Steroid injection and leg cramps: Hi, I had a steroid... - NRAS

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Steroid injection and leg cramps

Hapi72 profile image

Hi, I had a steroid injection in my bum 2 days ago and last night I suffered terrible cramps in both calves, I haven't had leg cramps like that before so can't help thinking it's to do with the injection. Has anyone else had similar issues?

I'm currently taking sulphasalazine, naproxen, omeprazole, gabapentin, paracetamol and finally Ramipril for high Bp.

Thanks, Sarah.

27 Replies

I had them as well just after injection. The cramp felt like it would never go. Scared me quite a bit. But soon after that I was pain free for about 4 days.good luck with your injection hope it lasts longer than mine and your also pain free. All the best.

Hapi72 profile image
Hapi72 in reply to cliffsills

Thanks cliffsills, here's hoping they are the start of a pain free period!

I've heard it said that leg cramps are the one thing that patients mention most often to rheumys. So while in your case they could be connected to the steroid injection, that might also be coincidence. I've had leg cramps every single night for years - kind of got used to it! Over the past 6 months or so they've been regular as clockwork at about 5 am. I think a diet rich in potassium can help - some recommend bananas but green leafy vegetables are possibly an even better source. But I have had my sodium, potassium & calcium levels tested and all were fine. Since starting Humira I've had my first cramp free nights! I'm hoping for rather more than that from Humira, but it's a start & does make me think that mine are primarily due to inflammation.

Hapi72 profile image
Hapi72 in reply to

Thanks Postle, Heres hoping mine is down to the injection!

Oldster profile image
Oldster in reply to

I am having the same thing for weeks now after facet shots in my back. But I do know how to instantly stop a cramp. This was on People’s Pharmacy and a couple of doctors figured out why it works but that’s not important. Have a bottle of yellow mustard next to your bed and a teaspoon. When the cramps wake you up, eat a teaspoon of the mustard. Just swallow it. They will stop in a minute or two like magic. The doctors said that pickle juice works too but I’ve never tried that. The mustard has to be plain yellow mustard, not brown or other kinds.

Monkeyshak profile image
Monkeyshak in reply to Oldster

Thank you!!!!!!!

I know this post was 3 years ago, but I just found this on a Google search hoping my comments will help anyone looking for answers.... Yes! absolutely had leg cramps, terrible ones after steroid injections. I know there is a connection bcuz I have had an injection twice now 6 months apart and both times I have had leg cramping as a side effect. The only thing I can say is they do eventually go away, but putting up with the leg cramping is a terrible ordeal.

rc-lien profile image
rc-lien in reply to rhinnrhinn

I had the same leg cramps a few days after my two epidural injection.

Doggie12 profile image
Doggie12 in reply to rc-lien

Hello last week I got the injection I've

Had terrible cramps I guess I'm

Not the only one

How long did it take to get over

It.

Plus it didn't help my back

I know this is an old post, but I have had this same problem. I got a steroid injection in my hip and for the next three months I had horrible cramps in my left calf. After the steroid wore off I didn’t have another one until several months later I got another steroid injection and started having them again. They are terrible and last up to three days. I have to keep my toe pointed 24/7 when the cramp is acting up or my calf will completely spasm. It’s a bummer because the steroid injection actually did help.

I have been getting a steroid hip injection for bursitis about every 4 to 5 months for almost 3 years now. I always get nightly foot, calf and thigh cramps afterwards and this goes on for 2 to 5 weeks before the cramps subside. My foot gets contorted and the pain is horrible. Hyland leg cramps and tonic water which contain quinine help but the relief doesn't last more than an hour, for me, anyway. The same goes for theraworx. I've found that Biofreeze applied before bed and then about once again in the middle of the night after waking up with severe leg cramps, will usually get me thru to the morning. I know that my leg cramps are associated with my steroid injections but when I mention this to my Dr or PA, they aren't aware of the connection. I also cant find this association anywhere in the medical literature. Sure wish they would do a study on this.

I agree! I know they are connected too!! It's frustrating to see my Mom go through so much pain with cramps after her cortisone shot. Also I just had cramps so bad that I was screaming in pain a few days after my cortisone shots. I don't think I will be going back for more.

mgraf1080 profile image
mgraf1080 in reply to Vastel

I know that I'm late to the game on this but I've complained about this to various doctors over the past six years and they all look at me like I'm crazy. I don't know why they can't just google it themselves! Each time I had an injection for my shoulder or hip I had awful leg cramping on one side for 2 weeks straight. Only during the early morning hours.

I thought I was the only one going throught this. I had a cortisone injection in my left knees. Fee days later while I was driving I had the most painful side cramps off and on alternating with my stomach muscles, back muses and leg muscles. These cramps are unpredictable..I hate it. I dont take any other medication. I need to try those leg cramp pills.

I get leg cramps frequently, especially in the calves. I had it a lot before my RA diagnosis too. There seem to be no answers except keep hydrated and try magnesium supplements.

