Many health concerns can cause leg cramps, especially at night. This is a guide about remedies for leg cramps.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
In my mid fifties, I started to get agonizing leg cramps in my calves and feet at night. I tried different remedies but could not eliminate them. I like to watch Korean Dramas, so I tried eating the Korean staple food, kimchi for fun. I noticed that when I ate a little kimchi, I did not get leg cramps.
Now I just eat two mouthfuls of kimchi each day and I am leg cramp free. Works like a miracle for me. Kimchi is very hot and spicy so you need to eat it, like you would a relish, with something. You can eat it with rice, eggs, meat, fish, tofu, or chicken or whatever, at any time of the day. Kimchi is is usually made with cabbage fermented with hot pepper. It is very high in nutrients, and can be easily absorbed in the stomach. I don't know why it works, it just does.
This may sound crazy but it actually works. My sister told me she had bad leg cramps that prevented a restful night's sleep. She put a bar of soap, any soap, under the top sheet. That's right, a bar of soap! For whatever reason, it works.
I really couldn't believe it until I tried it myself. You have to do it to believe it but it works! Just sharing for anyone else that has leg cramps.
After much puzzlement, it occured to me that my night cramps happened most often when I have been eating foods like eggs, tomatoes and proteins (meat, dairy, etc.). I went online and looked for a list of acidic foods and found a website that gives a good idea of what foods are acidic and therefore should be eaten less often. It also lists which foods are more alkaline and therefore should be eaten more of.
I hope that others who suffer night cramps will benefit from a change to their diet, it is helping me. Fair warning, night cramps can be so strong they'll break your legs, so do be careful about what you eat. I'm fortunate to have very dense bones, so mine didn't break, but they would have on someone who's bones are porous. Hard lesson learned, for me.
Source: an online search which led me to this website (there are others): http://rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm
By Cornelia from OR
My legs tend to cramp at night. I tried elevating on a pillow but I always lost it at night. So I started putting my heavier reading pillow, the kind that fits behind you and props you up, under my legs at night. I never lose my pillow, and it has really helped with the leg cramp.
By ann from Climax, NC
I have been having painful leg cramps, particularly at night, for years. I had tried just about everything and decided to try drinking apple cider vinegar, about a tablespoonful, just before bed and on rising. The cramps disappeared. I took this for a couple of months and then stopped. I haven't had any cramps since. I like sour things so I could take it straight but you could add honey and a little water.
By Lili 
This tip was given to me by my daughter and has worked very well for me as I had been getting a great deal of cramps in my hands. It is very simple, chew 2 Tums, or any antacid that is taken for an acid reflux or upset tum ;)
By lesley 
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Here are questions related to Remedies for Leg Cramps.
Is there something you can take to help prevent leg cramps?
By Doris from MI
You should have a diet that has adequate potassium (potatoes, bananas, milk, oranges, prunes, spinach, tomatoes are a few). If you are starting a new exercise regimen or newly active then it may be that your body is depleted of potassium. This may be just a symptom of a serious malady, which means it may be time to ck with your MD.
Have you tried increasing your calcium intake? I take calcium supplements, and whenever the leg cramps start up, I know that I have been skimping on the calcium! When I resume or increase the calcium, the leg cramps ease up greatly! Good luck!
Hylands Leg Cramp Remedy, available at Walmart. I suffered from leg cramps for years until I found this product.
For several years I had terrible leg cramps almost nightly. After trying all the "folk" remedies and my doctor's suggestions (I'm on several prescription medications and can't use some of the supplements), I discovered that doing some leg stretches before going to bed have eliminated the cramps. All I do is stand on one foot, raise the other leg behind me, grasp that ankle with my hand and pull up until I feel the muscles stretch. Be sure to keep the bent knee perpendicular to the floor. Hold the stretch for 20 - 30 seconds, then do the other leg.
If you have trouble balancing on one foot as I do, just hold onto something to steady yourself.
I have been getting awakened 3 or 4 times a night with cramps at the front of my right leg at the shin bone, then it travels down to my foot and toes. Anyone else have this trouble?
That was happening with my mom, she found somewhere that it could be caused by lack of potassium, so now she eats a banana every night. Sounds weird, but it works. If I were you, I'd go to the doctor to rule out anything more serious.
I learned, while working in home care nursing, that night cramps can be caused by lack of calcium in the muscles. They begin to contract from this. Try taking calcium before bedtime. Warning: if this helps, stopping the calcium will bring them back again.
Leg cramps are also caused by dehydration. Be sure you are drinking enough water. Not soda, coffee, or tea. Those do not count. You must drink water.
My dh and I had a bad case each of the "twitches" the other night. Neither his legs nor mine would stop twitching for quite some time, and even getting up and walking around did not help. It made sleeping impossible until finally our legs calmed down.
