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What Are Leg Cramps At Night A Symptom Of?

Leg cramps at night or nocturnal leg cramps refer to pain, which takes place in one’s legs during the nighttime. These often take place in calves, but depending on one’s health condition, pain and discomfort related to leg cramp may even take in other areas, such as feet or thighs. Furthermore, leg cramps cause any patient to stay awake from sleep. However, they even take place while individuals awake during their inactivity periods at night.

The main problem about leg cramps at night or nocturnal leg cramps is that they often are painful and make the affected leg muscles to feel knotted or tight. Symptoms in this case last for about few seconds to several minutes. Besides this, a few people experiencing muscle cramps or leg cramps may also deal with muscle soreness even when the cramping goes away.

What Are Leg Cramps At Night A Symptom Of?

Now, the question that strikes in the mind of every individual is that whether nocturnal leg cramps i.e. leg cramps taking place during nighttime indicate any type of severe health problem. To find an appropriate answer to this question, it is essential for us to analyze the relationship of nocturnal leg cramp with other health-related conditions in individuals.

  • Sitting at a place for many hours
  • Over-exertion of calf and thigh muscles
  • Working or standing for a long time on concrete floors
  • Sitting in an improper posture (1)

Nocturnal leg cramps also have close relations with specific medical/healthcare conditions and certain medicines. These include the following-

  • Many women experience the problem of nighttime leg cramps during their initial trimesters of their pregnancy period.
  • Alcoholism i.e. intake of alcohol in excessive amounts may sometimes cause nighttime leg cramps.
  • Lack of water intake causes muscular strain and in turn, causes nocturnal leg cramps.
  • We know that electrolytes in the form of calcium, magnesium and potassium are very much essential for your bones and muscles. Based on this, we can say that electrolyte imbalance in some cases may cause the problem of nocturnal leg cramps.
  • In some cases, patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease often deal with leg spasms.

If we talk about medications responsible to cause nocturnal leg spasms, we should say that beta agonist, statins and diuretics types of medications are responsible to trigger the problem of nighttime leg cramps. (1)

Lastly, you may experience night leg cramps because of certain health disorders. These are as follows-

Prevention Of Leg Cramps

Irrespective of your reason behind leg cramps during the nighttime, you will expect to get a huge relief or prevent the problem to cause further based on the following prevention techniques-

  • Adequate Hydration- You should make sure to keep yourself hydrated both while doing exercise or during other times of your day. One of the best ways to avoid dehydration is to intake about 6 glasses to 8 glasses of water on a daily basis.
  • Shoes- You should always wear properly fitted footwear collections or shoes. Ill fitted shoes not only results in cramps or spasms, but also trigger other feet-related problems in near future.
  • Stretching- You should stretch the leg muscles gently before going to sleep to avoid nighttime leg cramps. (2)
  • Stationary Bicycle- You should give some time for riding a stationary bicycle before you should go for sleep.
  • Avoid Toes’ Distortion- Lastly, you should place your bed sheets and blankets in such a way that they remain loose across your feet. This step lets you avoiding distortion across your toes and in turn, prevents the problem of nocturnal leg cramps.


To conclude, we should say that nocturnal leg cramps may take for many reasons, including a few major health issues, including Parkinson’s disease.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 3, 2020

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