Cramping in Feet and Legs during Sleep

catalinaclair
By catalinaclair Latest Reply 2009-03-09 20:35:56 -0500
Started 2008-05-27 12:28:55 -0500

Has anyone ever experienced cramping in their feet or legs even going up the inner thigh while trying to sleep at night? I've been prescribed Flexeril and Neurontin, but nothing helps relieve it. I have bought over-the-counter leg cramp tablets which contain mostly quinine, but it only seems to alleviate some of the cramping. I am Vitamin D deficient, which is unusual, but I take 1.25mg. prescribed Vitamin D weekly. If I wake up with cold clammy sweats during the very early morning, and my heart feels like it is shaking in my chest, if I take my accuchek, it's very low. Then I'll eat a cup of low-carb cereal with skim milk and it's back up to over 300. Then I have to take insulin. When I try to go back to sleep, I start with more cramping in my feet and legs. Anyone else ever experience those symptoms? It's worse then my neuropathy.


38 replies

MeiMei
MeiMei 2009-03-09 10:53:26 -0500 Report

I have taken vit B complex for the leg cramps and it has helped to lessen them but the best thing for it was the requip (generic ropinirole) I have found that to be the best. It is prescribed for restless leg syndrome.

2009-03-07 00:10:41 -0600 Report

SERIOUSLY, try adding some calcium to your diet, and see what happens! What harm can it do? If it doesn't help the leg cramping, it WILL help your bones! Too much Potassium is bad for you, and not enough is bad for you too! Please try the Calcium!

lipsie
lipsie 2009-03-05 08:33:11 -0600 Report

When I had the extreme leg cramping at night it was definately my diabetic neuropathy. I take Lyrica for it three times a days and works great for me. Good luck! :) Sheila

jsd2005
jsd2005 2009-03-05 07:47:58 -0600 Report

Sounds to me if you may have a potassium level lower than normal. Potassium is an electrolyte critical to life and plays an important role in the balance of fluids within our body. It works closely with sodium, also an electrolyte.

potassium aids in the proper muscle contraction. Which when we get too much it can be a problem as well as too low, it can be a problem. Potassium is also essential for conduction of nerve impulses and energy metabolism.

Symptoms of potassium deficiency are; Muscle cramps. very often while lying and in the middle of the night. Many describe them like charlie horses and need to get up to "work them out." Muscle pain and fatigue and weakness, irritability, dry skin, sodium retention, which leads to body swelling which may be seen in the hands, feet, ankles and even belly are all signs of potassium levels being low.

If you are taking certain diuretics, this may cause your potassium to run even lower as some diuretics cause us to lose extra potassium and it must be replaced. Some diuretics are called potassium sparring and therefore don't cause us to lose potassium as we lose fluid due to the diuretic. Long term steroid use can wreak havoc on lur bodies ability to maintain potassium, excessive use of laxatives and episodes of extreme sweating over a period of several days can affect potassium levels.

review your medications, talk with your Dr. and try a banana a day to help you maintain your potassium (K+)
level. Does this help?
Good Luck

2009-03-04 22:39:15 -0600 Report

I am currently in college, studying Anatomy and Physiology. We are studying muscles right now, and how the muscles contract.

I could go into a lengthy, pretty boring clinical description on how muscles contract and relax, but the one thing I found interesting is: Calcium is required to cause the muscle to relax.

When I asked my professor about cramps and why they happened, she really didn't have a satisfactory answer, so I dove into my textbook, notes, anything I could find. Calcium is what is needed for the muscle to relax.

Hope this helps some, even me! I wake up out of a dead sleep, with my toes pulled back and pointing straight up and not being able to put any pressure on my foot. I find if I rub the front of my shin, that muscle, it abates.

Lately though, I have been using my mind to combat the cramps, MAKING myself relax, which is NO easy task, as you all know!

Debe Pendice
Debe Pendice 2009-02-26 11:53:52 -0600 Report

Has any one every thought of maybe having there potassium checked. Sometimes potassium loss can cause severe leg cramps…Debe

silver.lily
silver.lily 2009-03-04 22:21:54 -0600 Report

I also have very bad leg cramps. I have been getting them for a lot of years. Even prior to the Diabetes diagnosis. For several months the potassium was helping but now the cramps are back. I tend to get them worse when I am overly tired, and lately I can't seem to get enough sleep.

NamVet - 21894
NamVet - 21894 2008-10-08 12:58:13 -0500 Report

For five years now have been fighting that battle. No sleep, get up try to sleep in my LazyBoy.. Get on Computer. Walk..
Meds help some but not enough..
NamVet

tigerlily
tigerlily 2008-10-06 06:50:07 -0500 Report

Have you tried stepping up your magnesium level. Newest articles on the internet are recommending to take an equal amount of magnesium to calcium intake. It helps me. Calcium takes away from your magnesium level and it has to be replenished. Also if there is too much magnesium it reduces the calcium level. Magnesium relaxes the muscles and it is also good for restless legs. I wonder if diabetes causes a decrease in magnesium levels.

