Nightly leg cramps.: I have been getting leg cramps... - NRAS


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Nightly leg cramps.

00424291 profile image

I have been getting leg cramps almost every night for awhile. Can’t seem to figure out what is triggering the leg cramps. I notice that they are worse, if I have been on my feet more, during the day. Does anyone else have this issue, and any helpful thoughts would be appreciated.

23 Replies

I stretch out my calves by standing on a step and hanging heels off a step for 30 seconds x 3 with a wee gap inbetween. I usually hold on to something! I sometimes get up in the night to do it. And yes worse if I’ve been walking more than usual.

I don't get cramp but my husband does these exercises too. Seem to work for him. x

Yes, I regularly get leg , but mainly foot cramps and they are definitely worse after more movement than I would usually do. I have suffered from leg cramps for years, long before I had RA.

Stretching my leg / foot out helps and keeping my feet warm also helps with the toe cramps.

Fruitandnutcase profile image
Fruitandnutcase in reply to Mmrr

Just been speaking to my son on the phone. His girlfriend had 8 stitches put in her to a week or so ago following a very nasty accident - well she was back at the hospital today - seems that at some point in the night she had the most massive foot cramp that actually pulled two of her stitches out! Ouch - the fixed it with strips and gave her antibiotics. Just goes to show the forces involves when you get cramp.I’ve tried all sorts of things for cramp - tonic water doesn’t work, neither do crisps, magnesium baths. I’ve found that it helps to get my foot flat on the floor straight away even if it means having to get out of bed. Once I get it flat the cramp and pain goes away. I’ve got an adjustable board that I stand on to stretch out my tight calves, think that helps a bit.

I usually have to stand up or at least put my foot flat…super annoying…have tried all the usual remedies, but sadly, with no relief. Anyone know what causes cramps? Often, just a simple change of position, will start a cramp.

That’s me, I can get cramp just by lying in a certain position. My spine is very weird so I imagine that has something to do with something pressing somewhere it shouldn’t that causes mine.

You’re right it is annoying having to get up and put your foot flat but it does get rid of the cramp straight away.

I really hate when I get a cramp that is so bad the muscle still hurts next day.

I get leg cramps and foot cramps and I find if I have drove that day my foot cramps are worse of a night .. I drink lots of water but still get them.

I also got lots of leg cramps before an RA flare and this combined with a burst bakers cyst which has been quite debilitating. Now discovered I also have some cartilage and ligament damage. Both knee surgeon and RA consultant agreed to give me a further big steroid injection after previously aspirating and injecting the knee with steroid (relief only lasted 10 days) so am hoping that the relief that I now have will last longer.

Dehydration can cause leg cramps, so can low sodium levels and I think low magnesium levels. And exercise involving being on your feet.

My husband told me about the salt years ago, he used to be a competitive swimmer and said it is a regular problem for some swimmers.

Then I had a nasty experience a week ago. Methotrexate lowers my sodium levels and then my thyroid became more underactive following a bout of covid. I had a lot of nasty symptoms which the very helpful people on the thyroid UK board explained was cortisol levels being wrong and they recommended a sodium and potassium fruit juice cocktail which sorted out my problems, including the leg cramps.

If you have regular blood tests you might get tested for sodium and potassium levels, have a look.

This is a link to the health online website. I find them quite helpful for explaining things like this.

Jmfb1911 profile image
Jmfb1911 in reply to JenniferW

Was the sodium and potassium fruit juice cocktail, something you can purchase otc?

JenniferW profile image
JenniferW in reply to Jmfb1911

No, you make it yourself, these are the links:

I am not sure how to source potassium in the UK, so I have just eaten more bananas,

I put a quarter of a teaspoon of salt in a glass, squeeze half a lemon into the glass and top up with water to about half a pint.

I have also tried a small glass of fresh orange juice, dilute a bit with water and a quarter teaspoon salt. They both work, but I found too much OJ made my stomach acidic, whereas the lemon juice makes your stomach less acidic, rather counter-intuitively.

I have the lemon juice drink if I wake up shaking in the night and/or in the morning and some fruit juice and salt in the afternoon and some orange squash and salt in the evening so my tummy doesn't get upset.

I have two things that might help first off put a bar of soap between your bottem sheet and mattress and also add tonic water and frink some of that every night. xxx

I get leg cramps lying in bed sometimes and, like you, find I have to get out of bed and stand with foot flat on the floor or walk 🚶‍♀️around a bit to ease it. That works … but it wakes me up and then it can take a while to get back to sleep. 🙄 I do the calf stretches on the stairs that Madmusiclover suggests and Pilates hamstring stretches with a dynaband to try to stop them happening.

Maybe you can take supplements of magnesium. That is supposed to help with muscle cramps. Though if it is very serious (maybe you can let your magnesium level be checked in your blood?) then you might need a magnesium injection?

I have arthritis in my big toe and it’s really painful just now, I strap a bandage to support it but when I take my shoe off it’s so sore. The other night I woke up with cramp actually in my ankle, I tried to put my foot flat but between my toe and the cramp it was agony. I’ve never had cramp in my ankle before, it’s usually in back of legs or toes. I’m not a salt lover but I have started putting more salt in my food to see if it helps.

Hi 004, I suffered with night cramps, I started to use Epsom salts & have a bath (initially a whole bag in at one). I struggled getting in & out & the bat & the nutritionist said to just soak my feet in a bowl again with a good helping of salts for at least 20mins, you still absorb the magnesium into your Feet & legs & helps a great deal for relaxing your feet & leg muscles & joints. I also added in a magnesium supplement before bed, thankfully my cramp settled & now I don’t have it at all & only take the supplement twice a week. I did see a private Dr who also did functional medicine & she said as we age generally we get low in magnesium but with our RA & our drugs we deplete even more, so we just need to top it up.. so granny’s wise old obsession of their Epsom salt baths once or twice a week has a lot to consider..

Hi, I get severe cramp in my left foot at night, or whilst swimming. I’ve taken magnesium for years to help with muscle spasms, drink tonic water and still get them. I find rubbing magnesium oil into my foot, reduces them. I also find if my foot is in dorsiflexion, with foot at 90 degrees helps, so have a splint I wear on bad nights. Drink plenty as dehydration worsens it.

I've always suffered with leg cramps but infrequently or I get a bout of them, years ago my husband gently slapped my calves, it really helps, now if I get them I slap my calves 🤣 (still got the hubby) they're always much stiffer the next day & feel if I stretch them they'll go into another spasm so I'm careful not to overstretch them that day, hope this helps x

Eat a banana before bed! They are full of brilliant vitamins which help with leg cramps and also aid sleep - so a win, win in my book!

I take magnesium supplements and at least one banana a day not quite as bad but still get them a lot. I try to stretch out my legs too but very hot and miss when it happens

I have two bulging lower discs and often get leg cramps, especially at night and they are worse if I have been on my feet. I take Magnesium supplements but not convinced they make a difference. I usually jump out of bed, stretch my feet my leaning forward and pressing on my toes and walk around.

I don't want to scare you but perhaps you should ask your GP to test your blood coagulation levels, it can be a symptom of bad circulation in the legs from a blood clot.

I had cramps in my calf for years. My doctor put me on . Quinine and that solves the problem

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