A leg cramp is a pain of leg muscle. It is also known as "charley horse", and it generally arise when the leg muscles unexpectedly and forcefully contract. It usually occurs in a calf muscle, below and behind a knee. The small muscles of the feet are sometimes affected.
A cramp pain generally lasts in 5 to 10 minutes and sometime it lasts in few seconds. The severity of leg cramp pain varies. The leg muscle may stay stretched for up to a day after a cramp. Leg cramps typically arise when you are in resting mode; generally at night hours when you are in bed (These types of cramps are also known as night cramps.) They may wake you. It can become a difficult state if your sleep is frequently disturbed.
Many cases leg cramps are appear during regular activities like walking or while exercising, they are often cause due to muscle exhaustion or inappropriate blood circulation to the legs. Cramps due to muscle exhaustion mainly tend to happen after a long period of movement. Cramps because of poor blood circulation mainly occur in the calf, thigh or buttock after walking only a short distance and it generally go away after some rest (These type of leg cramp are also known as claudication).
Some persons have an occasional leg cramp, on other hand it occurs frequently in others. Leg cramps are common problem in older people and most of them have regular leg cramps. Generally sufferers have leg cramps at least three per week, but they can occur daily in some people. If someone get cramps during pregnancy then it is better to discuss the problem with your doctor.