Nocturnal Leg Cramps - Help!

Posted by ashby1947 @ashby1947, Oct 20, 2019

Does anyone have a suggestion to help deal with foot/ankle/leg cramps in the middle of the night? I take plenty of calcium and magnesium and am thinking that I need to increase my potassium intake. Topical lotions (Theraworx, Tiger Balm, etc.) have not helped. I hope this is a good day for whoever is reading this! Sue

Liked by imallears

@lcallandrn

I am guilty of bring a soda drinker. I can go weeks without drinking water. When I do drink water, I get severe leg cramps that can happen day or night. The last one involved my whole leg to the toes. What can cause this?

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Hi @lcallandrn and welcome to Connect.
Do you have any other symptoms, be they odd or seem unrelated? Cramps can be indicative of other things so I would definitely mention it to my doctor if I was you. Also, it is very typical to get leg cramps if you are not drinking enough water. I can tell days when I have not had enough water/liquid. I tend to get terrible cramps in my feet. It's always a red flag to me because I am supposed to drink a certain amount of water a day to offset a medication I have to take. Even though leg cramps may seem minor if there is anything else at all going on please do check with your doctor.
JK

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@ashby1947 I just answered a different question about leg cramps, I will have to direct that person to here.
As I told him, leg cramps are most frequently from not drinking enough liquid. I had some severe ones from an illness and nothing seemed to help at all, but I did keep a bottle of tonic water with quinine in it in my bathroom. I am not sure if it helped or not, the cramps would generally go away after about 10 – 20 minutes. Maybe they would have anyway. I have heard of people drinking pickle juice for them, there is an OTC medication for them also. That definitely did not help. There is also an Amish remedy that you can purchase on Amazon — just search Amish leg cramps. It supposedly does help many people but it did not help me.
The first thing I would do is to drink more water. If they still continue think about any other possible unrelated symptoms you may have. If you do have anything else that seems amiss then definitely check with your doctor. Even if it is just leg cramps you may want to check with your doctor anyway.
JK

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@lcallandrn

I am guilty of bring a soda drinker. I can go weeks without drinking water. When I do drink water, I get severe leg cramps that can happen day or night. The last one involved my whole leg to the toes. What can cause this?

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@lcallandrn Another person also just posted a question about leg cramps. You may want to join the discussion there. So far I am the only respondent there also but eventually there will be more, I am sure of that.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nocturnal-leg-cramps-help/?pg=1#comment-339577
JK

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@ashby1947 Welcome to connect where we help with our experiences, I have had cramps with the ankles ,legs and believe it or not what helps me is drinking a couple of swollows of dill pickle juice and I rub wintergreen alcohol on the legs. Its the green alcohol. The pickle juice has to be the dill juice Bread and butter wont help at all

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I am guilty of bring a soda drinker. I can go weeks without drinking water. When I do drink water, I get severe leg cramps that can happen day or night. The last one involved my whole leg to the toes. What can cause this?

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Hi @lcallandrn, as @contentandwell mentioned, I moved your message to this existing discussion about leg cramps that was also started today by @ashby1947 and @lioness. I thought it best to bring you all together in one place. You might also be interested to read the ideas shared in this previous discussion in the Sleep Health group.

> Groups > Sleep Health > Restless Leg Syndrome
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/restless-leg-syndrome-2a74e5/

I get restless legs more than outright cramps. Like @contentandwell this is often due to not drinking enough water in my case. I also find 2 seemingly opposing things are contributors: 1) not moving enough like a day that I work at my desk and don't get out to walk or workout OR 2) I workout hard and don't stretch. In both cases, I find that stretching my legs, especially my calves just before bed helps prevent the problem.

Here's what Mayo Clinic has to say about leg cramps https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/symptoms-causes/syc-20350820

@lcallandrn do you exercise a lot or do physical labor? Or do activities that force you to stay in one position for extended periods of time, like a desk job?

