Leg Cramps

gina_in_flJuly 14, 2009

Really strange: Got a horrific leg cramp last night, so I Googled Leg Cramps and came up with a GardenWeb answer I posted a few years ago.

I live in FL and summer in NJ, and I only get the leg cramps in NJ. The only difference I can think of is that in NJ I have lots of stairs to contend with. I eat in NJ just about the same as I eat in FL, so diet shouldn't be in the mix. I walk the dog about as much as I do in FL, so it shouldn't be in the mix.

Could the differences in *stairs* be the difference?? Just wondering. Maybe the difference in water... I drink tap in NJ, mostly bottled in FL (tap tastes horrible in my area)

What do you think?

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Is this cramp like a charly horse in that the calf muscle balls up? Do your toes turn under and you have to pull your toes up to get the cramp to release? Try eating a banana or get some potassium tablets. Leg cramps can be caused by low potassium. People who work outside in the heat and sweat a lot need to take potassium supplements and drink a lot of water to keep their body hydrated and replace lost potassium.

There have been posts on here from people who swear by putting a bar of soap between the sheets at the foot of the bed to cure leg cramps. Never tried it so don't know. If you do try it let me know if it works.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 4:17PM
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I started getting leg cramps in perimenopause. I don't know how old you are.
I've found that calcium and magnesium help with mine.
And yes, I found that stairs would cause them most of the time. When it happens, straighten your leg out and bend your toes as far towards your leg as you can (dorsiflex). That would help mine.
Be sure to drink lots of water too. Dehydration can bring cramps on.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 9:27PM
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Pris: Actually, I eat more bananas up here than I do in FL, but I really want to try the 'bar of soap' fix! More out of curiosity than anything. Believe me, I've not been sweating up here... used to the FL heat and humidity, so the sweatshirts and pants go on every evening! :)

catherinet: My only 'remedy' as of yet is to go out onto the back patio with the cold concrete and bricks and lean far forward. I'm past the menopause, but come to think of it,,, that may have been when the leg cramps started. I can't do anything about the stairs... have to use them 20-30 times a day minimum. Have noticed that my freezer is higher in FL, use my tippy-toes a lot... don't have to do that in NJ, maybe different use of calf muscles contribute.

Thanks for your responses!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 1:36AM
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I don't get them that often so forget about the soap trick until I get one in the middle of the night. Consequently have never tried it. There was a long discussion over on the KT forum so if you ask over there they will be able to tell you if there are any special instructions for it. (such as what kind of soap or if you can wrap it in something and so on)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 6:15PM
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I really encourage you to start taking calcium and magnesium supplements. I bet they'd really help.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 8:30PM
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I agree....leg cramps are caused by a lack of calcium and lack of water....and because your calcium absorbtion is affected by vitamin D level, you need to take vitamin D...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 8:33PM
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Lack of potassium is another big culprit, bananas and baked potatoes are both excellent sources of potassium. My husband used to suffer nightly leg cramps, now one banana a day and he is cramp free.

The hydration is important too for more reasons than just cramping, so make sure you are drinking 4-6 bottles of water a day. I live in Phoenix so I know how important hydration is!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 8:44AM
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I actually get leg cramps from eating too many bananas. You need a mix of potassium, magnesium and calcium. When my DD had 'growing pains' (painful nightime leg cramps), she was given a liquid Magnesium called Magonate. Worked great!!! She was getting enough calcium and potassium from her diet... just missing the needed magnesium.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 12:36PM
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Lydia....is that an over-the-counter product? Did it ever give your daughter diarrhea?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 4:52PM
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Catherinet - It was behind the counter, we had to ask the pharmacist for it. She only took it when she had the leg cramps and no, she didn't have a problem with diarrhea... although I'm sure if she had taken it daily she may have had that problem.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 11:29PM
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I haven't been able to stretch in the morning when I wake up like I used to because of my toes going out of place. Ouch! They do slip back in place by them selves, but they really hurt. I am going to a doctor who specializes in arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis tomorrow and am going to ask her what causes this. If I learn anything will let you all know.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 2:52PM
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I have had excruciating leg cramps for over 10 years, I have been medicated by every Dr I have seen and believe me I have tried it all from general,chiropractor neurologist to natural medicine. When I realized I have very bad nights when I drink wine of any kind I finally started thinking maybe I was on to something, I write down what I eat and if I get muscle spasms I take out anything new in my diet. I can go for weeks and even months if I'm very careful. I had tried every medication that was out there for Parkinson to restless legs. (not restless legs, I have sometimes and it is totally different) I always thought it was a nerve in my back as its onset was when I had a herniated disk but am now thinking sulfite's or something in the foods and the wines. If anyone has a suggestion on what it could be that is effecting me I would appreciate it.You can guess after 10 years there isn't much I haven't tried.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 11:28PM
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There's some relation in my body between eating sugary things and leg or foot cramps. That is, I only seem to get them when I've eaten a bowl of ice cream or some candy or the like. Anyone know what the connection is? PS: I had leg cramps last night while in bed and tried the much-heralded (but deeply suspect) bar-of-soap-in-the-bed method. Didn't work. . .

