A leg cramp is an involuntary muscle contraction which can disturb our mobility and sleep. The painful annoyance of sudden shooting pain in the legs can make even the strongest of people feel vulnerable and helpless. Unfortunately for many of us, “charley horses” as they are commonly known, are a frequent and bothersome occurrence for many, especially at night. Patients are unable to sleep well. Many feel exhausted and fatigued the next day. There are a number of common conditions that may cause cramping in the lower extremities, which include:
- Varicose Veins
- Overworked or fatigued leg muscles
- Venous insufficiency
- Disease of the peripheral arteries
- Nerve damage due to injury or disease (such as diabetes)
- Nutrient deficiency
- High blood pressure
Men and women over the age of 50 are most at risk, especially people with a history of smoking or diabetes. Leg cramps can be a result of vascular issues. These present in several ways, including:
Before and After Photos
Varicose veins have a twisted and enlarged form. Their undulating snake-like appearance is unsightly, and they are often painful. Research has shown that 33% to 66% of Americans suffer from varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency; a condition that prevents blood flow back to the heart.(1)
Telangiectasia, or “spider veins” are so-called because of their web-like appearance under the skin. They have a thin and stringy consistency and can appear red or blue in color. They are very common, and have been reported by up to 41% of women over 50 in the US alone.(2) Spider veins can appear anywhere on the body, but they are more likely to be visible on the legs and face.
For those of us who struggle with persistent leg cramping and pain, minimally invasive surgical procedures are often the best viable option. Board certified surgeon Dr. David Naar has over 30 years of experience with a wide range of vascular surgeries, both medical and cosmetic in nature. Located in Westlake, OH and servicing Cuyahoga County, Premier Vein Clinic will provide care for your leg pain woes. Call (440) 641-0433 now to discover more about the health benefits of vascular leg surgery, or visit our website for more information.
Why are My Leg Cramps so Painful?
Although notoriously difficult to study scientifically due to their spontaneity and unpredictability, we do know the reason why leg cramps cause so much pain. One or more muscles in the upper or lower leg suddenly and forcibly contracts involuntarily. As well as causing spasms in the muscles themselves, the tension causes an acute spike of pain.
Many patients complain about the impact cramps have on their mobility and independence, however leg cramping is often overlooked as an inevitable and unactionable side-effect of the aging process. The reality is that research shows up to 24% of patients who suffer from leg cramps evaluated their symptoms as “very distressing,”⁽3⁾ so the long-term psychological and physiological effects cannot be ignored. Explore the treatment options for conditions that cause leg cramps, and other services provided by Dr. Naar at his Westlake office here.
Dr. Naar prides himself in making every patient feel confident and at ease during their consultation. In order to assess your eligibility for surgery and treatment type, it is important for him to ask questions about your family history, especially if there is a history of venous vascular disease or diabetes. He will also ask you about your general health and wellness as he chooses the right vascular procedure for you. He will then conduct a thorough physical examination of your problem areas, and take the necessary steps to create a customized vascular procedure tailored to your needs. Call our Westlake offices at (440) 641-0433 to schedule your consultation, or fill out our online form to learn about how vascular surgery can improve your quality of life.
Preparing well for your leg vein minimally invasive surgical intervention is important for a speedy recovery. It may also start months beforehand. At Premier Vein Clinic, we offer a number of options for treatment, but the preparation process is similar for all of them. One of the highest risk factors in any kind of surgery is smoking. Dr. Naar strongly advises that you stop smoking completely well before you are due for your procedure, this also includes ceasing the use of nicotine replacement products such as vape pens, gum, and patches. Attaining a healthy weight is another factor that could affect your recovery. Please feel free to discuss pre-surgery expectations with him in the consultation process.
Dr. Naar must also know all of your current medications and supplements well ahead of time, as these could affect both the procedure itself, and your post-operative recovery. He may advise you to stop taking certain medications completely well before your procedure date, so it is vital to provide a complete list of the medications you take. Of particular risk are aspirin, other blood thinning medications (Pradaxa, Eliquis, Xarelto) and common painkillers such as Advil and Motrin.
Premier Vein Clinic offers two procedures that could help to relieve your leg cramping due to vascular leg conditions. Both options are minimally invasive and performed under the safest conditions. The following treatments are available to you:
Sclerotherapy is the process of injecting a liquid irritant called sclerosant solution directly into troublesome reticular varicose veins (small dilated veins) and spider veins. This causes the lining of the blood vessel to collapse inward and stick together. After this innovative process is complete, the vein will slowly but surely fade, turning to scar tissue with negligible traces.