2rs
2rs 2008-10-08 12:56:28 -0500 Report

I'm type 2, diagnosed 2 years ago. I have suffered from nocturnal leg & foot cramps for as long as I can remember. Also cold feet & hands. For many years, I would get up in the middle of the night and stick my feet in a sink of warm water, so was wide awake. Then I discovered electric heating pads!!! {never thought of hot water bottles!} Using heat will work every time. Also, I have used peppermint lotions & creams that help to relax the muscles. In my case, I don't think the diabetes is the cause.

Birdie - 16636
Birdie - 16636 2008-10-05 07:58:16 -0500 Report

I have cramping in my legs and feet also. The only thing that helps me is vinegat tablets and eating dill pickles . I have one vinegar tablet about 9:oo PM and also snack on a slice of dill pickle. It sounds funny but it helps me. You could also try a glass of water with a teasoon or two of vinegar and some honey. Some say that warm water works best with this.
I was willing to try anything to ge relief. My Mom takes the vinegar and water. She says it helps her.
Birdie

shirleycc
shirleycc 2008-10-04 15:17:33 -0500 Report

I'm a type 2 diabetic, but have been on
insulin for almost all the time since my
diagnosis 20 years ago. I started getting leg cramps about two years ago. They were mild and infrequent and I was able to walk them off. I keep bananas in the house and eat potatoes 3 - 4 times a week. I also take supplements that contain potassium and magnesium and have for at least 1.5 years. Recently the cramps got worse, and when I visited my endocrinologist for my A1-C, he did a complete blood profile(which he does often) My vitamin D level was almost indistinguishable. He prescribed 4000 IU, daily. That seemed like overkill, but he showed my my levels and what was the minimum level was still far higher than mine. The Vitamin D he prescribed also contains magnesium. It's been almost two months and the cramps are beginning to subside.They haven't gone away, but they're no longer every night, and don't wake me,which is a real plus.

I don't know whether it would help any of you, but it's worth asking your doctor to check and see if you have deficiencies in Vit D. You can also get Vit D from the sun. Daily exposure for 15 minutes along with calcium is supposed to be sufficient(no suntan lotion for those 15 minutes)
Because of a skin condition that is aggravated by sun this is something I
can't dowithout having real problems.

Lots of luck to all of you.

PAT L
PAT L 2008-10-04 15:35:58 -0500 Report

ONE THING THAT NO ONE HAS SAID IS THAT STATIAN DRUGS WILL CAUSE THE SAME PROBLEM, ALSO IF YOU ARE TAKING A WATER PILL YOU HAVE TAKE POTASSIUM BECAUSE THE WATER PILL WILL TAKE IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM AN YOU GET BAD CRAMPS WITH OUT THE TWO MENERAL… I HAVE TO TAKE 10MG TWICE A DAY TO STAY THE CRAMPS…

Nana5
Nana5 2008-10-04 10:08:04 -0500 Report

DON'T LAUGH UNTIL YOU TRY THIS. YES, I KNOW IT SOUNDS CRAZY, BUT IT WORKS. For years my husband suffered from nightly leg cramps. He tried many medications including potassium but nothing helped. I then read a story in Heloise about another man with the same problem and he said he was helped by putting a cake of soap between the sheets at the foot of the bed. My husband and I had a good laugh about it but decided to give it a try. Eight years later my husband still has a bar of soap in bed and no more leg cramps. My 24 year old son started having leg cramps 6 months ago so I put soap in his bed and the cramps stopped. Don't know why it works but what have you got to lose?

Buddysmom
Buddysmom 2008-10-04 04:25:31 -0500 Report

I am a type 1 diabetic and am 37 years old. I do not suffer from these pains. However from time to time I will get cramps during sleep and have found that a banana a day will stop these.

tonypoo
tonypoo 2008-10-04 08:16:45 -0500 Report

Potassium and Mg are good but Fish Oil capsules are even better. It took me sometime to adjust the right amount.

Lizzie34599
Lizzie34599 2008-10-04 04:24:08 -0500 Report

I, too, have been having trouble with restless leg syndrome. Wakes me up at night so I have to get up for a while. I then take an ibuprofen and get enough relief to go back to bed and sleep.

Does anyone know if potassium can be toxic or if it is harmful. My doctor says my potassium level is normal, but then, what is normal?

I would appreciate any comments on potassium.