Is there anything that anyone could recommend. Please be aware that I live in Oz, and what you might find common and everyday in your country may be different or not available in mine. I'd really welcome any suggestions. Thank you for your time and trouble.
Leonie from Warrnambool, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
By Leslie (Guest Post) 08/25/2008
There is a syndrome called Restless Leg Syndrome. If it continues you need to see a doctor. There are prescription medications to help.
My husband and I get the same thing, if you have a massager, take turns massaging each others legs, it will work the twitching out enough for you to go back to sleep. Then the next morning start eating bananas to get your potassium, drink some milk for the calcium and increase you magnesium.
The fix may depend on what type of problem is causing the twitching.
For me, magnesium tablets and icing daily helps a bit to relax the muscle...but I have a compressed nerve under my calf. This twitching is caused when I feel like my leg is like a winch being pulled tighter, and tighter, and tighter until it explodes!
Other suggestions by my doctor was tonic water (also known as quinine water) nightly, daily doses of major electrolytes (in my case, drinking a 12 oz portion of the lower calorie Gatorade), etc.
In my younger days, I would have muscle cramping that would be severe enough to lead to twitching. Potassium usually helped.
But I would strongly suggest visiting a doctor when possible. There are many different causes of leg twitching and you might need physical therapy to correct them as well.
I'm looking for recipe for a vinegar, garlic, and ginger concoction for leg cramps, any ideas? Thanks for any help.
By Janet from AR
I've had leg cramps since I was a kid ( half a century ago) and find them worse in the summer. A doctor once told me that not keeping hydrated enough can cause a potassium imbalance.
What works for me if I'm getting a run on those charley horses is to increase my water intake; eating a banana and drinking a little OJ also helps.
What diabetes medicine is the person on that sent in feedback about the power drink by Coke? She had leg cramps. I am having the same thing on Januvia.
Faye from AR
My diabetes medicine, Metformin, depletes my Vitamin B-12 out of my body. It might cause other vitamin deficiencies, that I don't know about. I do have toe and leg cramps when I don't take my Magnesium and Calcium supplements. I'm taking 2 a day of each, once in the morning, once at night. As long as I do, my backaches tend to go away.
My husband has kidney disease and is at about 11 percent right now. He's been suffering from severe leg cramps at night and hurting. He has a history of high potassium so they put him on meds to help keep it under control. I'm just wondering if any body else knows anything on this subject, or has any ideas.
By sensible fromKnox, TN
I had leg cramps nearly all my life, well before I had kidney disease and I buy the homeopathic remedy, Hylands Leg Cramp Remedy, at Walmart. It has a small amount of quinine which relieves leg cramps quickly for me, hope it works for you. I also eat bananas for the potassium.
I suffer form night leg cramps. I have kidney disease which prevents taking potassium or magnesium. I need suggestions please.
I suffered from severe leg cramps so bad that my legs would bruise. I found this solution to be skeptical until I tried it. Put a bar of Ivory soap down in your socks. I broke a bar in half for each leg. I could at first feel like one was coming on then it abruptly stopped. I swear by this. I have not had a cramp since. The soap has to be white and simple. Thats why I chose the Ivory soap. I found this on the internet. Try it even if you might be skeptical. What have you got to loose (except leg cramps). Hope this helps. Worked for me.
My legs are so sore from leg cramps at night and my hands also. There are not many meds I can take as I have a very bad stomach, and tons of allergies. I tried Biofreeze rub, ice pack, and heat with no results. I need help. I can't take meds that cause blurred vision as I only have one eye.
By Kay A
Try taking a calcium supplement with magnesium at night. And for a quick remedy for the cramps is drink dill pickle vinegar. It will stop the cramp in less than 3 mins. But the calcium is your best bet for long term.
My age is 65 years, I have been a sports man and athlete my whole life. I regularly used to drink alcohol. I was a regular victim of cramps, sometimes in the back while reversing the car, at times in my tummy while laughing and many a time due to any body movement in any place of my body. Now that I have controlled my intake of alcohol, I still get cramps in my legs especially my calves and feet while I am fast asleep and have to jump out of bed and try different postures to rid the cramps. Please guide me as to how control these painful cramps.
By Sheryar from Quetta, Pakistan
If you are drinking a lot of either tea or coffee daily that contains caffein which are diuretics, then you need to drink more water and less of the caffeinated drinks. In a few days, the leg cramping should cease and you'll sleep better. Otherwise, if still nothing changes after doing this, then check with your doctor to get a blood test to determine if your body is in need of something more that cramping is a symptom of.
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What is good for leg cramps?
If you have leg cramps at nighttime, while trying to sleep, keep a salt shaker on your nightstand. Once your leg cramp sets in, pour some salt into the palm of your hand and lick it. Your leg cramps should subside soon.
