Muscle Twitch in Leg

Three types of muscle groups exist in our bodies and include skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscles. We all experience a muscle twitch in a leg from time to time. There are multiple causes. Some of these causes are minor but the more serious health conditions should never be neglected. Some simple home remedies can help relieve the problem.

Causes of Muscle Twitch in Leg

Knowing the common causes of muscle twitching in your leg will allow you to address the problem. Most are benign and self-limited, but a few deserve your immediate attention and a trip to the doctor.

Common Causes

Overexertion of leg muscles

Overexertion results in muscle spasms and twitching. This can be more severe at night and disrupt sleep.

Poor blood circulation

Blockage of adequate blood flow results in twitching, spasm and pain. Advanced cases cause extreme pain and can threaten a leg resulting in amputation.

Nutritional deficiency

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies cause muscle twitching, cramps and even numbness in more severe cases.

Alcohol and nicotine

Alcohol is toxic to muscles and results in inflammation and damage. Nicotine stimulates muscle activity. Excess of either results in twitching.

More Serious Health Conditions

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS causes wasting of nerves and eventually death. Twitching is one of the first signs of this disease. Weakness progresses until the person cannot move their legs.

Muscular dystrophy

This hereditary condition affects muscles directly and causes loss of muscle mass. Muscle weakness and twitching are hallmarks of this condition. Many different forms exist and vary in severity.


This poorly understood condition results in chronic pain, weakness, leg muscle twitching and chronic fatigue. In fibromyalgia patients, muscle twitching is related to the location of tender points within the muscle that seem to irritate nearby nerves.


This condition results in involuntary twitching of muscles. It can involve one leg or side of the body, or become generalized and cause the entire body to twitch and convulse. Your doctor can prescribe anti-seizure drugs for minor conditions.

Blood clot in legs

Clots may form in the veins or arteries of the legs. Symptoms include aching, swelling, color changes, muscle twitching and pain when squeezing the calf or leg. Your doctors may prescribe blood-thinners to relive the symptoms and you can always prevent the condition by moving around and apply hot compress to your legs.

Other conditions

A variety of chronic conditions such as cirrhosis of the liver, sarcoidosis and toxin exposure all result in muscle twitching.
Illicit substance use can cause muscle twitching and a host of other health problems.
Tourette syndrome causes involuntary muscle twitching and movements called tics.

Caution: Only a doctor will be able to determine the exact cause of a muscle twitch in your leg. Keep in mind that any twitching that is accompanied by severe pain, color changes, numbness or weakness can signify a more serious problem and demands prompt medical attention.

Home Remedies for Muscle Twitch in Leg

1. Elevate the legs

Elevation provides relief of swelling and pain. It allows the muscles to rest and recover from overuse and injury. Elevation on pillows with support behind the knees provides the best relief. Try to get the feet up to heart level by lying on a couch.

2. Apply hot/cold compression

Cold compression helps relieve inflammation, edema and pain. It can also prevent swelling from reaching maximal proportions after injury. Heat will increase blood flow to the twitching muscles and help the body clear away toxins and byproducts of exercise. Use a heating pad, warm moist towel or hot water bottle for quick relief. Be sure to wrap heating pads and water bottles in a soft towel to prevent burns from occurring.

3. Massage the leg

Massage has a definite therapeutic benefit. Rubbing and compressing the muscles improves circulation, stimulates the body’s own repair mechanisms and breaks down any adhesions that may limit mobility and trigger twitching or spasm. Massage, particularly deep tissue massage, is beneficial for relieving muscle spasm, twitching and getting rid of stubborn muscle knots.

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