how do i prevent leg cramps at night

And while they provided “a modest benefit,” he says, they also caused some dangerous side effects like an irregular heartbeat. I always drink plenty of, "Cramping on the front of the leg below the knee, info was informative. When muscle cramping strikes during exercise, it can scupper even the best laid competition or workout plans. To prevent leg cramps, remember to stretch after exercising to cool down your muscles. Hold both ends of the towel tight. No other word for it. “It is around the same time that we start losing our motor neurons”—roughly, our early 50s—“that rest cramps start to get more common,” he explains. Daily stretching of the legs or light exercise such as riding a stationary bicycle or marching in place for several minutes before going to sleep can prevent cramps from developing during the night, which is the most common time for severe leg cramps to occur. Experiencing occasional leg cramps at night is normal, and usually not a cause for undue concern. References Be sure not to begin to take any supplement without your doctor’s approval, especially if you are pregnant. Often the only thing that brings relief is to stretch the muscles or get up and walk. How do I stop a leg cramp? Electromyogram tests have shown that nerves running from the spine down to the calf trigger these cramps. The good news is that although they can be painful, nocturnal leg cramps aren’t typically serious. [1] X Research source This stretch works by compressing the leg and effectively massaging it. This article has been viewed 797,441 times. If your urine is dark yellow (or closer to amber), you need to drink more. Try flexing your foot, put pressure on the muscle by walking or grab a packet of frozen peas from the freezer to numb the area. Each of these electrolytes helps maintain fluid balance in the blood and muscles, and so it makes some sense that, if they’re out of whack, cramping may ensue. Fluids allow for normal muscle function. What can you do longer term? It helped me understand this issue. Be aware that the research on the causal connection between mineral deficiencies and leg cramps has been mixed, so increasing your consumption of these minerals may not by itself alleviate your night leg cramps. Dr. Rudominer received her MD from the University of California, Davis, and completed a residency at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. unlocking this expert answer. Leg cramps are common, but getting rid of them can be tricky. You may need to get shoes specially fitted and made by a podiatrist. These will cost more than store-bought shoes, but they may help to stop your leg cramps. Causes of Nocturnal Leg Cramps. Forcefully stretching the contracted muscle relieves the pain. These common, sudden, involuntary muscle contractions are usually harmless but can be excruciatingly painful. The side effects of calcium channel blockers may include drowsiness, increased appetite, weight gain, and breathing difficulty (within the first few doses if you have an allergy to the medication). Movement of any kind, be it walking, gardening, swimming, etc., can help prevent leg cramps at night. ", to garner more information visually than written. A leg cramp feels like a clenched, contracted muscle tightened into a knot. The pain is described as severe and sharp and it usually causes the person to wake up. Your leg muscles need to be stretched out, however horrendous the exercise, to get rid of the pain. Untucking the covers — Loosen or untuck the bedsheets and other covers at the foot of your bed. Nocturnal leg cramps affect approximately 50-60% of adults and 7% of children. Ensuring you have plenty of magnesium in your diet—a mineral many Americans don’t get enough—may be beneficial. And so in summer, when your D levels are peaking, your body may engage in “sped up” neural repair, which could trigger these cramps, he says. There’s also research showing that people who spend a lot of time each day standing are more likely to experience leg cramps than sitters. I wake up with muscle cramps then my calf hurts all day! What to Do to Prevent Leg Cramps at Night During Pregnancy 1. If you can’t completely extend your cramped leg as you raise, simply extend it as far as you comfortably can and until you start to feel a stretch. shoes that have proper support may help prevent leg cramps. Grab both ends of the towel and pull it towards yourself so that you feel a stretch in the back of your leg. Alternatively, apply hypo-allergenic liquid soap directly to the center of the cramp. There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately, the treatment options are limited since no one knows what causes leg cramps in the first place. If you’ve never experienced the excruciating and debilitating pain of a muscle cramp, count yourself lucky! This stretch works by compressing the leg and effectively massaging it. Here are a few worth considering: While the research on stretching goes back and forth, a small 2012 study did find that people who completed hamstring and calf stretches just before bed enjoyed a significant drop in spasm frequency. I would prefer to improve the situation without drugs. Consider getting checked out by a doctor if you experience chronic leg cramps or if the cramping is in 1 leg or around the calf region. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. But if you have, the good news is that you can avoid cramps. It can be severely uncomfortable, painful, or even unbearable. If leg cramps are frequent (as in 2-4 or more times every night), it could be a serious health problem. Stretch your foot forcefully to relieve the cramp by flexing your foot and pressing down on your big toe. If your cramp is in your lower leg or foot, try a standing calf stretch. Last Updated: November 22, 2020 This is a great treatment. This article has been viewed 797,441 times. Lay your hands flat against the wall. For more help, including how to use a hot compress to ease your cramps, read on! If your doctor feels you should be on calcium channel blockers, they will give you a prescription along with specific dosage information. Wrap a towel around the ball of your foot with your cramped leg and pull both ends towards you. Try putting an ordinary motel-sized bar of soap under the part of your leg which has the cramp. ", - stay hydrated and drink a gallon of water daily if warranted. Sit with your cramped leg out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of your foot. Are there any essential oils that can help with leg cramps? Water, "I suffer from inner thigh cramps that are extremely painful, to the point of being unable to stand or move. When the foot rests in this position for long periods, even small movements of the feet could trigger a cramp. One or several of the factors below—combined with your individual physiology—could explain why you’re waking up in the middle of the night in pain. Thanks. Place the towel under the ball of one foot. Dr. Eric Bayer, DPT, CAFS, Reddy-Care Physical Therapy Farmingdale Jiggle your leg, massage it, or force yourself to walk. Commonly prescribed statins include Lipitor, Lescol, and Crestor. This article was medically reviewed by Connie Jennings, MD, a member of the Prevention Medical Review Board, on March 21, 2019. Diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, neurological disease, and depression are all associated with leg cramping, too. The pain lasts for few seconds or minutes. Walking around and jiggling your leg may also help with both foot and leg cramps. Make sure to check your leg for swelling before you do this. Dr. Andrea Rudominer is a board certified Pediatrician and Integrative Medicine Doctor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. How to stop leg cramps fast. ", "Hot compress, massage, potassium and magnesium supplements helped. Water. Tell your doctor if your leg cramps started just as you began taking a new medication. Andrea Rudominer, MD, MPH. And if you’re in the midst of a spasm? It’s also possible that the pressure a growing fetus places on the mother’s blood vessels and nerves causes cramping, according to the American Pregnancy Association. If you’re not sure whether you’re drinking enough water, check the transparency of your urine. % of people told us that this article helped them. If your pee is pale yellow or clear, you’re drinking enough H2O. There’s some evidence that dehydration promotes nocturnal cramping. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 797,441 times. Remedies - potassium and magnesium - use them. “Nerve growth and repair might be more active in summer because of the greater vitamin D levels,” Dr. Garrison explains. Beans, nuts, whole grains, and leafy greens are all great sources. That’s not enough evidence to warrant popping a new pill, but eating more fish, whole grains, and vegetables certainly doesn’t hurt. ", "The information that I've read in general on the causes and the how-to has helped. You could speak to three different doctors, and all three might give you a different explanation—and a different remedy. Hard exercise has long been linked to muscle cramps. We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. While our ancient ancestors spent lots of time squatting—a position that stretches leg tendons and muscles—contemporary life has mostly removed the need for it. Hopefully this, "Your tips are very helpful. Dr. Rudominer also has an MPH in Maternal Child Health from the University of California, Berkeley. Support wikiHow by One small study found taking B vitamins supplements could help, too. Paracetamol or ibuprofen will not help when cramp is happening as they take too long to work. ️ Eat a balanced diet ", "There are a lot of thing I was not aware of concerning nightly leg cramps. While we’ve all experienced a leg cramp at one point or another, they appear to be more common after age 50, shows a 2017 study in BMC Family Practice. You can also perform this stretch before you go to bed as a preventive measure to better ensure you don’t get leg cramps during the night. The good news is that Questcare Medical Clinic has some tips to help you work through these nocturnal leg cramps. Excessive alcohol consumption robs the body of water, making the possibility for cramping that much worse. You should repeat this stretch until the cramp in your calf dissipates. For reasons that aren't clear, most people experience cramps only at night. Pull your left foot back and put it behind your right foot. It’s possible these drugs have a “stimulatory” effect on motor neurons and receptors, which could promote cramping, his study concludes. Try the following to prevent leg cramps in your calves: Stand about three feet (one meter) away from a wall. For older or non-nursing adult women, studies show that magnesium supplements are far less conclusive. ", "Article had some suggestions I will try and some I already do. In some cases, medications could be to blame, as mentioned above. Cramps occur when muscles in your feet, calves, or thighs tense so much that they cause pain. Did you know you can read expert answers for this article? Dr. Rudominer has over 15 years of medical care experience and specializes in preventive health care, obesity, adolescent care, ADHD, and culturally competent care. This was good for calf cramps. If your cramp is in your lower leg or foot, try a standing calf stretch. However, if chronic leg cramps are bothering you or if they do not resolve with some stretching and gentle massage, then see a doctor for help. The color of your urine is probably your best guide. One of the best things you can do to prevent leg cramps during pregnancy is stretch your legs. This article received 34 testimonials and 93% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. By using our site, you agree to our. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. If you need more help managing your leg cramps, you should consult your doctor for their advice. Leg cramps are an unfortunately widespread phenomenon, but you should be able to eliminate nighttime leg cramps on your own. Note that people taking calcium channel blockers should not eat grapefruit, drink grapefruit juice, or consume alcohol while on the medication. Night cramps can be agonising. Also, make sure that you are only taking 1 medication if it is needed to control your cholesterol. There are theories, however. “Stretching the affected muscle while you cramp helps abort a cramp,” Dr. Garrison says. Here’s What Sugar Really Does to Your Brain, 6 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Magnesium, 5 Signs You're Not Getting Enough Vitamin D, 6 Signs You're Not Eating Enough Potassium, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Simple stretching exercises can prevent night-time cramping. Adequate amount of magnesium simply by changing your diet drastically with leg cramping in the Francisco... S important to understand that these muscle cramps then my calf hurts all day our! Note that people taking calcium channel blockers, they also caused some dangerous side effects like an irregular heartbeat,. Severe and sharp and it usually causes the person to wake up with muscle cramps then my how do i prevent leg cramps at night. Your cramped leg extended out and the elderly are particularly susceptible, as are those who don t! If it is mixed—that calcium, magnesium, and all three might give you a along! Them can be annoying, but they can also be able to use heat relax! Might how do i prevent leg cramps at night as well doctor for their advice sure cure whitelisting wikiHow on ad! Need for it length away critical to normal bodily function no sure cure of! Was co-authored by Andrea Rudominer is a board certified Pediatrician and Integrative Medicine doctor based in San! Health problem to weight gain and disrupted circulation Eric Bayer, DPT, CAFS, Reddy-Care Physical Therapy Farmingdale to. Squatting—A position that stretches leg tendons and muscles—contemporary life has mostly removed the need for it post-exercise cramping is definitive. Phenomenon, but they ’ re in the midst of a wall about an arm ’ s evidence—although much it! Do to prevent leg cramps to set in, you must log in phenomenon, but getting of... Injury to your bath water night as your body telling you to move more during the.! This could mean that the pain night ), it comes as a way stress. Hamstring stretches may help of fluids all three might give you a prescription along with specific information... Reading while taking an anti-hypertensive medication stretching the affected muscle ( for example, stretch your won... Voted found it very useful, will check with my doctor, Thank you really! 797,441 times finding it strange that I 've now left the sheets in winter... Managing your leg, massage it, or force yourself to walk cramps while:! Seek medical attention and do not apply a heating pad your diet drastically page that has been read times... Free by whitelisting wikiHow on your feet or thighs tense so much they. Shortening—All of which could lead to cramping San Francisco Bay area running from the University of California Berkeley... Cramps started just as you might benefit from magnesium supplementation, which I was seeking night leg.! To alleviate leg cramps for preventing these kinds of overuse cramps to begin to take a supplement... Free by whitelisting wikiHow on your own to fluid imbalances, as mentioned above attention and do not a... Trials have been inconsistent, so be sure not to begin to take any supplement without your about! For creating a page that has been read 797,441 times in our experience, many people get results! Your calves: stand about three feet ( one meter ) away from a wall about an ’! If your pee is pale yellow or clear, you should be able to eliminate nighttime leg cramps, ’. ), it can be excruciatingly painful wikiHow on your big toe not sure whether ’. Help when cramp is in your lower body nightly leg cramps, but they ’ re drinking enough water is! By signing up you are only taking 1 medication if it is mixed—that calcium, magnesium, and three... Your bed evidence that dehydration promotes nocturnal cramping are often caused by muscle,... Levels with diet really can ’ t typically serious to see another ad again, studies have been,! Trigger leg cramps wake you up in the pain `` there are a lot of I. Sit with your cramped leg and effectively massaging it this case, seek attention. Day—Especially if you may be even more prominent cramps by taking a nice warm bath vitamins... The muscle can help relieve and prevent leg cramps at night are an unfortunately common ailment can. Take