A friend read somewhere about a bar of soap keeping leg cramps away. Just put the bar of soap (NOT Dial and NOT Dove) between your bottom fitted sheet and the mattress, and leave it there. I didn't really believe it, but my husband insisted I try it anyway. He put a bar of Yardley's English Lavender soap in our bed, and I have not had a
single leg cramp (Charley Horse) since. I had them every single night of my life, but none for over a
month now. It's wonderful. I wish I understood the chemical reason for this working. It must be some kind of chemical which prevents the cramps.
I'm telling everyone I know about our experience, and I hope that they all have the same results. Leg cramps can be one of the most painful things and once they start, it's very difficult to relax which you must do in order for them to quit entirely.
Julia in Orlando, FL (03/28/2005)
I have awful leg cramps, but also have high blood pressure. Therefore, I am supposed to have LITTLE
salt. Don't know which is worse.
My husband has used the bar soap suggestion when he has a leg cramp and it works for him. He just puts it right under his knee on the leg that is cramping - this may not be clear. Also it has to be wrapped in a cloth. He keeps this in his bedside table.
I'm checking with my doctor to see if mine is caused by one of the medications I use. Thanks for all the suggestions. (03/28/2005)
Leg cramps can be a sign that your body is low on potassium, so eat potatoes or bananas are also good too. Also, if you drink a lot of milk each day that can also cause them so try cutting down on the amount of milk you drink. (03/28/2005)
The body needs a proper BALANCE of potassium and sodium (salt). So, if you eat too much potassium; ie: bananas, potatoes, even milk, and not enough sodium in the body, it could cause the cramps, too. But please check with your doctors, not good to begin using extra salt or potassium without advise. How long does it take for the soap to ease the cramp, could it just be mind over matter type of thing? Thankfully I don't often suffer night leg cramps, but would love to know how/why this works. (03/28/2005)
I drink Tonic Water, with quinine and it helps a lot. I use the diet kind. (03/28/2005)
This sounds very strange,but in the Fresno Bee Newspaper some time ago a Doctor wrote;"If you have leg cramps, put a bar of soap in your bed. Not anything like Dove or Oil of Olay but plain soap." It works for me. (03/29/2005)
Salt works because it means you're not getting enough in your diet. Just add a little more at night before you go to bed. If your legs are twitching just as you start to fall asleep too, this is another sign of a deficiency. Prevention is better than pain! (05/03/2005)
I have tried everything. I had my blood work done, I took natural pills, prescriptions, drank 'nasty' tonic water, stretched my legs, I have done it all. The soap WORKS!! If you try it and still have cramps, add another bar of soap. I have 2 bars of Safeguard in their own sock. They are pinned to my mattress pad out of my way, I don't even sleep under the covers some nights. I don't care why it works I am just thankful that it does. Tell everyone you know. (07/31/2005)
By Donna Williams
My brother-in-law insisted that I try putting soap in my bed for the terrible leg cramps and foot and toe cramps I get all night and day. After four days they have totally disappeared. His mother won't try it and neither will his wife so I hope they will after my experience. (04/30/2007)
I don't understand the thing about soap. How do you use it. What do you do with the soap when you have a leg cramp. I have leg cramps and they are very painful. I am losing sleep because of them and I am very sore the day after any help I can get will be appreciated. Thank you (10/23/2007)
My husband suffers from occasional leg cramps, but nightly RLS. He twitches constantly, so much so that it moves the entire bed and I can't sleep. Without telling him, I placed a small bar of soap between the sheets near the bottom of the bed on his side. It has been three nights of stillness, with hardly any restless leg syndrome. I hate to even tell him about it, as he would not believe it. But that seems to disprove the psychological effect, as he does not even know that the soap is there. (01/04/2008)
I have no clue why - but the bar of soap thing works. I tried one night out of total desperation. I constantly get the toe/foot cramps at night. I've tried the quinine water (doesn't always work for me)I wear socks to bed at night and I have a small hotel size bar of soap in each of of them. Sounds totally weird but it has worked for the past three weeks. The only other thing that works (but it takes about 15-20 minutes to kick in) is to take an Advil. I would love to know how it works - anybody have an answer for that one. (04/15/2008)
I have been using the soap in the bed for more than a year, and it works 100%, I started with Ivory Soap, but have switched to Irish Spring as the smell is better. The soap would fall out of the bed sometimes, and a cramp would come, so I now place the plain soap in a plastic bag (poly bag) and pin it to the sheet with a safety pin. Works like a charm. You do not need to buy any of the advertised remedies, and one cake of soap will last indefinitely. Sometimes I get a cramp while driving, and for this I take a quarter of a quinine tablet. Stops the pain almost immediately. Been using the quinine for more than 35 years. Just get a few tablets and divide each tablet into four parts (12/11/2008)