Spasms are contractions of the muscles of the hands, thumbs, feet, or toes. Spasms are usually brief, but they can be severe and painful.
Foot spasms; Carpopedal spasm; Spasms of the hands or feet
Depending on the cause, the following symptoms may be present:
Fatigue Muscle weakness
- Numbness, tingling, or a "pins and needles" feeling
- Uncontrolled, purposeless, rapid motions
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:
- Brain disorders, such as
parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, dystonia, and Huntington's disease.
- Chronic kidney disease and dialysis
- Damage to a single nerve or nerve group (
mononeuropathy) or multiple nerves (polyneuropathy) that are connected to muscles
- Dehydration (not having enough fluids in your body)
- Disorders or injuries that involve peripheral nerves
- Heavy exercise
Hyperventilation(overbreathing), which is rapid or deep breathing that can occur with anxiety or panic
- Increased levels of phosphate in the body
Muscle cramps, usually caused by overuse during sports or work activity
- Pregnancy, more often during the third trimester
- Reduced levels of magnesium or
calciumin the body
- Thyroid disorders
- Too little vitamin D
- Use of certain medications
Review Date: 03/22/2010
Reviewed By: Daniel C. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.