Buddysmom
Buddysmom 2008-10-04 04:28:30 -0500 Report

I think too much potassium can be toxic. But I don't think you can do that byeating. You could definitely over do it with supplements. As with anything, too much can be a problem.

Treehugger - 16448
Treehugger - 16448 2008-10-04 06:01:17 -0500 Report

I'm certain that potassium would be toxic in very large quantities. However, almost everyone believes that getting vitamins and minerals from one's food instead of supplements is the best way to go. Could you possibly eat enough lima beans, for example, for potassium to reach toxic levels? Probably not! If you are interested in stopping painful leg cramps and getting a good night's sleep, I would suggest eating a medium-sized baked potato every other day for a week to see if that works as well for you as it did for me. (I'd rather eat a potato than 1/2 cup of lima beans, but to each his/her own!) If this does not work within a few days, lack of potassium may not be your particular problem. I've read that many diabetics are low in potassium (probably because of frequent urination) and I've also heard that some blood pressure medications can cause nocturnal leg cramps. BTW, just because one is not deficient in potassium does not mean that s/he has enough for good health. Potassium works hard to keep our bodies working properly, so we should be certain that we have enough. Besides, potatoes, cantaloupe, bananas, lima beans and other foods that are rich in potassium are also delicious! I hope you will try this and see if it works for you!

Kelly Ann
Kelly Ann 2008-09-02 05:04:45 -0500 Report

I had suffered for a long time with cramps that you were describing…I would
drink Diet Tonic water (mixed with a little OJ or flavoring of some sort of
those water enhancers) and it would help the cramping. I too was told that it
was diabetic neuropathy and was put on Neurontin and used it for a few years.

Since then, over the past year I have developed RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome)
which I am told is attributed to my diabetes. It was AWFUL…I would be yelling
out in pain (sometimes in my sleep) and/or find myself pacing about to get some
type of relief. I went to a new neurologist and he removed my using the
Neurontin and prescribed me on very large dosages of Lyrica. The difference
over these past few months is night & day. It is nice to be able to sleep thru
the night again and not be in dire pain. (or worse yet anticipating the pain
from returning nightly)

Jlynn
Jlynn 2008-06-10 19:16:17 -0500 Report

yes, unfortunately..my doctor said it was begg, diabetic neuropathy..it was worse when i was pregnant then it was my hands and feet and id sleep sitting up..lol its poor circulation, id say from diabetes..good luck

Jlynn
Jlynn 2008-06-10 19:16:17 -0500 Report

yes, unfortunately..my doctor said it was begg, diabetic neuropathy..it was worse when i was pregnant then it was my hands and feet and id sleep sitting up..lol its poor circulation, id say from diabetes..good luck

penny - 16478
penny - 16478 2008-06-04 08:49:36 -0500 Report

I'm a new member as of yesterday. I find the discussions about leg cramps very interesting. I also have them and have had them since last summer. I had brain surgery in Jan. and went for about 3 weeks without any. That was so nice! Then they started up again. I have had blood test done to see about my pot., mag., and calcium. They were all good. My sodium was a little low. I'm on pred. and have been for 20 years.
I have numerous health issues. I have been taking the otc leg cramp pills. Sometime it is a little better. It would be so nice to not have them any more. We haven't been able to figure it out. I have talked to all of my doctors but no solutions. I would appreciate any imput. Thanks.

catalinaclair
catalinaclair 2008-06-09 14:54:00 -0500 Report

Have your doctor check your Vitamin D level. Mine was critical and that was at the point that the cramping got worse.

Ginetteb
Ginetteb 2008-06-10 02:45:11 -0500 Report

Catalina, when I complained to the doctor about my cramps (thighs, leg, feet and arms and hands on occasion) he told me that my blood tests showed the potassium to be normal. However, the pain was so great and so frequent, I was ready to try anything. I couldn't sleep because the minute I moved my legs, I would get the cramps. A friend of mine told me that I might benefit from potassium AND magnesium supplements, so I started to take a tablet of each every morning. I was still getting the cramps at night, although they were not as severe. So I started to take a tablet of the potassium twice a day, in the morning and at night and BINGO, no more cramps!
The next time I see my doctor I plan to tell him about that and let him know that even with a normal reading of potassium and magnesium in your blood, if you are diabetic, it's not enough to eliminate the cramps.

catalinaclair
catalinaclair 2008-06-03 14:33:37 -0500 Report

You're right about the potassium. I have started taking it and it helps. With being a diabetic, I am up frequently during the night visiting the bathroom. I believe losing so much fluid during the night also pulls the potassium out of my bloodstream and eliminates it thru urination. I have started taking the potassium before bedtime instead of in the morning and have gotten much relief. I also tend to lose magnesium and have to take supplements. The depletion of magnesium causes my heart to go into an abnormal heart rate. Thank you for all of your advice.

