When you are on a keto diet, leg cramps on keto can be very frustrating. 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?
It’s important to make sure that you are drinking enough water, eating healthy foods and getting at least eight hours of sleep every night. Also, it’s important to drink water throughout the day in order to avoid dehydration and keto leg cramps.
It is also good to stretch your calves before you go for a run or do any type of exercise that can trigger these painful symptoms. It’s always best to consult with your medical provider if you’re experiencing any type of chronic pain.
The Importance Of Getting Enough Vitamin D
If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, then this can lead to muscle cramps and spasm in the legs because it helps regulate minerals like calcium which is important for muscles contraction. You should also make sure you are eating a healthy diet that includes fats, protein and plenty of vegetables.
It’s very common with people on keto diets to experience leg cramps, so don’t worry about it. Here are a few ways to make the pain go away:
- Do not consume alcohol as it can worsen the condition because alcohol is high in potassium which will increase muscle spasms or cramps.
- Drink more water than usual. This will provide you with enough electrolytes and minerals for your body to function properly without experiencing painful symptoms like leg cramps or spasms.
- Make sure that you are consuming adequate amounts when it comes to eating healthy fats like avocado oil, salmon, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
- Consume enough protein from meat, chicken or fish to maintain muscle.
- Make sure that you are also getting plenty of vegetables in your diet as they will provide a good amount of potassium which is important for muscles contraction.