Today, lets talk leg cramps that happen overnight. Night leg cramps, also called nocturnal leg cramps, are painful, involuntary contractions or spasms of muscles in your legs, usually occurring when you’re in bed. Night leg cramps usually involve your calf muscles, although muscles in your feet or thighs might cramp as well. Forcefully stretching the contracted muscle relieves the pain.
Most of the time, no apparent cause for night leg cramps can be identified. In general, night leg cramps are likely to be related to muscle fatigue and nerve problems.
The risk of having night leg cramps increases with age. Several conditions, such as kidney failure and diabetic nerve damage, are known to cause night leg cramps. But if you have one of these, you’re most likely aware of it and have symptoms other than night leg cramps.
People who are taking certain medications, such as certain diuretics, might be more likely to have night leg cramps, although it’s not known if there’s a direct connection.
Activities that might help prevent night leg cramps include:
- Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
- Stretching your leg muscles or riding a stationary bicycle for a few minutes before you go to bed
- Untucking the bed covers at the foot of your bed
Activities that might help relieve night leg cramps include:
- Flexing your foot up toward your head
- Massaging the cramped muscle with your hands or with ice
- Walking or jiggling the leg
- Taking a hot shower or warm bath
Although once widely used, the medication quinine is no longer recommended because of risks associated with its use. Have further questions? Make an appointment