Night leg cramps-causes and treatments


Also called nighttime foot cramps or muscle cramps, night foot cramps affect adults. Night leg cramps are more common among older people and women than teenagers. However, most cases of night leg cramps are not severe and can be treated at home.

What is Night Leg Cramps?

Night foot cramps are involuntary foot cramps or contractions. Usually, these cramps affect the calf muscle, also known as the gastrocnemius muscle. However, in some cases, the muscles of the anterior thigh, called the quadriceps, or the hind thigh, called the hamstring, can also be affected.

If you have leg cramps at night, you may be asleep or awake. Convulsions usually resolve spontaneously within 10 minutes. After the leg cramps have disappeared almost all day, the legs may become soft or sore. If you frequently experience leg cramps at night, it can disrupt your sleep.

What Causes Night Foot Cramps?

Some cases of leg cramps occur because there is no known cause. This type of foot cramp is known as idiopathic cramp. However, some leg cramps can be a symptom or complication of the underlying health condition. This type of foot cramp is called a secondary foot cramp.

The exact cause of idiopathic seizures is not yet known. However, certain factors can increase your risk of developing night leg cramps.

  • Foot position during sleep

Sleep with your feet and toes extending from the rest of your body. This position is known as sole flexion. The calf muscles are shortened, increasing the risk of muscle spasms.

Excessive exercise can overuse the calf muscles and increase the risk of developing cramps.

To function properly, you need to stretch your muscles properly. If you sit in a specific position for a long time, you are more likely to have convulsions.

Studies show that standing for long periods of time may increase your risk of developing night leg cramps.

Tendons connect your bones and muscles. Over time, tendon lengths tend to get shorter. This may increase your risk of developing seizures.

Night leg cramps are usually not serious. However, these are associated with the following medical conditions and may be symptoms of these medical conditions:

  • Structural problems such as spinal canal stenosis and flat feet.
  • pregnancy.
  • Neurological conditions such as peripheral neuropathy and motor neuron disease.
  • Musculoskeletal condition such as osteoarthritis.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
  • Metabolic status such as diabetes.
  • Certain medications such as diuretics and statins.
  • Specific thyroid, liver, or kidney disease.

When should I see a doctor?

Most night leg cramps are not serious, but it is advisable to see a doctor to check for it. If it is serious, your doctor may be able to correctly diagnose and treat your condition.

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How are night leg cramps diagnosed?

There is no specific diagnostic test to confirm night foot cramps, but doctors may perform several tests to diagnose other underlying medical conditions with foot cramps as a symptom. .. For example, your doctor may measure your blood pressure. This can reveal vascular and heart disease.

If necessary, your doctor may ask you the following questions:

  • When did you start experiencing leg cramps?
  • How do you feel the pain?
  • How long will the cramps last?
  • Are there any other symptoms associated with foot cramps?

Are there treatment options available for night leg cramps?

Night leg cramps are intolerable, but those who experience foot cramps at night do not need treatment.

To avoid the risk of developing night leg cramps, you can try the following precautions:

Before going to bed, stretch your legs properly and straighten them. Bend your legs too.

Massage thoroughly to relax your leg muscles. Gently knead and loosen the muscles of your legs.

Moisture allows your muscles to function normally. Drink plenty of fluids before going to bed to help your leg muscles work and prevent you from experiencing leg cramps at night.

If you had previously had night foot cramps in a particular area of ​​your foot, heat that area. Apply hot water bottles, hand towels, and warm compresses to the parts. If possible, take a hot shower before going to bed. Fever is known to relieve the tight muscles of your body.

  • Take over-the-counter medicine

If you experience foot pain or tenderness after a night cramp, take over-the-counter medications such as naproxen, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen. These medicines relieve pain and pain.


If you have experienced foot cramps at night, you know they can be painful. However, in most cases they are not serious. To reduce the risk of experiencing foot cramps at night, you can fully stretch and massage your feet.

If you experience frequent night leg cramps, it is advisable to consult a doctor. It may be due to the underlying dosing condition. Your doctor will run more tests to see if your foot cramps are severe at night.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the difference between night leg cramps and restless legs syndrome?

Both night leg cramps and restless legs syndrome occur at rest or at night. The difference lies in the amount of pain they cause. Night leg cramps cause severe pain, but restless legs syndrome causes a crawling sensation that makes you want to move your legs.

  1. Are there any specific medications that may increase the risk of experiencing leg cramps?

The drug has side effects. You may experience leg cramps due to certain medications such as:

  • Conjugated estrogens
  • Diuretic
  • Statins
  • Zolpidem
  • Salbutamol or ipratropium
  • Clonazepam
  • Amoxicillin

Talk to your doctor if you experience leg cramps as a side effect of your medication.

  1. Are there any warning signs of night leg cramps?

Unfortunately, foot cramps occur suddenly and there are no signs of warning. However, if you are pregnant or taking certain medications, you may expect night leg cramps as a side effect.

  1. Do medicines help prevent cramps in the legs at night?

At this time, there are no recommended medications that can help completely prevent night leg cramps. However, certain prescription drugs have proven to help prevent night leg cramps. These include:

  • Carisoprodol – A type of muscle relaxant.
  • Diltiazem or verapamil – a type of calcium channel blocker.
  • Orphenadrine – Helps relieve muscle stiffness and pain and treat muscle spasms.
  1. Can night leg cramps get worse?

It is not impossible to predict the severity of your night foot cramps. Many have seen prevention and treatment plans improve foot spasms, while others do not. But your night foot cramps may get worse or more often as you get older.

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