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".
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
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.
By Irene M.
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 ;)
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.
By Madeleine N.
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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
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.
Hylands Leg Cramp Remedy, available at Walmart. I suffered from leg cramps for years until I found this product.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Try calcium, Magnesium, zinc.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
I suffer form night leg cramps. I have kidney disease which prevents taking potassium or magnesium. I need suggestions please.
I have found moist heat is very helpful in relieving cramps. I either take a hot shower or use a moist heating pad. If you make a home made heating pad with long grain rice, it makes an excellent moist heating pad.
Hope this is helpful,
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What is good for leg cramps?
Marie From Petersburg, VA
After a while, this will stop working. When it does, just replace the bar of soap with a new one and put the "old" one in the shower.
No one knows why this works, but it does! (10/25/2006)
By Ruth Wiebe
I used to get cramps in my legs before my doctor put me on Potassium supplements. I take medicine for my high blood pressure. That makes your body low in potassium. I see others here have posted about potassium and other minerals as well.
Don't drink salt water if you have high blood pressure, please. BTW, salt substitutes (aka "low" salt) are potassium chloride which if used would help your potassium shortage. Regular salt, sodium chloride wont help you IMHO. (10/25/2006)
By Carol in PA
We use COAST SOAP (2) bars, one for each of us. IT WORKED, no more leg cramps at night. Our sheets Are Scented With Coast. Try to keep your feet touching the soap. We were told that IVORY does not work!
If this fails to help you, then seek a doctor's help. (10/26/2006)
Pinch the skin under your nose tight till you feel the pain go away. hope it works for you. (08/05/2007)
My son was cursed with the same problem and every time he started cramping I would give him salt water. Within thirty seconds to a minute the cramps would go away and wouldn't come back the rest of the night.
I am almost forty now and I still use the salt method. It may not be a good idea for someone with high blood pressure but I am telling you, IT WORKS!
Just yesterday I woke up with a cramp right beside my shin bone, so I immediately went to the kitchen, grabbed the salt, poured about a teaspoon in my hand, tossed the salt straight into my mouth and washed it down with a few drinks of soda. Fifteen second later - NO CRAMPS! (06/09/2008)
I always use liquid body wash so I went nuts looking in the closet last night. Lo and behold, found one.
Thanks, finally got a good night's sleep. (07/21/2008)
If you have leg cramps at nighttime, while trying to sleep, keep a salt shaker on your nightstand.
My husband has experienced some bad leg cramps at night during the past couple of months. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my senior brain I had "filed" this homegrown remedy.
I get leg cramps at night, even though I take calcium. I read that if you put a bar of soap, preferably Dial, under your top sheet near your feet the cramps will go away.
I would love a home remedy or supplement suggestion for toe, foot, and leg cramps. I have been getting all of these with increased frequency.
For aches, cramps and pains in the legs, take off the wrapper from a bar of soap (any brand) and place it near the bottom of your bed between the top and bottom sheets.