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Thread: Leg cramps at night any ideas? page

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    Kaytoo's Avatar
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    Leg cramps at night any ideas?

    I've occasionally gotten leg cramps at night for as long as I can remember, but lately it's been happening once every two or three nights. I'm tentatively blaming the fact that I've been doing more exercising-in-flats (the poor woman's Primal-ish shoes) and squats lately, so I'm hopeful that this is an adjustment phase that will pass.

    That being said, I've been wearing these shoes to exercise for a few weeks now, and I'm not doing that many squats (maybe a dozen, unweighted, over the course of a day). Meanwhile I'm regularly getting woken up in the middle of the night with leg pains that can be really surprisingly excruciating. It's weird, too, because sometimes the cramps are in my shins, sometimes in my calves, sometimes in my feet, and sometimes (the worst times) in multiple places at once.

    So far my attempts at fixes have been magnesium supplements (no effect that I've noticed over 2 weeks or so), drinking lots of water before bed (possibly helpful, but has the downside of making me wake up early needing to use the bathroom), and leg stretches before sleeping (haven't been able to tell effectiveness, but sometimes the wrong stretches can actually start spasms before I even get in bed).

    Has this happened to anyone else as a result of shoes/exercise? Is there anything else I can try to make it stop soon? Any advice would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Kaytoo; 04-23-2011 at 04:43 PM.

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    I find magnesium and potassium are the key for me. I supplement both of them and no longer have leg cramps. Adding some potassium rich foods might be sufficient for you. I hate taking potassium, but my muscles just seem to need it.

    You could also try just drinking more water throughout the day instead of right before bed.

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    My husband tends to get leg cramps and potassium and magnesium are also what works for him.
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    Kaytoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jammies View Post
    I find magnesium and potassium are the key for me. I supplement both of them and no longer have leg cramps. Adding some potassium rich foods might be sufficient for you. I hate taking potassium, but my muscles just seem to need it.

    You could also try just drinking more water throughout the day instead of right before bed.
    Hmm, potassium, I hadn't thought of that. Is there any particular reason (other than the general inconvenience of pill-taking) why you say you hate taking it?

    I've always been a pretty big compulsive water-sipper, so I don't think I'm dehydrated. I do drink a lot of espresso with my water, but I've read that the caffeine --> dehydration association isn't really true (and I wouldn't give it up even if it were, let's be honest).

    Thanks for the advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaytoo View Post
    Hmm, potassium, I hadn't thought of that. Is there any particular reason (other than the general inconvenience of pill-taking) why you say you hate taking it?

    I've always been a pretty big compulsive water-sipper, so I don't think I'm dehydrated. I do drink a lot of espresso with my water, but I've read that the caffeine --> dehydration association isn't really true (and I wouldn't give it up even if it were, let's be honest).

    Thanks for the advice.
    I wouldn't mind taking a pill, but potassium chloride pills are only sold in tiny little doses so i would need to take a ton of them. I need a LOT of potassium, but I had a long standing muscle fatigue issue on top of the cramps . Smaller doses would probably work for cramping. So I use the salt crystals which I dissolve in water and drink every night - it is gag-inducing salty!! But it's worth it for me.

    ETA- Yes, I have heard that the caffeine/diuretic study didn't include a control group - so not very reliable data!

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    This is gonna sound dumb but when I was pregnant and had bad leg cramps the nurse said to put a bar of soap at the foot of my bed. It worked. No idea why.

    I second the lack of potassium.
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    I find when I have more than a couple of handfuls of nuts (macadamias and almonds) I get the calf cramps around 5 or 6 am. If I skip the nuts, no cramps. Weird.

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    Potassium is what will fix the cramps. I take 2 99mg potassium citrate caplets every night; no leg cramps since I started.
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    Muscles cramps can be a result of any of your 'salts' being out of whack. Normally the culprit is potassium, but it could also be calcium, magnesium or even sodium. If you are new to this and have lost a lot of weight in a short time, you have also lost a lot of the 'electrolytes' with the water weight. Taking a few supplements should do the trick. That or eating foods high in the 'iums'.

    I think the nuts make perfect sense, they are both high in magnesium. So eating them gets the 'iums' out of proportion, high magnesium low on the others. That throws the muscles out of synch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jammies View Post
    I wouldn't mind taking a pill, but potassium chloride pills are only sold in tiny little doses...
    KCl is also sold as salt substitute or "no salt."

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