(HealthDay News) -- A muscle cramp occurs when a muscle involuntarily tightens and does not release, often leading to intense pain.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says although the exact causes of muscle cramps aren't known, the following conditions are thought to increase your risk:
- Having tight muscles that haven't been stretched.
- Having poorly conditioned muscles that become easily fatigued.
- Overusing your muscles.
- Exerting yourself in extreme heat.
- Being dehydrated.
- Having low levels of essential minerals and salt, including potassium.
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