leading to violent muscle spasms in the toes, ankles, soles of the feet, and legs

Ankles are painfully heavy

Knees bend involuntarily when walking

Pain resembling bruising brought on by overexertion

Limbs feel as if they have been beaten Heaviness in limbs

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