The prefix “endo,” meaning inside, indicates that this procedure takes place on the inside of the blood vessel. Technologically advanced endovenous ablation involves intentionally damaging the targeted vein with thermal sonic frequencies, while leaving the surrounding material unaffected. The procedure is safe, uses state-of-the-art technology, and is complete in just under one hour.
Both sclerotherapy and endovenous ablation procedures allow the patient to return home immediately after Dr. Naar has finished administering the treatment.
At Premier Vein Clinic, we value your time and personal responsibilities, which is why we provide a detailed list of information relating to post-operative recovery. You will discuss your individual needs with Dr. Naar, and he will advise you on how best to achieve safe, rapid healing. These may include:
- Taking frequent short walks to encourage blood circulation in the legs
- Light movement without too much strain
- Wearing compression socks to prevent pain and swelling
Visit Dr. Naar’s blog to learn more about the benefits of preventive care and varicose vein treatment.
Sclerotherapy produces extremely satisfying results in our patients, as the technique all but eliminates the visibility of troublesome veins. Depending on the number of veins targeted, the total healing time is around 3-4 months.(4)
Endovenous ablation has an incredible 98% success rate.(5) Dr. Naar will advise that you limit any vigorous movement of your legs for two to three weeks, to allow the area to heal well. Patient satisfaction is our goal, and we invite you to read the stellar reviews our patients have written!
Most venous ablations are covered by health insurance. The cost of your procedures is heavily dependent on the type of treatment you plan to receive. Our friendly staff will help you to determine a treatment plan that is the perfect fit for your needs. Ask about financing options here, or call our team at (440) 641-0433 for more information.
Leg cramps are a common problem in people of all ages. There are many reasons why we experience them including overexertion of muscles (like working out too hard or for too long), side effects of medications, varicose veins and diabetes. If you are concerned that leg cramps are impacting your daily life in a negative way, talk to your primary care provider so that they can assess your condition and provide practical solutions. If you already suffer from varicose veins or spider veins, it is important that these conditions are assessed and treated appropriately by a licensed physician.
Varicose veins come in many shapes and sizes. It is important that your varicose veins be assessed by a medical professional so that you can find the right treatment for your individual needs. The best way to do this is to seek a referral to a licensed vascular surgeon for an assessment.
Nicotine interferes with a number of factors in any surgical procedure. One key component of the chemical compounds in nicotine is their ability to restrict blood flow around the body and increase your heart rate. Nicotine can also cause fluctuations in blood pressure, complications with anesthesia and could lead to a higher risk of post-surgery infection. Nicotine hinders the body’s ability to heal quickly and efficiently, so it is imperative that you stop entirely in the months before you undergo vein surgery.
Amazingly, your body will immediately seek a safe alternative route for blood flow through other healthier veins in your circulatory system.
The surgery you choose will depend on the size and severity of the affected area. Talk to a licensed vascular surgeon about the surgery options that are available to you.
In the past, vein surgery was considered to be a relatively painful and intrusive process. Nowadays, new technology and innovative vascular surgery techniques mean that pain is usually mild and temporary and causes minimal discomfort.
Like any surgical procedure, there can be complications. Throughout recovery, some patients may experience greater than anticipated swelling and bruising in the area that underwent surgery. Severe pain could mean there is an infection, but the chances of this happening are slim.
- Chokkalingam Mani, B., & Delgado, G. A. (2021). Varicose Veins Radiofrequency Ablation Therapy. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
- Mujadzic, M., Ritter, E. F., & Given, K. S. (2015). A Novel Approach for the Treatment of Spider Veins. Aesthetic surgery journal, 35(7), NP221–NP229. https://doi.org/10.1093/asj/sjv004
- Naylor, J. R., & Young, J. B. (1994). A general population survey of rest cramps. Age and ageing, 23(5), 418–420. https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/23.5.418 as cited in Maisonneuve, H., Chambe, J., Delacour, C., Muller, J., Rougerie, F., Haller, D. M., & Leveque, M. (2016). Prevalence of cramps in patients over the age of 60 in primary care : a cross sectional study. BMC family practice, 17(1), 111. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-016-0509-9
- Varicose veins: Overview. (2019, September 25). Nih.gov; Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279247/
- InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Varicose veins: Overview. 2008 Feb 20 [Updated 2019 Sep 25]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279247/