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 6:13PM
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I have a very good friend that often has trouble with cramps.
Often in his legs, but sometimes in hands, too.
His blood work showed that his potassium & all other things were within the normal range.
His doctor told him that when he gets a cramp, or feels one coming on, to drink a small glass of Tonic water. Be sure it is a brand that has quinine in it.
It works like a charm.
The cramp is gone almost immediately.
The doctor told him that they used to prescribe quinine, but the powers that be are discouraging that now.
But a small glass of Tonic water is easily available, and not at all harmful.
And it works for cramps.
Please, don't take potassium tablets unless they have been prescribed by a doctor.
Too much potassium can be very harmful!


    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 12:27PM
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Believe me the soap under the sheet works really well - I've been told not to use any soap beginning with D [Dove, etc] but I've used home made soap with the best results. It goes under the bottom sheet, about a foot up from the bottom of the bed and about a foot in from the edge of the bed. It's certainly a benign treatment, and let's face it, if it doesn't work, you can still use the soap. Oh yes, take the wrapper off!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 4:33PM
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I tried quinine water & the tabs. for restless leg syndrome & later felt like I had the flu... found out I am one of the persons who can't take quinine in any form! Am on L-dopa now for the restless legs.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 8:57PM
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I've been suffering the leg cramps for about 6 months now. I hate taking medications and will try anything natural. I've tried calcium and magnesium supplements, olive leaf extract and potassium. All seem to work for a little while then they come back. Went to my local health food store and they suggested a tablespoon of black strap molasses daily. It has worked for about the last 2 months. I've been able to reduce it to about a tablespoon every other day and that seems to be working. I have found that if I miss taking it for a couple of days, they slowly start making their way back. Most of them come on while I am sleeping. The ones in the thighs are the worst, they tend to pull in all different directions, getting out of bed is almost impossible. My husband has to begin rubbing it out before I'm even able to get out of bed to walk. I'm sticking with the molasses for now. I do stretch before going to bed as well. That also seems to help.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 9:54AM
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The arthritis doc said my toe cramps weren't cramps, it was arthritis and the joints can't support the toes anymore. all the pain I have, feet, knees and shoulders is arthritis. It really came on fast. The doc said all you can do is take pain pills and she gave me a presc for Voltarin cream. It helps, but the side effects which I don't have yet are horrible.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 5:36PM
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To anyone who has leg or any muscle cramps. RAID THE VITAMIN CLOSET.

I have had muscle cramps all my life. Not just in my legs but other muscles too and I sometimes get deep muscle cramps.I never felt labour pains for the cramps in my legs. Well I finally thought enough is enough and I did some research. I found out lack of Calcium is most often the culprit, followed by other vitamins. Since I take plenty of Calcium, I tried Vitamin C and it worked. My sister takes Vitamin E for hers and it works for her too. I know some say lack of potassium, but this is not always the case. Taking potassium suppliments as someone suggested is a no-no. My pharmacist says they can be deadly and unless a doctor prescribes them you should not fool with them. The body stores Potassium.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 12:15PM
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Everyone thinks since they are "natural" they are safe. To much calcium can cause bone pain. I would consult a doctor to see if you have a deficiency. To much can cause a slow heart rate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calcium information

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 4:45PM
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Well vala I beg to differ. You should know better than to take the advice of those selling things on the internet!! That page is inacurate to say the least.

I have Osteoporosis. I take 1500 MG of Calcium daily. That is the recommended dosage for seniors and people with Osteo. It is recommended by Doctors and the Osteoporosis society. In the 10 years I have been taking this amount I have never had bone pain from it.

The best Calcium to take is Calcium Carbonate-- not mentioned in your article. Calcium is not stored in the body. Excess Calcium is excreted by the body in our urine. The best way to get Osteoporosis is not to take Calcium either in tablets or food and it is not a very nice thing to have.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 5:14PM
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