Cramp in Calves

First off I’m not looking for a medical opinion. Merely checking to see if anyone else has had this problem and any steps they took to remedy it…

For the past few days I have been awoken early in the morning by extreme cramp in my calves. It’s a most unpleasant way to wake up, even if it is effective in shooting me out of bed.

Mostly it’s in one calf and I place the toes on the floor and gently ease the rest of the leg down. Sometimes I climb back into bed, sometimes I give up as it often hits again in the next few minutes. On occassion both go and thats really nasty.

I heard somewhere that salt content is a factor in cramped muscles but I have no evidence of that fact. It has been unseasonably warm over in the UK and feasibly I have been losing salt through sweat. Footballers (soccer) tend to get it in the latter stages of a game and I believe that that is caused by lactic acid buid up.

As a bit of background I get far too little exercise and perhaps too little sleep, no meds and no other complaints.

So, anyone else suffer from cramp? And if so, how do you deal with it?

Yeah, I get 'em. And they’re a not TOO uncommon problem. I know there are others here who get leg cramps. Man, do they hurt!

My doctor suggested foods with potassium such as milk and bananas because (apparently) low potassium can be a large contributing factor to night cramps. I sure can’t speak to the medical issue there but they did tail off after I took steps to bring up that old K-factor.

I used to get leg cramps like that when I was younger. Hurt like hell, then I discovered that if I held the leg in the same position as when the cramp started and tensed my muscles, it hurt a lot less and faded within a minute or two.
It sometimes felt a bit ‘knotted’ for a while after but that was easy to ignore…

Not had them for a long time now.

That’s just what I was going to say. I ued to get nighttime legs cramps and the doctor said I wasn’t getting enough potassium.

You need more postassium. Have a 'nanner.

Also, drink lots of water in the evening. My mom had these cramps and drinking a lot of water completely eliminated the problem.

Either the water restored some essential balance, or the exercise of getting up frequently eased the cramps. :slight_smile:


They’re called Charlie Horses! No one’s heard of that? And yes, eat lots of potassium. And the only way to relieve them is to get on your feet immediately. That way the muscle gets into the right position, and then relax. And it’ll still hurt all day, but not that mind-crushing pain. And I find once I get them I’m prone to getting them in the same leg for a few days.

Good luck!

I’ve been getting that recently, but its eased off since I started following some of the simple advice on here (not sure if its ok to post a link to a doctor site, but its mostly just stretches and self help). Most especially sleeping with my feet on a pillow helps me a lot.

comments on the advice

Thanks alot for the advice folks. I reckon I drink far too much coffee and not enough water considering the heat. So, I skipped a coffee and grabbed water and a banana.
Will try the stretching and down loads of gin and tonic :smiley:

Must say I found the comments in that link really funny yingtong (and yes the song is in my head now). People seem to be waking up screaming in agony. Yeah it hurts alot, but come on. Really.

And thats the first mention of sarcoidosis I’ve seen in just about anything. Had it a few years ago.

Report back soon.

Nothing gets me out of bed faster than a charlie horse. If I catch it soon enough it won’t hurt into the day.

I started to get one about a week ago. And I do eat a banana every single day and take a multivitamin

In my case, calf cramps were the result of a lack of sodium. Most people get more than enough sodium in their diet, but I was losing it by sweating in the hot sun. Here’s a comparison of sports drinks that contain both sodium and potassium:

If you drink lots of caffeine and not enough water, then it almost certainly is low potassium levels. I suffer other effects when my potassium get low (irregular heart rythym). I had these occassional symptoms for years before I found out what caused it. I discovered at the same time that a common cause of low potassium levels is dehydration. I have to sometimes TELL MYSELF to drink something (especially water). I often finish a meal and realize I didn’t even touch my beverage. I’ve gone many a day with nothing to drink but the milk from my cereal bowl and half a soda.

If you pay attention to your water intake, your potassium level will probably be alright. But if you find it difficult to remember to stay hydrated (as I do), you may want to keep a bottle of potassium supplements around. If you realize you haven’t been drinking enough water for a few days, take one. (Just one. TOO MUCH potassium oddly has similiar symptoms.)

Ugh! I used to wake up with calf cramps too, and it is AWFUL. I can commiserate. The worst is when you wake up and you can feel just a slight twitch in your legs and you think “Fuck it’s going to craAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD”

Not at all effective in shooting me out of bed, though, because any and all motion hurt awfully. I just kind of lied there until it uncramped itself.

But my calf used to cramp up all the time throughout the day too (when I was walking, sitting, standing, basically doing anything at all) and I found that pressing the part of your foot just below the bottom of your toes (where they connect to the foot) into the floor with your knees at 90 degree angles helps. Another good way to kick 'em out is to sit down and lay your legs straight out, then grab your toes and pull them back towards you. (That one I learned in basketball practice.)

Being low in sodium and potassium makes you much more likely to cramp up. If I were you I would talk to a doctor or at least a pharmacist, who will probably recommend bananas, orange juice or supplements. (I used to take diuretics that passed potassium out of my body, and my calves would cramp up when I worked out. I was told to eat a banana right before each time I worked out. It worked decently, but it ended up that I just had to switch to non-diuretic meds.)

That’s what we used to call 'em in basketball games/practice, but I’ve never heard the term in any other context.
BTW, more’n likely you need potassium but you might not need sodium, and increasing your sodium intake may lead to a rise in blood pressure. I was strongly advised to avoid Gatorade because even though it’s good potassium-wise it also has a lot of sodium.