Night Time Leg Cramps

Sun, Aug 23, 2009

Legs & Limbs

Night time leg cramps and restless legs syndrome are different from each other.

·         With restless legs syndrome, your legs feel twitchy or uneasy unless you start moving them.

·         For more information, see the post Restless Legs Syndrome.

What are night-time leg cramps?

·         Night-time (or nocturnal) leg cramps are mainly sudden spasms, or tightening, of muscles in the calf. In addition, the muscle cramps can also happen in the foot or in the thigh.

·         They often happen right before falling asleep or after awake.

·         Cramps pain can continue from several seconds to several minutes.

What causes nighttime leg cramps?

Even night-time leg cramps are very common, especially in adults of all ages, sleep researches still don’t know exactly the cause. Luckily, more often than not, it is not due to illness. Several things that may be responsible for leg cramps include:

  • Spending a long time standing on a concrete floor or sitting on it for a long time.
  • Having your legs in uncomfortable positions while you asleep.
  • Doing too much physical exercises or having your muscles excessively strained.
  • Getting dehydrated by running, jogging, playing tennis, or soccer. It  means that your body has lost a lot of fluid.
  • Limited amount of potassium, calcium, and/or other minerals in your blood.
  • Consuming particular medicines, such as antipsychotics, diuretics, birth control pills, statins, and steroids.
  • Having thyroid disease.
  • Having flat feet 

Can I stop my night-time leg cramps when they happens?

As it recommended by many medical and non-medical people that you might try different techniques to stop leg cramps before you select the best for you. Here are some things you can try:

  • Walk around the room, or shake your leg(s).
  • Stretch your calf muscles while you are sitting or standing as follows:
    • While sitting, straighten your leg and flex your foot up toward your knee. Start rotating your foot clockwise and counter-clockwise for a minute or so.
    • Repeat the same exercise by standing upright.
    • Standing about 3 ft (0.9 m) from a wall, lean forward against the wall. Keep the heel and the knee of the affected leg straight and on the ground. You need to bend the other knee to do so. See a picture of how to do this calf stretch below:

Calf stretch

This exercise stretches the calf muscles (the back of the lower leg) and the Achilles tendon. Do this exercise several times a day, every day.

To do this stretch properly:

·         Stand facing a wall or other barrier with your hands at shoulder level.

·         Put the leg about a step behind the other leg.

·         Keep your back heel on the floor and bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in your back leg.

·         Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat several times.



Watch video: How To Deal With Foot Cramp 

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