Prednisone and leg cramps

Months prior to be diagnosed with PMR, I use to get leg cramps in my right leg thigh and calf. I started taking 250mg of Magnesium Malate powder every night and that seemed to do the trick. I have been taking 15mg of Pred. for 5 weeks and starting to get sporadic cramps in leg muscles I have not heard of, like Tibialis anterior, front of leg next to chin bone, by God that hurts, had to get out of bed put the massage unit on it followed by hot wheat bag! I am also getting some cramps in my hands which I never had before., could be lack of water so have upped my intake and continuing the MM. Perhaps this is not related to my PMR or the Pred. Any comments appreciated.

18 Replies

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  • Pred makes the body lose more magnesium, potassium and calcium through the kidneys. Possibly the dose you were taking before was enough - but isn't now. Perhaps ask your GP to check the potassium and calcium levels too - checking blood magnesium doesn't tell you much about muscle levels though.

  • Thanks PMRpro , helpful, John

  • Does magnesium citrate work the same as magnesium malate for cramps?

    And how much potassium supplement should one take?

    My husband doesn't have PMR and isn't taking Pred, but he has pretty bad cramps in his hands on a regular basis, and in his calves as well. He's taking magnesium citrate, 250, multivitamin for men over 50, but no calcium.

  • It should do - the other bit of the salt (the citrate or malate etc) will benefit other things but not so much the cramps. Before taking a potassium supplement try upping the amount of potassium-rich foods (bananas are the famous source, but also potatoes, sundried tomatoes, dried fruit including apricots, kidney beans and avocado, fish and meat).

    But get him to ask the GP to check his calcium and potassium levels - though I realise that is probably a tall order!

  • Hi there , I get leg / hand cramps ect too always have done . Pred makes you sweat more so you loose potassium . Lack of potassium will give you cramps! I suggest you take a potassium supplement before bedtime. Bananas are a good sorce of potassium and potatoes . Take care , Veronica 👍

  • Plus take potassium with vitamin C as the two work best together 😀

  • Thanks Veronica, wil do. John

  • Hello Hiandri- Try taking apple cider vinegar. You no longer have to drink the stuff. It comes in powder filled capsules now. It has worked marvelously for me in relieving my very significant calf and foot cramps. If you take too much magnesium, you may get very loose stools which means you are not absorbing the nutrients from food but shedding them in your bowels. If drinking the apple cider vinegar, try to couple with absorbent foods, as too much acid is not the best for your stomach. Capsules seem to work best for me. Others may have different ideas as well. This is what has worked for for me at the suggestion of my acupuncturist. I am very pleased with the results.

  • Thanks Joanjo, I was taking apple cider vinegar every morning but as I was getting nausea on the Pred decided to stop taking it because I was concerned about increasing my acid as opposed to having an alkaline body!! Capsules sound great, I guess we are all different. Regards John

  • I take quinine sulphate although quinine seems to be having bad press nowadays. It is magic. Apart from the pred cramp, it seems to run in my family. My grandmother used to have half a tomato with a salt cellar by her bed at nights. My grandfather used to have a piece of marble to put his feet on. My mother had quinine sulphate!

  • What's the bad press about?

  • I am not really sure what it is based on probably the Daily Express, but a friend who has bad cramp stopped taking it because of something that she had heard. When you think what quinine has done for people over hundreds of years.

  • Thanks piglette. I read an old posting where a lady gave a simple leg exercise which I tried plus the extra water I drank yesterday, the result being no camps last night!! John

  • I see both magnesium citrate and magnesium maleate on the shelves. Which is better for cramps?

    Also how much potassium supplement should one take?

  • Hi Hindags.

    I'm no expert but I did a bit of research prior to deciding what form of magnesium was best and came to the conclusion that malate powder was. I take 250mg/night, the container I get holds enough for 3 months and costs about $NZ38. I would need to look into Potassium.

    Regards John

  • You should really supplement potassium without checking with your doctor. Adding high potassium foods is better and bananas, potatoes, dried fruit, avocado, kidney beans, fish and meat are all good sources.

    The citrate and the malate are beneficial for other things - magnesium is magnesium, whatever the salt.

  • I find magnesium flakes in the bath or a foot bath a great help then make up a solution of magnesium falskes and water as rub onto affected area . Chealper to make up yourself than buy -

  • Sounds absolutely miserable. Good point about staying hydrated. Your condition is far more advanced than my occasional calf and foot cramps. I found mag to give me the runs so switched to AC vinegar, thankfully with success. Some days need to take more than others. I'll ask acupuncturist about any other ideas for someone whose in your kind of intense pain with cramps.

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