Q. I keep getting tight legs - what should I do?

A. Leg cramps are very common and usually harmless. They can happen at any time, but most people have them at night or when resting.

Leg cramps happen when a muscle suddenly shortens and becomes tight (spasms). They can be very painful and make it hard for you to move. The cramps can last from a few seconds to 10 minutes.

They can affect the:

• calf muscle, below the knee at the back of the leg

• muscles in the feet or the thighs (less often)

After the cramp has stopped, the muscle might feel tender for up to 24 hours

Most cramps go away without you doing anything, but stretching and massaging the muscle can help to ease the pain.

Paracetamol or ibuprofen will not help when cramp is happening as they take too long to work. They can help to ease muscle tenderness afterwards.

Regular calf-stretching exercises might not completely prevent cramps, but may help to reduce them.

You need to ask for an urgent appointment if you have cramps and:

• they last longer than 10 minutes

• there's a chance you might have got a tetanus infection from a wound

Cramps can sometimes be caused by ageing, too much exercise, pregnancy or not drinking enough.

Stretching exercises should help your cramps. Search online and see if these help. If they don’t you may need to seek further treatment from your GP.