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Alternative Names Return to topFoot spasms; Carpopedal spasm; Spasms of the hands or feet
Definition Return to top
Spasms are contractions of the hands, thumbs, feet, or toes that are sometimes seen with muscle cramps, twitching, and convulsions (tetany). Spasms are usually brief, but they can be severe and painful.
Considerations Return to top
Spasms of the hands or feet may be an important early sign of tetany, a potentially life-threatening condition. Tetany is due to a problem with the body's calcium levels, which can be linked to the following:
The spasms are usually accompanied by the following symptoms:
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
If vitamin D deficiency is the cause, supplemental vitamin D should be taken under the doctor's direction. Calcium supplements may also help.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
If you notice recurrent spasms of your hands or feet, call your health care provider.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your provider will obtain your medical history and will perform a physical examination. Laboratory testing of blood and urine may also be done.
Medical history questions documenting hand or foot spasms in detail may include the following:
Tests may include the following:
References Return to top
Griggs RC, Józefowicz RF, Aminoff MJ. Approach to the patient with neurologic disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 418.Update Date: 9/26/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.