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How To Stop Leg Cramps

Updated on July 19, 2011

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

  • Alcoholism

  • Choosing blood pressure medications

  • Cirrhosis

  • Dehydration

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Diarrhea

  • Diuretics

  • Electrolyte imbalance

  • Flatfeet

  • 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


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    • profile image

      Tony 2 years ago

      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 profile image

      Kudlit 5 years ago from Laguna

      Hey Emile. Glad that helped! I really try to come up with useful content.

    • profile image

      Emile R 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      PaulPd0 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      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!!

    • profile image

      rocky 5 years ago

      thank you its works

      the cramp relive with ice

    • profile image

      Anne 5 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Laura 6 years ago

      A Glass of milk brings instant relief for me!

    • profile image

      me 6 years ago

      what really works then

    • profile image

      Diana 6 years ago

      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.............

    • profile image

      ahwatukeegirl 6 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Gem 6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Tonya 7 years ago

      Rub mustard on the cramp and it will stop and not come back.

    • profile image

      bitc* 7 years ago

      bad and dumb haha kidding

    • profile image

      Smokey 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      steve 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      mowy 8 years ago

      apple cider vinegar helps

    • Kudlit profile image

      Kudlit 8 years ago from Laguna

      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.

    • maven101 profile image

      maven101 8 years ago from Northern Arizona

      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 profile image

      Kudlit 8 years ago from Laguna

      Thanks Sandman.

    • profile image

      TheSandman 8 years ago

      Very useful piece, thank