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Hand or foot spasms

  • Definition

    Spasms are contractions of the muscles of the hands, thumbs, feet, or toes. Spasms are usually brief, but they can be severe and painful.

    See also: Muscle cramps

    Alternative Names

    Foot spasms; Carpopedal spasm; Spasms of the hands or feet


    Depending on the cause, the following symptoms may be present:

    • Cramping
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle weakness
    • Numbness, tingling, or a "pins and needles" feeling
    • Twitching
    • Uncontrolled, purposeless, rapid motions

    Nighttime leg cramps are common in the elderly.

    Common Causes

    Cramps or spasms in the muscles often have no clear cause.

    Possible causes of hand or foot spasms include:

    • Brain disorders, such asparkinson'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 calcium in the body
    • Thyroid disorders
    • Too little vitamin D
    • Use of certain medications