Beautiful@51
Beautiful@51 2008-06-03 08:25:40 -0500 Report

I have the same thing going on with me, its not every single night, but a couple times a week, and when it is, it is unbareable. I can't sleep I have to get up and continue walking. I also was given flexirel and you're right it doesn't help. I'm thinking it is something to do with my potasium levels, I notice when I have kidney stones thats when I have the most problems with it. Taking a rag and wet it and then put into the microwave until its hot, take out and apply to the area where the cramp is, thats the only thing I find to help, something about heat takes the cramping away. Hope it works for everyone else. Good Luck

Jonathan - 13553
Jonathan - 13553 2008-06-03 08:20:45 -0500 Report

I used to get these periodically, but since I got into better physical shape and started stretching more, they are much less frequent. I've never used potassium or bananas to help, but find that the best stretches to undo them when they occur and keep them from happening are calf extensions, either using a slant board or any other way to stretch the calf muscle (most of which also stretch the muscles in the sole of the foot).

Dancehawk
Dancehawk 2008-06-03 08:16:27 -0500 Report

Are you taking any potasium and magnisium?
add some cayanne to warm the blood plus raseberry hip tea to diet to help blood flow.
I use to get charlie horses and really bad leg craps plus twitching till i added more magnisum to my diet and got my suger under control. plus walking every day seems to help too.
I hope you feel better soon.
dance

sugarbritches
sugarbritches 2008-06-03 07:35:41 -0500 Report

Try checking your potassium in your blood. Meanwhile, eat bananas and potatoes or other foods rich in potassium to help alleviate the problem. When cramps occur walk till the pain subsides.

Treehugger - 16448
Treehugger - 16448 2008-06-03 04:05:09 -0500 Report

I had the same problem for five or six months until I guessed that I might need more potassium. I have fibromyalgia with irritable bowel syndrome, so must be VERY careful about what I ingest. The potassium supplements worked like magic and now I'm trying to establish how much I actually need. Seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is more wonderful than I remembered! It also helps if one is trying to lose weight.

Ginetteb
Ginetteb 2008-05-27 13:29:36 -0500 Report

Hi Catalinaclair

I suffer greatly from cramps in my feet and in my legs. At first, it was only in my feet but for the last few months, it's been in my legs and my thighs and all day long.

I thought it was the result of my back condition (I have spinal stenosis), but now I see that it could be caused by my diabetes.

Prescription pills did not seem to help at all and I tried a few. However, If I eat one banana a day, take one tablet each of potassium and magnesium, I also drink V8 and orange juice. All that combined, has reduced the pain tremendously. They all contain potassium which seems to be the key.

I feel for you. There are some nights that I wake up with great pain 4 and 5 times. Massaging my legs or feet doesn't do it either, it only hurts more.

If anybody else has the same affliction and if they have better advice, I'm looking forward to hear from them.

Good luck.

morris.js
morris.js 2008-05-27 13:38:48 -0500 Report

Potassium has worked for me. If I do not have any tablets to take, I eat some bananas or have orange juice. Obviously the OJ will spike your sugar levels higher than the bananas, so be carefull about how much you drink.
Check with your doc, and next time you have your blood checked, have him check your potasium levels too.
Good luck!! John

Bren62W
Bren62W 2008-05-30 13:51:34 -0500 Report

I agree with John. Potassium works wonders for me too. I eat bananas on a regular basis to avoid the cramping, but if I go a day or two without them the cramps start up again. Don't know if it's related to the diabetes or not though. Never discussed it with the doctor. Didn't think it was relevant.

Good luck,
Bren

Kelly Ann
Kelly Ann 2008-09-02 05:01:59 -0500 Report

I had suffered for a long time with cramps that you were describing…I would drink Diet Tonic water (mixed with a little OJ or flavoring of some sort of those water enhancers) and it would help the cramping. I too was told that it was diabetic neuropathy and was put on Neurontin and used it for a few years.

Since then, over the past year I have developed RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) which I am told is attributed to my diabetes. It was AWFUL…I would be yelling out in pain (sometimes in my sleep) and/or find myself pacing about to get some type of relief. I went to a new neurologist and he removed my using the Neurontin and prescribed me on very large dosages of Lyrica. The difference over these past few months is night & day. It is nice to be able to sleep thru the night again and not be in dire pain. (or worse yet anticipating the pain from returning nightly)

Amy Togtman
Amy Togtman 2009-02-26 11:39:57 -0600 Report

yeah i have had restless leg syndrome for about 4 yrs now and i take Requip and Neurontin and it seems to work.

Amy

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