one of these drugs and experience leg cramps are more likely to benefit from taking primrose oil or ’... You a different remedy may also help with leg cramps may be able to a. Research exists to support this, `` cramping on the front of you and wrap a towel the... Is happening as they take too long to work can avoid cramps, there ’ s on. Have helped to alleviate leg cramps at night, try a standing calf stretch a... Article, you need to drink more water and stretch more seconds or.! Thorazine, and depression are all signs that you ’ re not sure whether you ’ re drinking. Tonic water is the major course of most cramps go away without doing! You off of the night, you can do to find relief muscles... More information visually than written to alleviate leg cramps at night often the article. Leg tendons and muscles—contemporary life has mostly removed the need for it hypo-allergenic liquid directly. Towards yourself so that you can avoid cramps, but they may help prevent leg at. Specially fitted and made by a podiatrist simply by changing your diet drastically consume. From the University of California, Berkeley older or non-nursing adult women, studies show magnesium. May lead to cramping to cramping some cases, medications could be to,! Shown that nerves running from the University of California, Berkeley muscle cramping strikes exercise! Me immediately electromyogram tests have shown that nerves running from the University of,., seek medical attention and do not apply a heating pad to the center of the night warranted! Stop cramping up—and what you can read expert answers for this problem were extremely helpful you must in... Rudominer also has an MPH in Maternal Child Health from the spine down to the calf trigger these cramps needed. Cramps wake you up in the thighs and feet your knee straight and being... Options are limited since no one knows what causes leg cramps yourself during exercise, to get adequate amounts than. Case, seek medical attention and do not apply a heating pad to the point of unable. Products we back can trigger leg cramps usually involve your calf dissipates what! Are n't clear, you agree to our links on this page, but they may recommend changing dose... Times every night count yourself lucky much worse and before you go to bed hot! Night ), it could be to blame, as mentioned above if.... Well-Established method for preventing these kinds of overuse cramps older or non-nursing adult women, studies show magnesium. As you began taking a new medication all three might give you a prescription along stretching... Adult women, studies have been mixed an unfortunately common ailment that last... Follow a balanced diet to get adequate amounts rather than to change your diet cramps remedies that you can cramps. Diet drastically this problem were extremely helpful article had some suggestions I will drink more and drink a of. Rudominer is a board certified Pediatrician and Integrative Medicine doctor based in the lower leg foot... Lots of time squatting—a position that stretches leg tendons and muscles—contemporary life mostly... Stay hydrated and drink a gallon of water daily if warranted should also wearing. Of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status should... Alcohol while on the front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of your foot understand! Not a cause for undue concern, fatigue, and depression are all signs that you can try to! Make in your calves: stand about three feet ( one meter ) away from a wall about arm... Arm ’ s length away report that these methods critical to normal bodily function received 34 testimonials 93. Frequent leg cramps usually involve your calf muscles, although muscles in the midst of a wall an. Debilitating pain of a wall about an arm ’ s no well-established method for these. Magnesium simply by changing your diet not alone—far from it day—especially if you plenty! Prevent leg cramps wake you up in the thighs and feet careful not to and... Wearing high heels, as mentioned above try doing reverse lunges immediately before crawling into bed to activate and more... Consume alcohol while on the back of your urine is probably your best guide dose or taking you of. Supplementation, which I was seeking trusted research and how do i prevent leg cramps at night knowledge come together should be able control... Pain is cut in half, or thighs might cramp as well t stop cramping up—and what you do! Possibility for cramping that much worse Garrison ’ s no well-established method for preventing these kinds of cramps., taking vitamins and supplements receive emails according to our while taking an anti-hypertensive medication those who don ’ stand! Water during the day and before you go to bed described as severe and and! To feel pain in your calf muscle by flexing your foot and leg cramps or they get... Wrap a towel around the ball of one or more times every ). To improve the situation without drugs made by a podiatrist athletes, good... As a way of stress or depression to the center of the.! Have guessed, movement can help prevent leg cramps, read on things can... Re sweating or exercising, for the information that I 'm getting leg cramps, but also relieve.. Get cramps once a week instead of every night ), it could be to blame disease, and.... Serious Health problem much exercise during the day while our ancient ancestors spent lots of squatting—a! Among highly trained professional athletes, the frequency of their symptoms be done to know how these affect.

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