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@contentandwell

@ashby1947 I just answered a different question about leg cramps, I will have to direct that person to here.
As I told him, leg cramps are most frequently from not drinking enough liquid. I had some severe ones from an illness and nothing seemed to help at all, but I did keep a bottle of tonic water with quinine in it in my bathroom. I am not sure if it helped or not, the cramps would generally go away after about 10 – 20 minutes. Maybe they would have anyway. I have heard of people drinking pickle juice for them, there is an OTC medication for them also. That definitely did not help. There is also an Amish remedy that you can purchase on Amazon — just search Amish leg cramps. It supposedly does help many people but it did not help me.
The first thing I would do is to drink more water. If they still continue think about any other possible unrelated symptoms you may have. If you do have anything else that seems amiss then definitely check with your doctor. Even if it is just leg cramps you may want to check with your doctor anyway.
JK

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Asby 1947, hi
Usually leg cramps come because of dehydration be sure to get 64 oz. Watera day. Also over exercising, under exercising or just standing in place for long periods. Are you taking a diuretic? If so you may need a different one, that spares you potassium. Don't increase you potassium without having a chem profile – or you could have other problems and discuss with your primary.. I rarely have leg cramps but they do happen at night after being on my feet all day or driving for several hours. I
recommend you make a hot pack (wet wash cloth in zip lock bag, microwave for 20 seconds, wrap in light towel ) and apply to cramp area.
I think this applies to lactic acid in our muscles.Runners also get those cramps, that's why you see them stretching Always works for me.

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@kahli

Asby 1947, hi
Usually leg cramps come because of dehydration be sure to get 64 oz. Watera day. Also over exercising, under exercising or just standing in place for long periods. Are you taking a diuretic? If so you may need a different one, that spares you potassium. Don't increase you potassium without having a chem profile – or you could have other problems and discuss with your primary.. I rarely have leg cramps but they do happen at night after being on my feet all day or driving for several hours. I
recommend you make a hot pack (wet wash cloth in zip lock bag, microwave for 20 seconds, wrap in light towel ) and apply to cramp area.
I think this applies to lactic acid in our muscles.Runners also get those cramps, that's why you see them stretching Always works for me.

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@Asby1947 Besides drinking enough water I also make sure I get enough Potassium @ Magnesium As I stated above I use wintergreen alcohol to rub on my twitchy legs .

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Hello Everyone! Thank you for all your comments. I discovered Theraworx, an OTC topical application. I have been using it every night and have had no more "OMG jump out of bed to get rid of cramps" episodes. I highly recommend it! Sue

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@ashby1947

Hi,
I’m jumping in late on this topic but would like to add my thoughts before the Christmas Eve festivities get under way. I’ve had occasional restless legs and cramps over the years. I started taking Magnesium glycinate a couple of month ago (400 mg) for better sleep because it is reputed to have a calming effect.
I noticed that I have had hardly any leg cramps or restless legs…..maybe one in a month or month and a half. I take the Mg right before bedtime. It is one of the many forms of magnesium that it easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

I just want to emphasize that you should not opt for a cheap brand of any supplement. There are many types of calcium and magnesium, for example, and you should research which type would benefit you more Not all supplements are created equal. Research the labs that produce them and the country of origin. The Magnesium Glycinate I take has the the amino acid glycine which is supposed to have a calming effect. It happens to work for me.

Hydration , as several people mentioned, is another important factor for everyone no matter what ails ya. Try stretching your hamstrings before bedtime as that may help. If you find something that works, that’s terrific. Nocturnal cramps seem to happen more often among the older population. I just don’t hear of younger people mentioning it as a problem.

Anyway….they’re the most god awful annoying things to happen when you are trying to sleep and have to jump up out of bed and stumble around in the dark trying to walk it off or massage it and then sliding back into bed when you think it’s over and trying to find the perfect sleep position and not move because it will happen again…argh. There’s a vision I have of all these people doing the cramp dance during the night.

Happy Holidays to all who celebrate

FL Mary

Liked by dixiedog

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In addition to stretching, hydration, Potassium, and Magnesium, and setting an alarm to get up in the night for more stretching, this "creation" has helped me in reducing both the severity and the frequency of night time leg cramps that always occur for me in my calf down to my ankle or foot. Never above the knee.

I got a regular sock of mine and a piece of fleece (could be any fabric) 3 inches wide and 64 inches long (I'm 5' 5"). I wrapped the end of the fleece around where the ball of my foot is on sock 2x and sewed it on. Not so tight as to restrict my foot movement within the sock. Did not want to make the tube of the sock tighter.

