Waking up to leg and foot cramps is such a painful experience, and one most everyone has had happen at some point in their lives – hopefully not very often. These sudden nighttime skeletal contractions can be excruciating and certainly something we’d like to avoid at all costs.
Unfortunately, no one really knows what causes these nighttime leg and foot cramps. When doctors don’t understand exactly what brings them on, it is very difficult to come up with a way to prevent them.
Despite the hazy origins, here are some good bits of advice to lessen the severity, and the frequency.
Stretch out your calves and hamstrings before you lay down for the night. Stand up on your toes and go back to the floor. Repeat this as many times as you need to to feel as though you’ve gotten a good stretch. Bend over and touch your toes and remain in that position for a count of 10 or 20. Stand back up and repeat. Place your toes on the edge of a book and lower your heels to the floor. Repeat several times. All of these things will stretch out the right muscles. Consider yoga classes, or purchase a video and practice it regularly at home.
Some people believe that nighttime muscle cramps are the result of dehydration. Honestly, most people drink way less water daily than they should. Make sure that you stay well hydrated throughout the day, and especially during extensive exercise. Drinking a glass of water before bed is also good as it dilutes your urine, which helps reduce the development of kidney stones.
There have been studies conducted which suggest certain vitamins and minerals may play a part in decreasing nighttime leg and foot cramps. Magnesium, B-complex vitamins and potassium may or may not be helpful, though whenever possible try to get what you need with slight changes to your diet. Not all supplements are absorbed well by the body, whereas foods rich in vitamins and minerals give our bodies easy access.
There’s no guarantee these tips will stop your nighttime leg and foot cramps altogether. For now, there is no known permanent cure for these painful nighttime invaders. That said, these practices will provide you with some relief and may just be the answer for your problem.
If painful leg and foot cramps are affecting your day-to-day life, you should get a proper diagnosis. Those in the Salt Lake City area will be happy to know you can schedule a same day appointment with Dr. Elizabeth E. Auger. You’ll also be pleased to know that Dr. Auger maintains a holistic (whole-body) practice and a strong interest in nutrition and the incredible healing power of natural foods.