Hand and foot spasms, or carpopedal spasms, are a common complaint. Almost everyone has experienced a hand or foot spasm at one time or another. They can be brought on by everything from overexertion to use of certain medications.
Despite how common spasms can be, it is important to realize that frequent hand and foot spasms can also be a sign of a more serious condition, tetany, which is caused by a severe degree of hypocalcemia (low calcium levels in the blood).
Causes of spasms
The medical conditions listed below can all cause carpopedal spasms. There may be additional factors involved, so it is best to consult a physician for a comprehensive diagnosis.
- Huntington's disease.
- Hyperventilation (the body loses calcium temporarily).
- Hypocalcemia (low calcium levels in the blood).
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Muscle cramps (usually caused by overexertion, dehydration, or holding the hands and feet in a flexed position for a prolonged period).
- Parkinson's disease.
- Thyroid disorders.
Carpopedal spasms are characterized by severe contractions of the hands and feet. The spasms may also be accompanied by the following:
- Muscle cramping.
- Muscle weakness.
- Numbness or tingling (pins and needles feeling in the toes, fingers, and around the mouth).
- Uncontrolled movement.
Carpopedal spasms can be violent and extremely painful. If you are experiencing recurrent spasms, contact a doctor immediately.
Hand and feet spasms may be a symptom of a more serious condition. If you notice spasms occurring on a regular basis, your doctor will likely conduct several diagnostic tests to determine the cause including blood tests to measure calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D levels, kidney function tests, and hormone level testing.
If you are suffering from hypocalcemia, treatment will likely include Vitamin D and calcium supplements. Consult a physician to learn more about the treatment options for recurrent carpopedal spasms.