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Nocturnal Leg Cramps
(Muscle Cramps; Nocturnal Muscles Cramps; Age-Related Cramps)
|The Calf Muscles|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Overexertion of the muscles
- Standing on hard surfaces
- Prolonged sitting
- Certain leg positions while inactive
- Blood pressure medicines
- Statins (that lower cholesterol)
- Age over 50
- Staying in certain positions for a long time
- Flat feet or other foot or ankle deformities
- Neurologic diseases
- Certain medicines
- Parkinson's disease
- Hormone disorders (such as thyroid imbalance)
- Chemical imbalances (for example, calcium, potassium, magnesium)
- Blood tests
- Checking your foot pulses for good circulation
- When cramps occur, pull against them with your leg muscles. Also, grab your foot (feet) and pull up.
- Standing on the affected leg often stops the cramping.
- Massage and hot or cold treatments help the muscles relax.
- Diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benadryl)
- Quinine sulfate
- Simple muscle relaxants (for example, meprobamate, Equanil, Robaxin)
- Verapamil hydrochloride (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan)
- Chloroquine phosphate (Aralen)
- Hydroxychloroquine sulfate (Plaquenil)
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- Phenytoin (Dilantin)
three times a day and just before going to bed.
- Face a wall, put your hands on the wall, and keep them there. Step backward. Keep your knees locked. Keep your heels on the floor until you feel a strong pull in your calves. Hold that position for 10 seconds. Repeat two or three times.
- Exercise feet and legs regularly.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Eat plenty of potassium-rich foods. These include bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, oranges, and grapefruit.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
- Sleep with toes up, not pointed downward.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.aaos.org
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Allen RE, Kirby KA. Nocturnal leg cramps. Am Fam Physician. 2012 Aug 15;86(4):350-5.
Butler JV, Mulkerrin EC, et al. Nocturnal leg cramps in older people. Postgrad Med J. 2002;78:596-598.
Garrison SR, et al. The effect of magnesium infusion on rest cramps: randomized controlled trial. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011;66(6):661-666.
Nocturnal leg cramps. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com. Updated August 23, 2012. Accessed October 24, 2012.
2/11/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: http://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: El-Tawil S, Musa T, et al. Quinine for muscle cramps. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(12):CD005044.
- Reviewer: John C. Keel, MD
- Review Date: 10/2012
- Update Date: 10/31/2012