How To Stop Leg Cramps
Sudden, painful and involuntary contractions of the leg muscles is what you feel when you have leg cramps. Often, only the calf muscles contract but feet muscles and thigh muscles can sometimes be affected. Leg cramps that happen when you are sleeping or resting in bed are called, oddly enough, “night leg cramps”.
The cause of leg cramps is not clear. Most leg cramp sufferers are otherwise healthy and have no underlying medical conditions. A very small percentage of leg cramp sufferers will have underlying illnesses such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease.
The more you advance with age, the more prone you become to night leg cramps. Also, pregnant women have a higher likelihood of experiencing leg cramps.
Let me reiterate that most leg cramps have no known cause. However, the following conditions are associated with leg cramps:
- Addison's disease
- Choosing blood pressure medications
- Type 2 diabetes
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Kidney failure, chronic
- Muscle fatigue
- Oral contraceptives
- Parkinson's disease
- Pregnancy symptoms: What to expect during the second trimester
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Gastric bypass surgery
Again, experiencing painful night leg cramps doesn't mean that you also have the conditions outlined above.
What You Can Do To Stop Leg Cramps
Here's one of the easiest yet effective way to stop leg cramps immediately. Find the spot where the bottom of the center of your nose and your upper lip meet. Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch it. You should soon feel relief from the leg cramp. I know it sounds pretty simple but it works!
Here's a video that talks about leg cramps when running.
Here's some more self care tips from Mayo Clinic:
- Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
- Wearing shoes that have proper support
- Stretching your leg muscles, or riding a stationary bicycle, for a few minutes before you go to bed
- Untucking the bed covers at the foot of your bed
Activities that might help relieve night leg cramps include:
- Flexing your foot up toward your head
- Massaging the cramped muscle with your hands or with ice
- Walking or jiggling the leg
- Taking a hot shower or warm bat
Tony on May 26, 2015:
I hope this helps someone. I know this is uncomfortable but I have found if I sleep sitting up or in a rocking chair, I never get the cramps. I go to bed for 45 minutes and can feel the pulses in my calves. I get up and go to the love seat or chair and sleep. I would rather be uncomfortable than in terrible pain.
Kudlit (author) from Laguna on October 15, 2012:
Hey Emile. Glad that helped! I really try to come up with useful content.
Emile R on October 07, 2012:
Unbelievable. My husband was just having a painful leg cramp. I googled a remedy, found your hub, read your nose trick to him, he tried it and had immediate relief. Thanks for the tip.
PaulPd0 from Los Angeles, California on September 10, 2012:
I use a natural product called Stops Leg Cramps. It contains apple cider vinegar which I saw someone else mention in the comments above, but then it also has ginger and garlic. The liquid mixture works amazingly fast - you should give it a try Kudlit!!
rocky on May 15, 2012:
thank you its works
the cramp relive with ice
Anne on January 03, 2012:
Cramp 911 works for me also but I will try the nose pinching too. It would be a lot cheaper! I get leg cramps on calf but worse ones up the front of my legs and my feet and ankles feel like they are turning inside out. Don't know if it is age or gastric bypass. I started having them before bypass but I was diabetic then so lots of possible sources. The cramp 911 worked quickly on my legs.....took a little longer on my feet. Good luck!
Laura on September 24, 2011:
A Glass of milk brings instant relief for me!
me on August 27, 2011:
what really works then
Diana on August 26, 2011:
Put a bar of soap under your bottom sheet near your foot.
Not a "D" soap as in Dial or Dove. Don't know how it works, but it does. Just put your foot on the bar and in minutes the cramp relaxes. I carry a bar when I travel. Try it - what have you got to loose.............
ahwatukeegirl on January 27, 2011:
Cramp911 works fast and it's safe. You can find it most anywhere--magnesium and copper. Good luck. Runs in our family, so we've all dealt with this one for a long time. Run from the BenGay-type stinky stuff - doesn't work on cramps. Hydrate!
Gem on January 05, 2011:
I can’t believe this works, I’m amazed. My mum was jumping around the room in pain for 5 minutes until I found this. Thanks
Tonya on July 18, 2010:
Rub mustard on the cramp and it will stop and not come back.
bitc* on July 11, 2010:
bad and dumb haha kidding
Smokey on February 05, 2010:
Steve is the name of the owner of the company that makes Leg Relaxer. I wonder if "steve" who posted here is the same? Interesting mention of Mom on the post and on the Leg Relaxer website made me think that there is a connection. Not that the product doesn't work - but he could be biased. Just saying
steve on December 17, 2009:
Actually, I found a terrific product for restless legs Syndrome. It is an herbal lotion in a roll-on type bottle. It has herbs to quell over-active nerves and also ones to relax muscles. My Mom uses it for leg cramps and I tried it on my restless legs. It worked great. I was really surprised because it worked in like, 5 minutes. I’ve tried lots of supplements and stuff and nothing has worked before. The stuff is called Leg Relaxer and I bought it from a company called Nature’s Rite. You should probably try it for your restless legs. … No sense dancing when you should be sleeping.
mowy on July 07, 2009:
apple cider vinegar helps
Kudlit (author) from Laguna on May 11, 2009:
Thanks Larry. I just google "how to stop leg cramps" and this hubpage is currently number 9. Not bad huh? considering I only created is yesterday.
Larry Conners from Northern Arizona on May 11, 2009:
Hey...It works..! My wife was getting a leg cramp this morning, so taking your seemingly inane advise to pinch one's upper lip/lower nose area, it worked, almost immediately...
The stuff you can find on these Hubs pages is astounding..! Thanks for this informative Hub...and welcome to Hub Pages...
Kudlit (author) from Laguna on May 11, 2009:
TheSandman on May 11, 2009:
Very useful piece, thank