Leg cramps are a common problem for those who are following the Ketogenic Diet. If you’re new to the Ketogenic Diet, the chances are you’ve heard about the potential benefits of going low carb.
But, you may be wondering how to deal with leg cramps when you’re on the keto diet.
I know it’s not easy, but if you keep your diet and exercise regimen consistent, you should be able to reduce your cramping.
In this article, we will talk about what are keto leg cramps and how to deal with them when you are following the keto diet.
What you'll read:
What are Keto Leg Cramps?
Keto leg cramps are common in ketogenic dieters. They happen when the body doesn’t have enough electrolytes and minerals to keep up with how much sodium is being excreted through sweat. This can be caused by dehydration, excess salt intake (it’s important on a keto diet to often drink water, unsweetened tea, or lemon water), and/or not enough electrolytes in your diet.
Symptoms of Keto Leg Cramps:
- Tightness in the calf muscles
- Numbness and tingling in feet or toes
- An uneasy feeling that feels like a cramp, but isn’t.
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Muscle twitches in the upper body
What Causes Leg Cramps on Keto?
There are a lot of reasons you may be experiencing keto leg cramps. It is important to diagnose and treat them as soon as possible, or they can lead to other serious health issues.
Here are 6 common causes of keto leg cramps:
- Dehydration can cause leg cramps because your body is trying to conserve water and you are sweating more than normal (because of the increased salt content in your diet). Drinking plenty of fluids will help combat this problem by restoring electrolyte levels, which helps with muscle function
- Eating too much sodium may also lead to this problem. When you are on a keto diet, your body excretes more sodium through sweat and urine than when not following the diet. You need to have electrolytes in your diet or risk severe muscle cramps
- If you don’t eat enough potassium because of confusion over counting net carbs vs total carbs (net carbs are including dietary fiber), you may also experience leg cramps.
- Leg cramps can happen if your diet doesn’t contain enough calcium, magnesium, or potassium
- Extreme exercise without proper hydration and electrolyte intake will cause keto leg cramp because the body is trying to conserve water but not having it available for muscles.
- Not getting enough sleep will cause leg cramps because the body needs adequate rest to recover and heal.
Treatment of Keto Leg Cramps
The best treatment for keto leg cramps is to increase sodium, decrease potassium and maintain adequate hydration levels. You can do this by making sure you drink more water than usual, avoid alcohol consumption, and eating high-sodium foods such as avocados or mushrooms.
Here are a few other things you can do to relieve your keto leg cramps:
- Stretch out the calf, foot arch and toes for about 30 seconds. This can help release muscle tension.
- Place an ice pack on top of the painful area for 15 minutes at a time until it feels better.
- Take a hot bath with magnesium salts.
- Apply an over the counter anti cramp medication to the painful area if necessary.
How can you avoid Keto Leg Cramps?
I am going to tell you some effective ways through which you can avoid leg cramps. You can use these methods for preventing your legs from being crampy.
1. Avoid dehydration
If you are sweating a lot and your blood sugar level is low, then it means that you are dehydrated. This causes the blood to flow towards the muscles and leads to cramping. So, drink plenty of water and eat some fruits and drink juices. Make sure you’re drinking at least 2.5 liters of water per day. This is especially important when you’re going through a heat cycle.
2. Do some yoga
It is the best way to get rid of leg cramps, but if you do not have time, then at least do some stretching exercises in order to prevent your muscles from becoming crampy. It will help you to get rid of this problem in a shorter time.
3. Eat foods rich in potassium
You can eat bananas, avocado, and other fruits rich in potassium. Potassium helps to keep the muscles relaxed and the cramps away.
4. Eat foods rich in magnesium
Magnesium helps in the muscle relaxation. So, you can eat foods rich in magnesium such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, and spinach.
5. Do not exercise too much
You should avoid extreme exercise, which can lead to leg cramps. If you are exercising for a long time, then it will make you dehydrated and you will have cramps. So, exercise in moderation.
These are the best ways through which you can avoid leg cramps. Make sure you use them and do not ignore them.
If you’re new to keto, you may experience leg cramps. This happens because your body is adapting to keto and your muscles are changing to use fat for energy. Luckily, it’s completely normal and can be easily treated.
You should try to keep yourself hydrated when you exercise and make sure to stretch before and after your workout. If you’re experiencing a severe leg cramp, you should seek medical attention immediately. Have you had any other keto related struggles? Please share your thoughts below in the comment section!