Visit Doctors
Call Doctors
Ask Doctors
54 years
How to treat leg night cramp?
Aug 24, 2014

Dr. Rania Mousa General Medicine
A leg cramp is a pain that comes from a leg muscle. It is due to a muscle spasm, which is when a muscle contracts too hard. It usually occurs in a calf muscle, below and behind a knee. The small muscles of the feet are sometimes affected.

A cramp pain typically lasts a few minutes. In some cases it lasts just seconds, but in some cases it lasts up to 10 minutes. The severity of the pain varies. The muscle may remain tender for up to 24 hours after a leg cramp. Leg cramps usually occur when you are resting - most commonly at night when in bed. (They are often called night cramps.) They may wake you.

Leg cramps are common. The cause is not known in most cases. However, some medications and diseases sometimes cause leg cramps. Regular calf stretching exercises may prevent leg cramps. Quinine tablets may be advised as a last resort if you have cramps regularly.
However, they occur frequently in some people. They increase also as we age meaning they are more presented as we age .


>In most cases the cause is not known. One theory is that cramps occur when a muscle that is already in a shortened position is stimulated to contract
This commonly happens at night in bed, as the natural position we lie in is with the knees slightly bent (flexed), and with feet pointing slightly downwards. In this position the calf muscle is relatively shortened and may be prone to cramps. This theory explains why stretching exercises may cure the problem.

Stretching and massaging the affected muscle can usually relieve an attack of cramp.
Most cramps soon ease off.
Painkillers(such as panadol or advil) are not usually helpful as they do not act quickly enough.
However, these painkillers may help to ease muscle discomfort and tenderness that sometimes persists for up to 24 hours after a cramp has gone.

AT the time of a leg cramp ,you can hold a blanket and put it directly under your affected feet and pull it towards you (if you can make it 90 degree ) it relieve you can ask someone to make it if you can't .

in other times to prevent cramps
-regular calf stretching does help.
-Using a pillow to prop the feet up in bed while sleeping on your back.
-Hanging the feet over the end of the bed while sleeping on your front.
-Keeping blankets loose at the foot of the bed to prevent toes and feet from pointing downwards during sleep.


>some medications are responsible look for your medicines like :
thiazide diuretics and loop diuretics (water tablets), nifedipine, cimetidine, salbutamol, statins, terbutaline, lithium, penicillamine and phenothiazines (prochlorperazine, perphenazine, chlorpromazine).

>Over-exertion of muscles try stretching exercises .
>Dehydration so try drinking more water and fluids

>imbalance of salts in the bloodstream (such as a high or low sodium or potassium level).
Some people who have kidney (renal) dialysis get leg cramps, so look for you salt intake and limit it .

>An untreated underactive thyroid gland ,look for your TSH FT4 AND FT3 if there is a thyroid problem and treat if present .

>Peripheral arterial disease (narrowing of the leg arteries which causes poor circulation).
>Excess alcohol.limit or stop alcohol
>Some uncommon disorders of nerves.
>Rare causes include: cirrhosis of the liver; lead poisoning; sarcoidosis.

AS for treatment options they are used as an end option such as quinine .
however ,other medicines have been suggested as possible treatments for leg cramps. These include magnesium, diltiazem, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, naftidrofuryl, orphenadrine, and verapamil but they do not work for all people .

Therefore ,look for the cause and if no cause or ideopathic look for the tips mentioned if not you can ask the doctor for treatments suitable for your condition and medical history.