• Leg Cramps?

    Asked by MarcieB on Thursday, December 9, 2021

    Leg Cramps?

    I saw my PA today and I am fine (yay!). We talked about a lot of things, but, when I told her I have leg cramps (Charlie horse stuff) at night, she advised me to try tonic water before I go to bed. It's the quinine that should help and I only need about a half a glass. I will let you all know if this works! So far, not much has - I tried the Therarelief, but I think I got a faulty bottle, the pump leaks all over my hands and it's kind of a mess.

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • Bug's Avatar

      I’m so glad to hear you’re okay! Good news.

      I got Charlie horses when I was pregnant. The obstetrician told me to drink more milk. I did and they went away. Just FYI.

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar

      Tonic water is okay, so long as it isn't sweetened (see if you can find a zero-sugar version that uses stevia rather than aspartame or sucralose).. What my PCP told me to try is magnesium (which you should be taking along with D3 anyway if you're on calcium supplementation, to help the latter absorb better). Potassium--in the form of citrus or banana, not pills--also helps. A lot of the time, it's due to dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance, so make sure you're not unduly restricting sodium and that you drink enough water.

      If you get "breakthrough" nocturnal leg cramps despite a nightly magnesium tablet (300-500mg), try topical magnesium spray or foam (TheraWorx or store brand--I prefer the spray because I don't like the foam's perfumey scent). Spray, massage it in, and try to walk it off for a few paces.

      If it's a calf cramp, try stretching by standing backwards with your toes on a bottom stair and slowly letting your heel hang down. Sole-of-foot cramps, with toes curling under, can be helped by walking despite the initial discomfort. When I had calf cramps back when my husband was a medical resident, he had me eat a handful of salted nuts (sodium) and wash it down with orange or grapefruit juice (potassium). Opt for orange if you are on an aromatase inhibitor such as letrozole, because grapefruit competes for the CYP450 enzyme pathway and can lessen the AI's effectiveness. (Conversely, if you are taking an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin-receptor blocker, aka ARB, shun grapefruit because it can dangerously raise the blood levels of those blood pressure meds and cause acute hypotension--dangerously low blood pressure).

      I'm particularly prone to tibial (shin) cramps, though, due to muscle fascia spasms from internal fixation hardware implanted decades ago when a car shattered my tibia & fibula. There are no stretches that can nip a shin cramp in the bud--especially when the foot dorsiflexes and toes splay out, Spray, rub, walk it off, tough it out. And try TheraWorx.

      As a last resort, ask your doctor if an anti-spasmodic can help too.

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar

      I hear you about the faulty leaky, cloggy pumps on Theraworx or generic/store brand magnesium sprays. What I do when that happens is unscrew the pump, take the solution clinging to the pump's stem. and massage that in.

      about 1 month ago
    • MLT's Avatar

      These are all wonderful suggestions. Thanks!

      about 1 month ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar

      My doctor also suggested magnesium as a possible answer, but she warned it could cause loose stool, so you just have to consider that if you are prone to any lower GI conditions. I'm not, and I may try some magnesium gummies...? But, last night I did drink about 4 0z of tonic water and had an uneventful night!

      about 1 month ago
    • ImWorthIt's Avatar

      Marcie, I had always heard about tonic water. Both of my parents use it and swear by it. I had not heard of many of Sandy's suggestions. Great suggestions and great information to have.

      about 1 month ago

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