Have you been awakened by a sudden pain in your muscle? This is because you experienced a muscle cramp. When a skeletal muscle involuntarily contracts it can cause uneasiness or pain. This is called muscle cramps.
Muscle cramps affect the following set of muscles:
- Calf muscles – the back of the lower leg
- Hamstrings – the back of the thigh
- Quadriceps – the front of the thighs
- Hands, arms, and neck
- Abdomen muscle
Muscle cramps are common to people suffering from diabetes mellitus. Diabetes neuropathy is also a potent reason for diabetic leg pain. Muscle fatigue and poor flexibility are also reasons of muscle cramps.
Seriousness Of Diabetic Leg Pain Signs
Muscle cramps are otherwise harmless, but you have to check out if it is due to diabetes. Muscle cramps are primary diabetic leg pain signs. Frequent cramps occurring at intervals are definitely diabetic leg pain signs. This is due to fluctuations in the glucose level. Diabetic leg pain signs are often confused with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Plaque builds up in the arteries prevent the flow of blood to different parts of the body. Another diabetic leg pain sign is muscle cramp due to Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). The ache is felt in the calves and other joints. RLS is common with diabetic patients.
Diabetic Leg Pain Signs
People suffering from diabetes are prone to numerous complications and ailments. A diabetic leg pain sign signals a damage of nerves. This is called diabetic neuropathy. If the nerves affected are in the arms or legs, it is diabetic peripheral neuropathy. You will experience the sensation of pain, tingling, and numbness. This will be accompanied by a burning feeling sometimes. These are the first diabetic leg pain signs. Peripheral neuropathy leads to severe leg and foot disorders. Identifying the diabetic leg pain signs early can prevent amputations.
Monitoring Diabetic Leg Pain Signs
Your doctor is the best guide for you to help you monitor these signs. If you experience frequent leg pain, it may mean that your diabetes level needs attention. You should report mild to moderate leg pain and cramps to your doctor, as well. Even if you are not facing the problem with diabetic neuropathy, it might indicate a PAD. PAD, as discussed above, is Peripheral Arterial Disease. A blockage in the arteries prevents the blood flow. This can also lead to heart attacks and strokes. The symptoms of PAD are subtle, so people are not aware that they are sufferers of the disease. Research shows that 1 out of 3 diabetic people are prone to PAD, especially if you are 50 years or above.
Diabetic Leg Pain Signs And Its Prevention
You cannot be sure when the cramps will attack you. Even then you must be aware of the preventive measures and symptoms. This will help you to endure and treat the pain well.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
Glucose plays a vital role in the relaxation and contraction of muscles. It adds the right amount of flexibility, making movements smooth. A sudden change in the blood sugar levels can cause cramps in the muscles. This is a prime diabetic leg pain sign. It is observed that at least 75% people who face muscle cramps are diabetic in nature. So, in order to prevent muscle cramps, you have to first control your blood sugar level.
Diabetic patients tend to dehydrate more because of frequent urination. So, to keep your water content right by consuming plenty of water. Water will keep you hydrated and lubricate your movements. It will control the electrolyte level, and help to prevent muscle cramps.
There are certain medicines that trigger muscle cramps. The risk of muscle cramps is higher if you are consuming diuretics, blood pressure medications, or insulin. So, if you are highly diabetic, you probably intake insulin. During this phase, if you experience pain, be sure it’s a diabetic leg pain sign.
Nutrient Rich Diet
A diabetic person should add and subtract certain food item from his or her pre-diabetic diet. Often, this leads to dietary imbalance. The proper nutrients do not reach your body system and give it strength. Muscle cramps occur due to the absence of certain nutrients in the diet. Potassium, calcium, vitamins, and minerals are essential nutrients for proper muscle functioning. Always consult your doctor before you plan any change in the diet. There are some nutrients that do not gel well with the medications you take. This can have an adverse effect. So, a cramp felt due to change in diet can be one of the diabetic leg pain signs.
Apart from the above preventive measures, you can try the following home remedies:
- Physical Therapy and light therapy
- Electric nerve stimulation and acupuncture
- Short and frequent walks
- Soaking legs in warm water