That left nearly 5 feet of "tail." I made sure I aligned the tail so it streamed off the bottom of the sock, then came over my toes on the top of the the middle of the sock. I sewed all that on the sock to anchor it. Again, I did not want to make it too tight. The sewing on the top of the sock stops about half way between my toes and ankle, leaving the tail free.

When I have the start of a cramp in the night, I pull the tail toward me so my toes are pulled toward me. This flexing of my toes, stretching my calf helps alleviate the cramp.

So that the tail is always within reach of my hand, I run it up my leg and through my underpants and out the top of my pj bottoms. The top of the tail then hangs near my hand, within easy reach. Since I get cramps only on one side from past injuries, I only have one of these "creations" but you could have two.

Since I made this in June, just wearing it has somehow reduced my night cramps to 2 times in 6 months instead of once every 10 nights. I don't know how it could be preventive other than something psychological or that my right foot feels a little different inside this "creation" and that sensation has some effect on the nerves. Who knows? But the 2 times I've gotten cramps in the night, I just pulled on the tail, which flexed my foot and the cramp did not last long. In the past the cramps could come in waves for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes I'd be screaming. Also, the two times after pulling on the tail, I was not hobbled for the next several days after the cramp, which used to happen a lot, probably because the cramps used to become much more severe without the quick intervention.

RE: Theraworx–I tried it for about 2 weeks and got cramps. Maybe it takes longer?

Liked by dixiedog

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@elsie37

In addition to stretching, hydration, Potassium, and Magnesium, and setting an alarm to get up in the night for more stretching, this "creation" has helped me in reducing both the severity and the frequency of night time leg cramps that always occur for me in my calf down to my ankle or foot. Never above the knee.

I got a regular sock of mine and a piece of fleece (could be any fabric) 3 inches wide and 64 inches long (I'm 5' 5"). I wrapped the end of the fleece around where the ball of my foot is on sock 2x and sewed it on. Not so tight as to restrict my foot movement within the sock. Did not want to make the tube of the sock tighter.

That left nearly 5 feet of "tail." I made sure I aligned the tail so it streamed off the bottom of the sock, then came over my toes on the top of the the middle of the sock. I sewed all that on the sock to anchor it. Again, I did not want to make it too tight. The sewing on the top of the sock stops about half way between my toes and ankle, leaving the tail free.

When I have the start of a cramp in the night, I pull the tail toward me so my toes are pulled toward me. This flexing of my toes, stretching my calf helps alleviate the cramp.

So that the tail is always within reach of my hand, I run it up my leg and through my underpants and out the top of my pj bottoms. The top of the tail then hangs near my hand, within easy reach. Since I get cramps only on one side from past injuries, I only have one of these "creations" but you could have two.

Since I made this in June, just wearing it has somehow reduced my night cramps to 2 times in 6 months instead of once every 10 nights. I don't know how it could be preventive other than something psychological or that my right foot feels a little different inside this "creation" and that sensation has some effect on the nerves. Who knows? But the 2 times I've gotten cramps in the night, I just pulled on the tail, which flexed my foot and the cramp did not last long. In the past the cramps could come in waves for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes I'd be screaming. Also, the two times after pulling on the tail, I was not hobbled for the next several days after the cramp, which used to happen a lot, probably because the cramps used to become much more severe without the quick intervention.

RE: Theraworx–I tried it for about 2 weeks and got cramps. Maybe it takes longer?

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This concept is great but I am having a hard time visualizing the sock. Can you post a picture? I can’t seem to understand how to sew the tail on it so you can still allow your foot into the sock.

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I sent you a PM @dixiedog on how to contact me for a pic of the sock. I do not believe I am able to post a picture here, or I'd just do that.

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Hi @elsie37 you are able to post pictures. As you can see in the attached screenshot, right above the text box where you write out your post there is a "Photo/Files" button. Simply click on that button then select the image from your files that you would to be included in your post.

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 9

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Of course. There's the photo/files right there in front of me. When I pull on the end of the string, my toes flex, stretching my calf.

sock for leg cramps

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