Factors associated with night-time calf muscle cramps: A case–control study

Authors

  • Fiona Hawke BAppSc (Pod) Hons,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, New South Wales, Australia
    • Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Vivienne Chuter PhD,

    1. Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Joshua Burns PhD

    1. Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
    3. Paediatric Gait Analysis Service of New South Wales, Sydney Children-s Hospitals Network, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
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Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. E-mail: fiona.hawke@newcastle.edu.au

Abstract

Introduction: Although highly prevalent and painful, night-time calf muscle cramping is poorly understood, and no treatment has shown consistent efficacy or safety. Methods: One hundred sixty adults were recruited from New South Wales, Australia, including 80 who had night-time calf cramping at least once per week and 80 age- and gender-matched adults who did not. Participants were assessed using reliable tests of lower limb strength, flexibility, morphometrics, circulation, and sensation, and were questioned about health and lifestyle factors, diet, medications, exercise, symptomatology, sleeping habits, and footwear. Results: Conditional logistic regression identified 3 factors independently associated with night-time calf muscle cramps: muscle twitching (OR 4.6, 95% CI 1.6–15.5, P = 0.01); lower limb tingling (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.6–10.3, P = 0.003); and foot dorsiflexion weakness (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01–1.03, P = 0.002), which represented other measures of lower limb weakness in the model. Conclusions: Night-time calf muscle cramps were associated with markers of neurological dysfunction and potential musculoskeletal therapeutic targets. Muscle Nerve 47:339-343, 2013

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