Spasms are contractions of the muscles of the hands, thumbs, feet, or toes. Spasms are usually brief, but they can be severe and painful.
Symptoms depend on the cause. They may include:
Nighttime leg cramps are common in the elderly.
Cramps or spasms in the muscles often have no clear cause.
Possible causes of hand or foot spasms include:
If vitamin D deficiency is the cause, supplemental vitamin D should be taken under the doctor's direction. Calcium supplements may also help.
Being active helps keep muscles loose. Aerobic exercise, especially swimming, and strength building exercises are helpful. But care must be taken not to overdo activity, which can worsen the spasms.
Drinking plenty of fluids during exercise is also important.
If you notice recurrent spasms of your hands or feet, call your health care provider.
The doctor or nurse will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history and symptoms.
Blood and urine tests may be done. Tests may include:
Treatment depends on the cause of the spasms. For example, if they are due to a low level of vitamin D in your body, your doctor will likely recommend that you take a vitamin D supplement.
Foot spasms; Carpopedal spasm; Spasms of the hands or feet; Hand spasm
Stein J. Spasticity. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2008:chap 144.
Updated by: Joseph V. Campellone, M.D., Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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