This has happened to me just recently. I have plantar fasciitis and bone spurs so I got a cortisone shot in each foot on Monday. I wouldn't normally jump to the conclusion that the two were related but my Mom has had the same thing happen to her several times.

I have been taking shots for my knees and back for several years and I do bieve the cramps and spasms are directly coming from these steroid shots. For about 4 weeks after shots I have to use heating pad due to cramps in sides. Back feet and legs and hands. My magnesium and electrodes in body are ok

I realize this is pretty old, but wanted to add my comments since I was looking for an answer to the same question. I had Cortizone shots done in my calves about three weeks ago to help me with some neuropathy I was having in my legs and feet. They did what they were supposed to do and the neuropathy is almost completely under control which is nice, but now I have the added benefit of toe and foot cramps every single night multiple times a night. I’ve tried magnesium, Hylands for leg cramps PM, tonic water, Gatorade, bananas, and even added a muscle relaxer to my evening routine. Nothing is bringing relief. I sure hope these will go away. I haven’t had a good nights rest since and I just dread bedtime.

Have4Paws profile image
Have4Paws in reply to Wolfflaw

Wow, I am so happy to have found this string..... I had epidural, facet joint and nerve root injections about 10 days ago in my back. I have been getting epidurals for most of my adult life and have had over 60 in that time. They have saved me from having to have surgery. But this time my doctor gave me 5 shots at once and said I needed to be knocked out (which I normally avoid) as it would be too intense. About 4 days later my right leg (which does have some nerve damage from my back) became ice cold from the knee down. My doctor said it is the sciatic nerve and I probably need another epidural. I said no I wanted to wait and see if it calmed down on its own. About 3-4 days later I started having horrendous leg cramps at night all night, which is not something I have ever had after an epidural before although have had nocturnal leg cramps sporadically through my life, seems to run in my family. But this has been relentless and every night and now both legs are ice cold, I have been wearing knee sox 24/7 in the middle of CA summer! ... then one evening I was sitting on the couch watching TV and my hands started doing it, strangest thing ever and very painful. I called my primary care doctor who I trust implicitly and he said he thinks I am having a reaction to the amount of steroids the pain dr. injected into me which was considerably more than usual. I was like uh, ok.... weird.... but then right after talking to him I found this! Yikes!..... he said it could take a couple weeks to work itself out of my system and in the meantime don't sleep on my back (which I don't anyway) and to use either a muscle relaxant, Benadryl, a benzo or anything that will knock me out at night so my muscles and body are relaxed. He did think the hand thing was weird and not usual but still thinks it is related. We know I am not potassium or magnesium deficient because I take both of those supplementally and I am not dehydrated so he felt confident this was from the steroid injections. Wow, never going to let the pain dr. do that many on me again at one time......

Wolfflaw profile image
Wolfflaw in reply to Have4Paws

I will say that I have now found the magic formula for me. I eat a banana every morning with a glass of orange juice, then I drink a 12 oz Body Armor after every meal (all provide potassium). At dinner, I take 250 mg of magnesium with 250 mg of Calcium. At bed, I repeat the magnesium/calcium, take a muscle relaxer, rub Theraworxx on both feet, Drink a glass of water mixed with Natural Calm (more magnesium) and take 2 Hylands Leg Cramps PM. Other than my normal need to get up and use the bathroom, I now sleep like a baby.

This thread is old, but maybe someone will look like I just did. This works (it's on People's Pharmacy and has been studied by two researchers/docs to find out why): keep a small bottle/jar of yellow mustard (no fancy kind) next to your bed and a spoon. When you wake up with the horrible cramps, swallow a teaspoon of the mustard. In a minutes or so the pain will be gone. You'll still be wide awake and mad, but the pain is gone. :-) Another thing that works is pickle juice but I haven't tried that. The two docs who researched it made a thing to take called "Hot Shot" but again, I just use the mustard.

Yes!!!! I keep telling my doctor that the steroid shots I had in my heels to treat plantar fasciitis has brought on these excruciating leg cramps, and he and the team just keep telling me that I must be mistaken. Staying super hydrated and taking the muscle relaxer Baclofen has been helpful, but I really do want to know the connection with pain and these shots. I never had these cramps before.

See my reply from today. I definitely believe there is a correlation because it happens to me every time I have a steroid shot or epidural. Excruciating leg cramps.

I have noticed this all times I have had epidurals although there is no evidence on-line supporting this thought. However I always go by what an actual patient says and I do believe that leg cramps can often be the result of steroid injections.

NB164 profile image
NB164 in reply to Robinre

How long before they go away?

Hello everyone. Two days ago i was playing flag football with a couple friends and after catching a pass and turning up field to go score I immediately dropped to the ground because I heard and felt my hamstring pop. While on the floor I began cramping everywhere. My shoulders, my calves and my abs. Three days prior i had a cortisone shot administered and I kept wondering to myself what could have caused that. The severity of the pain was intense. My glut area and my hamstring area are so sore right now I am unable to sit on the toilet or drive a car. I will never have one of those shots administered again.

Yes Sarah, I have severe leg cramps and the munchies like no other, it's definitely the injection, because legs were gone before.

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