Calf cramping at night: I know we have discussed... - LUPUS UK


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Calf cramping at night

Natura profile image

I know we have discussed this before about increasing potassium because of calf cramping, but I have some issues with my kidneys where I have read that potassium should be limited. What does anyone do about this dilemma? I need minerals, but don't want to stress my kidneys.

14 Replies

I have kidney issues and also get cramping. The way I deal with it is to judge what has a greater importance at the time. When my kidneys were very poorly I judged it was better to keep them going. When they are ok I allow more potassium into my diet .

Oh as i know you try natural remedies, if you are drinking coconut water, be aware that it is high in potassium.

At least one of the drinks i had was.

It could be good for a quick potassium fix or something to be avoided depending on where you are at with the kidneys

Thank you overnight.....that was the next plan for me was to monitor which I needed more. I was having problems with my kidneys the past couple of days so I think I will wait on the potassium. I don't drink coconut water anymore. So far the cramps are minimal at night. But, I don't want them to get worse. Thanks for the insight.

Yes, make sure you're well hydrated. And yes, coconut water, appropriately used, is full of potassium. Etc etc

PLUS: what has really stopped my years & years of persistent recurring calf cramps, has been intensive daily gastrocnemius stretching...apparently this is a classic treatment which few consultants bother to suggest: it's worked like a dream for me! The multisystem disease ortho surgeon who prescribed it for me last autumn is now my hero. After the first few weeks of his type of stretching, my cramps now in my 27th week and no cramps have returned...Who knows, maybe this could help you too...if you want details, let me know

Natura profile image
Natura in reply to Barnclown

Barnclown....awesome...would love to know more...

Barnclown profile image
Barnclown in reply to Natura


First though, best to check with your drs /physio before undertaking this

According to my consultants, systemic lupus can affect our tendons...especially in our extremities (hands, feet, lower legs) causing a gradual tightening that crowds our soft tissues and contributes to cramping. My version of this in my lower legs & feet is severe, and has been progressing all my life to the point where my walking & standing became very limited by 2008. My feet (& hands) are also affected by several other diagnosed conditions as well as this tendon tightening.

Last autumn, a foot wizard prof ortho surgeon explained how he felt I could most possibly improve the condition of my tendons:

8 weeks of 40min per day of gastrocnemius stretching (the prof specified the hands outstretched against a wall with a leg stretched way back knee locked flat version of this type of stretch) at the rate of 20min in the a.m. & 20min in the p.m.: alternating legs & holding each stretch for 1 minute

As it's turned out for me, my persistent recurring calf cramps stopped within a few weeks of starting this regime, but i've had to continue this regime for 27 weeks to achieve the greatest results generally in my feet & lower legs, e.g. to really really more effectively help my standing & walking....and now I understand that I should I expect to need to continue this stretching more or less daily for the rest of my life

Again, I do urge you to check with your drs & physio etc before you attempt such a regime..., and to look online so that you understand the principles & techniques. E.g. I had been doing these stretches as part of my daily regime for years, but never in as concentrated and long term a manner.

I googled gastrocnemius stretching & liked this link a lot:


Let me know how you get on

Natura profile image
Natura in reply to Barnclown

thanks barnclown...that's a long time 20 minutes. I may get bored.. Ha! Will try and thanks for link.

Barnclown profile image
Barnclown in reply to Natura

Boring is right! that prof ortho surgeon wondered if I'd comply....but boy oh boy did I comply: the positive results were obvious in the first week & over 5 months have been downright miraculous!

My feeling is that it's worth asking health professionals if even a less arduous version of this regime might help sort out a predisposition to chronic calf cramps

while stretching, I distract myself by listening to the radio & looking out the window....AND I remind myself that, after decades of disability, pain, fatigue etc etc, this physio regime (along with daily hydroxy+myco & all my other SLE-related daily routines) is giving me back my life & mobility. No way do I want to go back to living like that if I can help it...and this is a 'last resort'....for my lower legs & feet, only surgery is left (highly risky in my case cause of my secondary conditions)

So, 27 weeks of this 40minutes per day physio has been totally tolerable cause of the extraordinary results I'm getting.....but I have no illusions this could help everyone as much as it has me

wishing you all the best

My leg/foot cramps had gotten so bad that my foot literally turned completely around one time. My husband thought I'd broken it when I started screaming. That sent me to the doctor. He said that it isn't potassium that you are lacking, it's magnesium. But he said that magnesium pills wouldn't work. He told me to take it in powder form and to get this brand: PURE ESSENCE LABS Ionic-Fizz Magnesium Plus Raspberry Lemonade. You put a scoop into hot water and drink up...tastes nice. Anyway, when I'm in the throws of a cramp, I'll drink this and literally within a few minutes the cramp will fade away. Hope this helps.

Natura profile image
Natura in reply to carotopgal

Thank u so much....I has a feeling it wasn't potassium either. I was figuring mag because when I took a multi. Mineral it seemed better, but I couldn't isolate what mineral. Thanks so much. Mag ok for kidneys. Only have to watch potassium and phosphorous. Thank u!!!!

My mother got bad calf cramps but didn't have lupus. She treated it with tonic water (as recommended by her GP). Might this be a good idea for lupies?

I have had problems with cramp in a lot of placing mostly feet though stretching is the only way I deal with it, when you get cramp the mussels become knotted and that is where the pain starts, stretch the mussels and then try and relax with deep breaths to get the oxygen through your body

Natura profile image
Natura in reply to Kedaco

Thanks Kedaco....I try to stand on it to make it unknot. I can see my foot and toes twisting. I forget to breath sometimes when I feel pain..good advice to deep breathe. Thanks.

Kedaco profile image
Kedaco in reply to Natura

Your welcome, the stretching has to be done in the most relaxed way you can after all it is the tension that is one of the courses of the cramps and a little stretching even when you haven't got cramp can help.

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